Schedule shutdown in macOS Ventura. Power off automatically

Previous versions of macOS enabled you to schedule shutdown on the Mac so it would automatically turn off the power. This feature was removed in Ventura. Here is a work-around you can use.

You don’t have to shut down the Mac, ever, and it can run for years without being turned off. However, there are benefits to a full power off compared to putting the Mac into sleep mode.

One advantage of powering off is that there is no chance of it waking and using battery power. There have been more than a few complaints from people that put their MacBook to sleep at night and the next morning the battery is drained. It is waking from sleep for some reason. Power off and it will not do that.

Whenever anyone has a problem with a Mac, one of the first things people are advised to do is to power off and restart. Powering off closes all apps and files and clears memory. Next time you turn it on, everything is fresh. It sometimes solves problems and a fresh start each day can avoid problems.

Schedule shut down in macOS Monterey and earlier

Let’s take a look at what older versions of macOS used to let us do, like Monterey and earlier.

Schedule shutdown in macOS Monterey. Power off automatically in System Preferences
Schedule shutdown in macOS Monterey
  1. Go to System Preferences > Battery
  2. Select Schedule in the sidebar
  3. Tick the lower checkbox to enable it
  4. Select Shut Down in the first menu
  5. Select the days you want to do this in the second menu
  6. Set the hour to shut down in the third control
  7. Click Apply

Now the Mac will automatically shut down and turn off the power on the selected days at the selected hour and minute. That’s great! Only, it does not work in macOS Ventura.

Schedule shutdown missing in macOS Ventura

System Preferences no longer exists in macOS Ventura and we now have a Settings app. Not only is the interface different, some of the options are different too. Some things have moved, some things have been added, and some things have been removed.

Schedule in the Battery section of the new Settings app is no longer available and you cannot schedule shutdown, sleep, or restart. Some people used this feature to turn off their Macs at the end of the day and it was very useful. Why was it removed?

The feature has not been completely purged from the operating system and it seems that it is only missing from the Settings app. You can still schedule shutdown in macOS Ventura, but not in the same way.

It turns out that you can, in fact, schedule shutdowns if you use the Terminal window. This feature is now command-line only.

Schedule shutdown in macOS Ventura with pmset

The pmset command has always been in macOS, but why bother to type long and complex commands in a Terminal window when you could just point and click on menus in System Preferences?

Now that scheduled shutdowns in macOS Ventura cannot be done in the new Settings app, you must use the command prompt instead. Run Terminal in the Applications/Utilities folder and type:

man pmset

This displays the manual for the pmset command. Use the arrow keys to scroll up and down, and press Q to quit. The manual is long and complicated, so I will just focus on what we need and ignore everything else.

Schedule shutdown in macOS Venture with pmset in a Terminal window
Schedule shutdown in macOS Ventura with pmset

Here is an example of the command we need:

sudo pmset repeat shutdown MTWRFSU 21:30:00

Let’s break down this command so that it is easy to understand. There are six parts to it.

  • sudo: Some features in pmset can be used without sudo but scheduling shutdowns is an admin feature. You are asked for your password when executing the command.
  • pmset: This is the power management settings utility.
  • repeat: We want this action to repeat. (Don’t use schedule because a scheduled tasks occur only once.)
  • shutdown: We want to shut down, but sleep, wake, poweron, wakeorpoweron are alternative options that can be used here.
  • MTWRFSU: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (R to distinguish from Tuesday), Friday, Saturday, Sunday (U to distinguish from Saturday). Enter the days you want to shut down, like MWF (Monday, Wednesday, Friday).
  • 21:30:00: The hour, minute and second (HH:mm:ss)

Limitations of shutdown with pmset

There are some limitations that you need to be aware of and one is that the Mac must be up and running in order to execute the command. It will not shut down if it is in sleep mode, it has to be awake.

The screen does not have to be on though, so set a timeout for the display in Settings > Lock Screen > Turn display off on battery when inactive. (This setting has been moved in macOS Ventura from System Preferences > Battery.)

You cannot have different shutdown times on different days. There is only one shutdown time and all you can do is choose which days it is active.

Finally, if you want to cancel the shutdown command, use:

sudo pmset repeat cancel

This cancels whatever the repeat command was use to schedule.

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