Tuesday, December 6, 2022


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Hot Bag MacBook

Diagnose why your MacBook loses charge when traveling

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - Sam Rowlands

Have you ever travelled somewhere to find that your MacBook is nice and warm, with next to no battery left? If so, these are the common causes of a "Hot Bag MacBook" that we've found so far.

Update: Dec 6th 2022: Added Howard Oakley's article on Magnets

Items in-between the trackpad and screen

Storing things in-between the screen and the keyboard deck can trigger the Mac to wake up, this includes paper, screen protectors, camera covers and debris. Don't place anything in-between the screen and the keyboard deck of the Mac. Give the trackpad and screen a gentle wipe to remove any dust and debris.

Dust and debris was discovered by a Sleep Aid customer, who cleaned their trackpad after Sleep Aid claimed the wake reason was Trackpad, and their MacBook stopped waking up in their bag.

Apps or settings keeping the Mac awake

With Sleep Aid running on the MacBook, use the "Sleep Check" function (available from the main window and the menubar icon) to make sure there's no apps running which are preventing sleep. Sleep Aid will also highlight System settings which it believes can prevent sleep.

Auto Waking aka DarkWakes

Typically Apple Silicon Macs wake 3 times an hour (conflicting reports suggest this may have changed for Ventura). When the Mac is awake, it's possible an Apple service or 3rd Party application can ask the Mac to stay awake. Apple's "Adaptive Standby" is one service that has been a problem for me.

To figure out the potential causes, run Sleep Aid on the MacBook. When you experience Hot Bag MacBook, check the "Sleep History" to see when it woke, how often it woke and what might be keeping it awake. Most "Auto Waking" can be disabled by unselecting "Wake for Maintenance" in the "Sleep Settings" of Sleep Aid.


Howard Oakley of The Eclectic Light Company has written an article on How Macs can start up on their own. "If you’ve got sleeves or covers which incorporate magnets to stick keyboards to, keep them well away. And whatever you do, be careful what you put on the left side of a closed MacBook Pro or Air."

Make sure to separate your MacBook and any magnets (including iPads with covers) during transit. Thanks Howard for letting us know about this.


Accessories can also cause sleeping problems. USB devices can trigger wakes, so can Bluetooth devices and we even believe that some Wi-Fi routers can also trigger the Mac to wake up. These become a problem if they happen frequently, or a service kicks in and prevents the Mac from going back to sleep.

When Sleep Aid is running, it will capture the causes of wakes, including if it was a USB device, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Sleep Aid can't identify exactly which device, but knowing how it connects is a big help in narrowing it down.

Sleep Aid contains functions to disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth during sleep, so that these devices can't wake your Mac.

Have we missed anything?

Are there any reasons you've found which cause your MacBook to chew through its battery while you think it's asleep in your bag? If so, let us know by using the Contact Us page.