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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac System
Every night, I put my computer to sleep. Some mornings, I find that, for no discernible reason, my computer has turned itself on. It's not scheduled to turn on, and I don't know of any program that could be doing it. There's nothing in the system log that gives any hint; it shows essentially the same thing that it shows when I wake up my computer manually.

After scouring the net for an explanation, I found reports from people with similar problems. Somebody pointed out that you can sometimes (always??) wake up a computer by plugging in or unplugging a USB device. My keyboard is plugged in through a cheap hub; a loose connection might cause intermittent disconnects. One user on a forum somewhere (I've lost track of the original location) claims that his computer wakes up whenever he uses his microwave or other high-power device! He says that his electrical system is rather old, and suspects that the sudden power drain causes his computer to temporarily reduce power to his USB peripherals, which wakes the computer.

[robg adds: I had this issue with my old G5 and a really cheap USB hub, too. One night I disconnected all the USB peripherals and it slept just fine. The next day, I replaced the USB hub, and the machine no longer woke randomly overnight. (It was awake one morning when I went into the office, but the cat sleeping nearby on the desk told me exactly why the Mac had woken up!)]
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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: tbolioli on Jul 31, '07 08:01:19AM

The USB idea is very plausible because Apple keeps the USB hub fully powered in S3 (sleep), S4 (hybrid sleep) & S5 (off) so folks can charge their iPods off of the USB bus while the machine is down. Any supply side issue to the power would likely cause the USB bus to be the first to suffer and likely cycle into and out of the USB low power state as a means of self preservation. That would cause the various attached peripherals to respond in kind fooling the system into thinking that input from the peripherals was received. Just a guess though based on what the submitter wrote.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: morespace54 on Jul 31, '07 11:01:19AM

For whatever that's worth, I have a USB LaCie Drive which keep my computer from sleeping :(

At least, as long as I don't
a) eject the drive,
b) turn the drive off (or hot swapping it) or
c) shuting down my computer!

But that's because my drive doesn't automatically go to sleep.. Dargn LaCie!



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: Phosphor on Jul 31, '07 08:05:48AM

I also struggled with tracking down the cause of a self-waking Mac....for years. I scoured every website and forum I could find, and finally tracked it down to the software used to drive some MacAlly keyboards.

I loved my iMediakey keyboard, but the problem—caused by the MacAlly software—has never been fully addressed or fixed, as far as I know.

I tried tech support, and as careful as I was in explaining what I had done in trying to troubleshoot, including making pointed reference to linkes on their own website, they only sent me copy/pasted info—the exact same directions I told them I had already read and performed. It was clear that they didn't read my emails at all.

I got so pissed off at MacAlly's lack of any kind of personal help I yanked the keyboard, their software, and will NEVER recommend it to anyone.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: jmontana on Aug 02, '07 04:53:08AM

Which software was causing the problem? I've got a MacAlly keyboard, and wonder if that's my issue, too.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: pub3abn on Jul 31, '07 08:37:04AM

I've had the same trouble with my PowerBook. But it occurs only rarely, maybe a couple times a month. I don't have a USB hub plugged in, just a USB mouse, ethernet, and phone line. I wonder if power flickers in the phone line could do it?



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: Kevin_ on Jul 31, '07 08:59:33AM

Very sometimes the ethernet can be a cause of it actually, try it without the ethernet plugged in?



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: robindwilliams on Jul 31, '07 10:08:44AM

If you're using a PowerBook/iBook/MacBook(Pro), the easiest way to stop this happening is to simply unplug your power lead.

Oddly, the USB-device-waking-up-your-Mac 'feature' only occurs when running on mains power.

I use a USB KVM switch for my MBP and another computer and used to get frustrated by the switch waking the Mac for no reason...

Very interesting that Macs supply power to the USB hub even when switched off! I didn't know that, but I could easily make use of it!



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: vidgizmo on Jul 31, '07 09:08:16AM

I've actually had several instances w/ my MacBook Pro of either not going to sleep, or waking up, or not waking up. I seem to have minimized these by unchecking two items.

1. From Bluetooth preferences uncheck "Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer" -- of course this means your won't be able to wake your computer w/ your bt kbd or bt mouse.

2. From Energy Saver prefs, under options, uncheck "Wake for Ethernet network administrator access".



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: JimMueller on Aug 02, '07 07:38:22PM

My wife and I have identical 17" MacBok Pros. About twice a month, hers wakes up after its lid is closed and it goes to sleep. When it does this it gets very hot by the next morning and cannot be awoken - we have to crash it by holding in the power button.

I know we have turned off the "Bluetooth will wake" but it keeps turning itself back on after several days. we'll have to check the "Wake on LAN" setting.

There is nothing plugged into our MBPs when they are asleep except power and gigabit ethernet.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: tichat on Jul 31, '07 10:05:49AM

I have exactly the same problem with my G4. I found that only shutting down the light of the room causes the computer to wake from sleep...
Same problem at my mother's house, in another city, with another G4.

