Telling Your Mac to Start Up Automatically After a Power Failure: Why and How

Telling Your Mac to Start Up Automatically After a Power Failure: Why and How

Imagine this: you come home after a power outage and discover that your Mac is sleeping. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Well, worry not! I’m here to guide you on how to make sure your Mac starts up automatically after a power failure.

Now, you might be wondering why you should bother with this feature. Well, think about it. Power outages are unpredictable and can happen at any time, leaving your Mac helpless. But by enabling automatic startup, you won’t have to worry about manually turning it on every time it goes to sleep during a blackout.

So, here’s the step-by-step process to turn on this helpful feature:

Step 1: Open the Energy Saver Preferences. You can find it by clicking on the Apple menu and selecting System Preferences. Then, click on Energy Saver.

Step 2: Once you’re in the Energy Saver Preferences, you’ll see a tab called Power Adapter. Make sure you’re on that tab.

Step 3: Look for a checkbox that says “Start up automatically after a power failure.” Tick that box to enable the feature.

And that’s it! Now, your Mac will automatically start up when the power returns, without any intervention from you.

By enabling this feature, you’re taking control of situations where power outages can disrupt your workflow. You won’t have to worry about remembering to turn on your Mac after each outage. It’s like having a reliable friend who always has your back!

Remember, power outages can happen unexpectedly, so it’s better to be prepared. With automatic startup enabled, you can have peace of mind knowing that your Mac will be ready to go whenever the lights come back on.

So, go ahead and give it a try. Your Mac will thank you the next time the power goes out!

How and Why to Tell Your Mac to Start Up Automatically After a Power Failure

I love it when I get reader questions that relate to my own life experiences. And that’s exactly what happened recently when Paul, a reader of TekRevue, asked me for advice on dealing with power outages on Macs and PCs. It was even more timely because we had a power outage at our office just a day after Paul reached out to us.

Paul had encountered a problem during the holiday season. He and his family were on a trip to visit relatives, but Paul needed to use his Mac at home remotely. He used Back to My Mac for work and to stream Plex to keep the kids entertained. Everything was going smoothly for the first couple of days, but one morning, Paul couldn’t find his Mac remotely. On top of that, Plex couldn’t locate the home media server either.

Naturally, this was a bummer for the whole family, who had planned to have a productive and fun holiday. But they managed to make the most of it and returned home after a week to find out that there was a power outage during their trip. Luckily, the power was restored quickly, so the food in the refrigerator wasn’t spoiled. However, Paul’s Mac was off, which explained why he couldn’t find it remotely.

Now, let’s move on to the solution to this problem. I’ll show you an easy way to keep your Mac up and running even after a power outage.


By default, most computers are set to stay off after an outage, but as a Mac user, you have the power to make your Mac start up automatically once power is restored. And it’s not just Macs, PCs have similar features too, usually found in the system’s BIOS settings.
But poor Paul had a problem. His Mac mini didn’t have this automatic restart feature, so it stayed off even after power was back. To fix this, Paul should remember to go to System Preferences > Energy Saver before his next trip and tick the box that says “Start up automatically after a power failure” (if you’re an admin, you might need to click the padlock icon first to make changes). This means that when power is restored, your Mac will do the hard work of restarting itself.

But do keep in mind, this option only works if your Mac was already on when the power went out. If you manually shut down your Mac before the outage, it won’t automatically reboot itself against your wishes once power is back (kind of like the “last state” power management option on many PCs).

Prevent the Power Outage from Affecting Your Mac in the First Place


If you check the box above, it would have solved Paul’s problem on his trip. Sure, he wouldn’t have been able to use his Mac during the power outage, but once the power was back, the system would have automatically come back online.
But to take things to the next level, you can prevent the power outage from affecting your Mac completely, even when you’re not home, by using an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). These devices are like supercharged surge protectors that provide battery backup power, voltage regulation, and surge protection. If Paul had plugged his Mac and networking equipment into a UPS, he could have enjoyed uninterrupted remote access.

Of course, not all UPS devices are the same. Some have longer-lasting batteries than others. While most UPS systems won’t be able to power your computer for many hours or days, they will keep your Mac running smoothly during brownouts or short outages. On top of that, a UPS ensures a constant, clean power source for your Mac and other devices.

Returning to the personal situation mentioned earlier, our office experienced a power outage during the holiday break while I was remotely logged into one of our servers. Thankfully, we had multiple UPS devices, so our server stayed powered and accessible throughout the outage. If it had gone down, I would have lost a significant amount of work. However, if I had enabled the option to start up automatically after a power failure, I could have regained remote access without having to go to the office and manually reboot the server.

When You Should Ignore This Advice

Well, first, don’t ignore the advice about using a UPS. It’s great advice for almost any situation, and it would make the world a better place if every Mac and PC user had one. But when it comes to the option of starting up automatically after a power failure, there are some cases where it’s best to leave it unchecked.


Beverly Wood / MITRE

Power outages can be a major headache, especially for delicate electronics like computers and hard drives. In some parts of the world, power interruptions happen frequently or even in quick succession, causing what are known as brownouts. If you live in an area with these frequent power outages, it’s not a good idea to have your Mac automatically start up after each outage, unless you have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to protect it.

Enabling the automatic start-up option in this situation would mean your Mac keeps turning on and off until the power stabilizes. This can put a lot of strain on your Mac’s components and could potentially damage or shorten its lifespan. So, if you’re in an area with unreliable power, it’s a good idea to invest in a UPS. If that’s not possible, I recommend keeping the automatic start-up option disabled, unless you absolutely need your computer to be available for remote access.

Thanks to advancements in remote management technology, you can now do almost anything on your computer remotely, as if you were sitting right in front of it. However, there is one thing you can’t do remotely – physically press the power button. By following this advice, you can ensure that your home Mac or important servers remain accessible even during a power outage while you’re away.

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