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Hibernation can be immediately initiated on any Mac from the command line by running the pmset command or a very simple AppleScript command in Mac OS X. This can be useful for many reasons, be it scripting, system administration, remote management with SSH, or maybe you just live in the command line.
We will show you two ways on how to initiate hibernation on any Mac using the command line.
How to Hibernate a Mac from the Mac OS X command line with pmset
To try this for yourself, launch Terminal and use one of the following commands. Remember there is no warning, sleep is instant.
The first trick uses pmset and the following command syntax:
Hit return and the Mac will immediately go to sleep.
That’s one of the simplest uses of pmset, that’s a full one featured energy management program.
As mentioned, sleep happens immediately, so if you’re not ready for that, you may want to apply a wait or use a variation of the next trick as AppleScript can be easily scheduled.
How to Put Mac to sleep from the command line with AppleScript
Using AppleScript from the command line is another way to initiate hibernation directly from Terminal.
The syntax for the AppleScript sleep method is as follows:
osascript -e ‘tell application “Finder” to sleep’
osascript is a command line tool that executes OSA scripts, the -e flag executes the script in quotes instead of searching for a file, and the text in quotes is standard AppleScript.
Using either method should overwrite everything else running in Mac OS X and put the system to sleep. You can also target the “System Events” application if you come across something that is preventing sleep:
osascript -e ‘tell the application “System events” to sleep’
The latest AppleScript is also used in our guide On how to Remotely hibernate a Mac with an iPhone or SSH.
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