I tried to use different surge protected plugs, with no result :/



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: robindwilliams on Jul 31, '07 10:10:32AM

I take it you're *not* UK based... That's what the ground pin is for :-)
That and preventing major electrical shocks.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: morespace54 on Jul 31, '07 10:45:44AM

Actually, you might want to reverse that. Opening the light to make to wake up the computer makes more sense... ;)

You know, you come to your office, you turn on the lights, your computer wakes up and starts rsync, get mails and stuff... ;) :)



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: tichat on Jul 31, '07 11:24:06AM

robindwilliams : I'm in France, and the electric installation is old, ok, but not that old !! We have the ground pin ^____^



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: iGrouch on Jul 31, '07 10:10:36AM

Yes. But the next question. What was the cat looking at on the internet or was it just chasing the mouse.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: aptmunich on Jul 31, '07 11:13:38AM
I've got 3 devices that do this:
  • Lacie USB harddrive (Unless I unmount it first - my generic USB/Firewire enclosures doesn't do this)
  • Terratec DVB-T digital TV device (but strangely enough not my equinux TV stick)
  • iPod Shuffle


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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: Aeschylus on Jul 31, '07 12:04:52PM
I am having the opposite problem with my iMac- with the software installed and the MacAlly keyboard is plugged in, putting the iMac to sleep results in shutdown (without going through the normal shutdown procedures -- not good!). Shutting down with only the mouse attached, or nothing at all (using the power button) allows normal sleep. Weird stuff, right?

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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: postglock on Jul 31, '07 02:13:40PM
Hi, I'm not sure if this is the original post to which you were referring. The problem appears to arise from my i-rocks SP-7000 mouse, but *only when* it is plugged into the internal hub of (one of two versions of an) apple pro keyboard. Another user (gsahli) suggested the problem may have been caused by a low voltage backup battery, but I've not had time to open my mac mini up yet...

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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: silverdr on Jul 31, '07 02:30:39PM

Some USB devices, especially hubs and not only cheap ones cause the sleep problems. With my G5 Quad I either disconnect the hub or have to make it sleep two, three, five or more times. Once it gets sleepy enough, it sleeps well though. The solution is to disconnect the hub. But I've got this problem with some hubs, regardless of their price. And I don't get it with some, regardless of the price too. Workaround to this if I don't want to diconnect the hub was to require password to wake from sleep (System Preferences) and whenever the machine gets awake it goes back to sleep by itself in a minute when no password is entered.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 15, '08 01:22:23AM

I tried this on a Mirrored Drive Doors G4 dual 1.25 GHz running OS 10.5.2, which has had this undesired automatic wake from sleep problem under OS 10.4 and now 10.5. I put it to sleep, then woke it, and didn't enter a password when asked. After about 30 seconds, the screen saver activated, but the Mac stayed powered up. I knew it was too good to be true. If it had really worked, this would have been one of the most elegant solutions for those Macs for which unplugging and replacing hardware just to get it to stay asleep, and all the other fixes (turning off useful options, etc.), aren't a practical solution. Maybe someone has written a utility that will keep putting the Mac to sleep every time it sees that it's woken up, until you really want it to wake up--often, Macs that won't stay asleep, will sleep a lot longer after they've been put back to sleep several times in a row.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 15, '08 02:10:10AM
Having given myself an idea, I wrote the script myself, to keep putting a Mac to sleep whenever it wakes itself up:

repeat
	tell application "Finder"
		display dialog "Cancel sleep? (auto-sleep after 15 seconds)" buttons {"Cancel", "Sleep"} default button 1 giving up after 15
		set the button_pressed to the button returned of the result
		if the button_pressed is "" or the button_pressed is "Sleep" then
			tell application "Finder" to sleep
		end if
	end tell
end repeat
I'm sure this is crude, and may not work on everyone's setup, but it worked on my MDD. However, if your Mac keeps waking itself up seconds or minutes after EVERY time it goes to sleep, this script won't be of much use. Paste the script into Script Editor, and save it as an application bundle, using Script Editor's "Stay Open" option, then run the app whenever you want the Mac to go to sleep. Of course, you can change the timeout to whatever you want.

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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 15, '08 02:17:31AM

Oops--don't save that script using Script Editor's "Stay Open" option, or else the app will stay running even after you click its "Cancel" button, but it won't do anything after that until you quit from it and re-launch it. Without the "Stay Open" option, it will quit if you click its "Cancel" button, and then you just have to re-launch it to activate it again, which is the desired behavior.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: billclinton on Jul 31, '07 03:05:52PM

Where can I get one of those talking cats?



