Your laptop may go to sleep for no apparent reason. The fault, sometimes, of a magnet in another device which is too close.

Like smartphones and other battery-powered devices, laptops go into standby to preserve their autonomy. But you may have experienced a laptop going to sleep while you’re in the middle of something for no apparent reason, except maybe you’ve approached another device too close. No, the battery is not dead, the explanation is much simpler.

There are several methods to manually put a laptop to sleep. On Mac, you can click the Apple logo and choose Pause Activity. On most laptops, Macs, or PCs, you can also press and hold the power button (macOS can bring up the lock screen for a minute before going to sleep). Of course, the most frequently used method is probably to shut down the device.

But that’s the problem. Your laptop uses magnets to ensure closure, but these magnets also let you know when the screen is closed. When the top of the screen is too close to the bottom of your laptop, sleep mode is triggered. This is why, on many devices, the sleep mode is triggered even before the device is completely closed. These magnets are often strong enough to hold AirPods in place, for example.

Unfortunately, your laptop doesn’t differentiate between magnets in the screen and magnets in other devices. An iPad, for example, also has magnets. If you bring an iPad too close to the base of your computer, your computer will confuse your iPad with the screen and go to sleep.

Perhaps your laptop is going to sleep without any magnet nearby. In this case, look at the settings to see if a timer is not active. My Mac goes to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity, but you can choose just a minute, if you want. The process does not trigger if you do something on your computer, but you might be surprised. If your timer is too short, this may be the culprit.

On Mac, you’ll find the option in System Settings > Lock Screen (macOS Ventura) or System Preferences > Battery or Power Saver. On Windows, Start > Settings > System > Power & Battery > Screen & Sleep (Windows 11) or Start > Settings > System > Power & Sleep (Windows 10).


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