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If your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is slow to wake from sleep after sleeping for a while, there could be a fairly simple cause: standby mode. In standby mode, a Mac can possibly up up to 30 days of ‘standby’ time, which means it can go into sleep mode for that long before the battery runs out. In fact, standby (and hibernation) works by dumping everything from active RAM into a sleep image file on the hard drive, and when the Mac wakes up from sleep, that sleep image file is copied back from the hard drive to the RAM. You may have guessed this, but the reason some Macs take a long time to wake up from sleep is because the contents of the sleep image are copied back to memory, and the more RAM you have on a Mac, the slower it process. As you can imagine, it can take a while to copy 8 GB or 16 GB of data anywhere, even if a Mac has a super fast SSD drive it is reading from.
There is some sort of workaround available for newer MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models, and that is to change the standby delay from the default setting of 70 minutes to a higher setting so that the standby mode cannot be used as quickly . This could be a reasonable solution for anyone who suffers from slow wake-up times, such as commuters and anyone who has to carry a MacBook with them all day for intermittent use. One potential downside is a slightly shorter battery life and a corresponding reduction in the Mac’s potential standby life, but for most Mac users who can access a power adapter at least once a day, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Read the default delay for standby mode
First, find out the default length by running the pmset command with the -g flag:
pmset -g | grep standbydelay
You will see something like this (4200 appears to be the default for MacBook Air, but your number may be different):
standby delay 4200
That is the time in seconds before the Mac goes into standby. Make a note of your default setting as that is what you would use if you were to undo the change.
Set the standby mode to Wait longer
You may want to calculate a time that better suits your needs, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll assume 12 hours because if your Mac has already slept for 12 hours, it will be assumed to be either night, weekend, or you is in a period of extended travel or storage. Accordingly, 12 hours is 43200 seconds, so the pmset command would be like this:
sudo pmset -a standbydelay 43200
Using the sudo command requires administrator privileges, so enter the root password and hit return. Changes must then take place immediately.
Test the difference and return to the default settings
Since the default setting is more than one hour anyway, you will not be able to see the difference until after the default period of 70 minutes has passed, but when you wake up the machine up it should happen much faster now because it waits for the full 12 hour period to pass before going into deep sleep standby mode.
To go back to the default setting (4200 seconds in this case), use the following command:
sudo pmset -a standbydelay 4200
This should all work the same on desktop Macs, but for most desktops, it doesn’t hurt to just leave the Mac on all the time and never fall asleep or adjust the pmset settings.
This trick was submitted by Barry D. who found it at Ewal, and while it was primarily aimed at Retina MacBook Pro users, I found it just as effective on speeding up long wake-up time on a MacBook Air (2012) with 8 GB RAM. They went with a more aggressive 24 hours (86400 seconds) period before going into standby, but give it a try on your Mac if you feel it slowly waking up after sleeping for a while, this should help significantly.
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