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insomniac
Authored by: bloodnok on Jul 31, '07 07:47:00PM

i too have suspected the usb infrastructure (i've a belkin hub that i don't entirely trust). but what really annoys me is after whatever awakens my imac (core 2 duo), it stays awake, even though it's configured to put itself to sleep after 30 minutes idle.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: ikioi on Jul 31, '07 09:25:05PM

I once had a problem with my macbook pro where one night it suddenly stopped sleeping. It had been fine for months before that, but after that night it wouldn't sleep for more than a couple of minutes. Finally I figured out that my built in iSight camera had gone bad. As a result, the USB subsystem was constantly trying to identify the half working camera, but could only tell the it was an unknown USB device. I had to send the computer to Apple and get the camera replaced.



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Another (related) possible cause of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: alxx on Jul 31, '07 10:18:22PM
If you have a USB device which is externally powered, like a USB sound card, and you suffer from a short power outage, and that USB device will turn itself on after the outage -- then your Mac will wake up twice. First it'll wake up (running on batteries) when the external device goes offline, and then, assuming it had enough time to go back to bed, it'll wake up again when the power is restored into the external device and it powers itself on.

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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: mcamou on Aug 01, '07 08:27:18AM

I have a completely different one. I have a MacBook Pro and a Dell 30" monitor. If I sleep the MBP with the monitor plugged in, it seems to go to sleep but wakes immediately. If I unplug the monitor before sleeping everything works fine. I don't use the monitor's built-in hub since it gets powered down when the monitor is turned off (nice going Dell! :( ). Quite annoying.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: 2stepbay on Aug 01, '07 12:40:12PM

I have a Canon 4400F scanner attached to a Belkin USB 2.0 hub (iMac G5 rev C). If I put the computer to sleep while the scanner is plugged-in to the hub, the system wakes up immediately. Only 2 remedies - plug the scanner directly into the iMac (not practical as the USB cable (6ft) is not long enough (I don't want to buy a 10 ft cable), or unplug the scanner from the Hub. I chose the latter, in fact I keep it unplugged until I need to use it. Doing this allows the computer to sleep as intended.



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More info on Wake-on-LAN
Authored by: khedron on Aug 04, '07 08:26:22AM

A few people have mentioned turning off the Wake-on-LAN feature, also referred to in the Energy Saver control panel as "Wake for Ethernet network administrator access." This feature is unlikely to cause the problem, however. When this is on, the Ethernet interface listens for a specially formatted packet instructing it to wake up. Among other things, this packet must contain your ethernet card's MAC address repeated 16 times consecutively. There is effectively zero chance of a random packet on the network triggering this accidentally, so unless somebody is intentionally waking your computer remotely, this shouldn't cause it.

Having said that, turning that feature on tells your computer to keep the ethernet interface powered while the computer is asleep, so I guess there's a chance that a power fluctuation could temporarily unpower the ethernet interface, which might confuse and wake the computer, though I doubt it.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Aug 04, '07 02:07:56PM

Wireless keyboards and mice (both USB and Bluetooth) can wake a Mac too. Also, self-refreshing Web pages can do this, like CNN's home page.



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: bloodnok on Mar 26, '08 09:06:48PM

this is still plaguing me with two insomniac episodes this week. i filed a bug report at apple (#5815010 iMac randomly awakes from system sleep - won't go back to sleep afterwards 23-Mar-2008 10:24 AM Open). dunno that it'll help, but it can't hurt.

i removed all the usb devices that were plugged into my machine, other than the mouse & keyboard. the wakeup is the same each time: a bluetooth/usb event. i first noticed the wake-up/insomnia problem after i enabled bluetooth for a wireless mighty mouse. that died a cruel & unusual death so i disabled bluetooth again. the problem remains ...



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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: simbalala on May 14, '08 01:26:58PM
Do you by chance have VersionCue installed? It's part of the Adobe CS suite.

That was the cause of my problem, see:
How can I help a loved one (who is not human) overcome insomnia?

I was watching the system log using console and chased after the BlueTooth thing for quite a while, ("IOBluetoothHCIController::restartShutdownWL this is a wake from sleep") but that turns out to be a red herring, it's an effect, not a cause.

I dragged a copy of VersionCue onto the Desktop and deleted it from /Library/StartupItems (not your user library, the top level library is where it's installed). Oddly enough I realized that I should have removed it's pref pane so I put it back and had to authenticate the move. Poof... the problem was gone. I was going to uninstall it properly but just moving it around fixed something so for now I've left it.

So it had something to do with VersionCue even though it's still there. It's turned off but it's always been turned off.

On another note for someone else with sleeplessness problems I have an ancient HP 6MP printer connected via a Belkin USB to Parallel adaptor (via a 16 foot active USB cable as well). If the printer is turned off sometimes the computer constantly gets USB wake-ups (USB caused wake event). So I was troubleshooting two problems at the same time.

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Possible causes of a self-waking Mac
Authored by: bloodnok on Dec 14, '08 04:51:49PM

been a while but the answer is no. i've since upgraded to 10.5 & cs3 (& declined to even install version cue on that install). i still have occasional insomnia bouts with my machine.



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