Mavericks: Accessing the Shut Down Dialog via the Power Button

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Mavericks may not have gone through a drastic UI transformation, but as things typically go with a new version of OS X, it does bring quite a few functional changes. One of the habits that I’ve gotten into over the last several years is to bring up the Shut Down Dialog (Restart, Sleep, Shut Down) by pressing the power button on my MacBook Pro.

However, after upgrading to Mavericks, pressing that button put my Mac to sleep which is totally not what I wanted to do. Thankfully there’s still a way to access that menu, it’s just a bit different.

Shut Down Dialog in Mavericks

For many, the change may be a welcome one. However, if you still want to access the Shut Down Dialog via the power button, Apple points out a couple of ways to do so. In my opinion the safest way is to hold Control while pressing the power button. This will bring up the familiar Shut Down Dialog from which you can restart, sleep, or shut down your Mac. You can also press and hold the power button for 1.5 seconds, although it’s possible to accidentally force your Mac to shut down if you hold it for too long.

For those of you still with me, here’s a bonus tip: The reason I like the Shut Down Dialog is because it includes keyboard shortcuts for the options it provides. For example, if I want to restart my Mac I simply press ⌃+⎋ (Control and power) to bring up the dialog and then press r to restart the Mac. To shut down from the same menu, press Return or to sleep, press s.

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Hmm, I didn’t know you could press the letters. But I’m pretty quick at hitting the tab key a few times and hitting space bar.  My usually method to sleep the machine with Apple’s latest keyboards is ctrl-Eject to get the dialog, tab-tab-space to select and press the sleep button.


If you’re on a portable, FN-Power Button instantly sleeps your machine.


Why don’t you just use shorcuts???

Go to the “Sleep and shut down shortcuts” section.


I never would have guessed “u” for “Shut Down” (I knew the other two) – seeing as it’s the dialog’s default option, pressing <return> suggested itself first raspberry

Michael Johnston

VaughnSC: You’re so right. I totally allowed a Windows shortcut to creep over into my Mac shortcuts. It totally doesn’t work. Return is the correct key for Shut Down. I’ll be fixing it.

Jory Prum

*sigh* It sure would be nice if Apple would stop fixing things that aren’t broken. Using Control-PowerButton is barely further to reach than Control-EjectButton, which does the same function. Pushing the Power button to sleep the machine is completely NOT what I was looking for and I want it switched back. Quit burying functionality, Apple!

Michael Johnston

I’m in agreement with you, Jory.

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