Anybody know what's going on with my MacBook?

I’ve got a 15" MacBook Pro (the latest generation, with the Thunderbolt port) that I’m trying to use it with a Henge Dock as a desktop replacement. It’s not working out, and I’m having trouble finding someone who can help.

According to Apple, the MacBook Pro will only function in “clamshell” mode if it is connected to:
[li]External power (via the Magsafe adapter),[/li][li]An external monitor, and,[/li][li]an external keyboard (I’m using the Apple wireless keyboard that connects via Bluetooth)[/li][/ol]
I can, indeed, get my MacBook to function this way, but only if I have, after making the connections, opened the lid to the computer, then closed it again, and “woken up” the computer by pressing a key on the keyboard. If I subsequently disconnect it from the external devices, and then re-connect everything (as I would have to if putting it in the dock), it will not wake up unless I open it up. This obviously causes problems, since there is no way to open the lid when the computer is docked.

I went to the “Genius Bar” at the local Apple store, and the only thing they could think of was to change the energy saver settings such that, on battery power, the computer would never sleep. Doing this had no effect whatsoever.

I called Apple’s phone support, and after consulting with his supervisor the rep informed me that the computer was behaving precisely as designed. My problem with this notion is that, if true, it would be impossible to use this dock, and I would expect to find lots and lots of angry comments all across the web about how it doesn’t work. To the contrary, people seem happy with their docks, so obviously my computer is behaving differently than others.

I e-mailed the dock manufacturer, thinking that they might have heard from other customers with this problem, but they say they are unaware of this happening elsewhere.

So, any ideas? Anyone know of a super-secret setting somewhere that I can change to fix this issue? Any ideas as to how to convince Apple that this really is a problem and not a feature?

This is a long shot, but every Mac I have at the house right now will wake up when you plug in any USB device. I don’t have a MacBook here now to check, but will it wake up, even when closed, if you plug in a wired keyboard or other USB device?

Nope, at least not after disconnection and re-connection.

I should mention that if it remains connected to the peripherals and goes to sleep due to inactivity, it will wake up just like it should with the press of a key or movement on the external trackpad. Once disconnected, however, upon re-connection I have to open it up to get it to perform.

It’s possible that the Apple Remote will wake it up. They’re $19, so you might want to try it at the Apple store before buying one.

My MacBook behaves exactly the same as yours. I’m pretty sure that is by design. Could you thread the cables through the dock, start clamshell mode and then mount the machine without disconnecting the cables?

LOL, This feature can get really annoying if you have an Apple TV and your Mac in the same room.

Can’t you pair the remote to a specific computer/TV by changing its internal ID? I can’t imagine Apple neglecting that, otherwise one remote would affect every single Mac in an office/library/school setting, no?

Have you tried connecting a wired mouse or keyboard?

I thought of this, but it doesn’t really work due to the design of the dock. I mean, I could make it work, more or less, but it would be a hassle.

I think I have an Apple remote around here somewhere; I may give that a shot just on the off chance it works.

I think the next thing I’m going to do is make another appointment at the store, and see if they’ll hook up a floor model MacBook Pro to a monitor, power, and keyboard, and see if it behaves like mine. If it does, well then I’m just out of luck and Henge Docks is going to have a hard time moving product. If it doesn’t, then at least I’ve got a data point with which to say to Apple, “See, mine doesn’t work properly. Fix it.”

I haven’t, mostly because I didn’t think to (I think I’ve got one stashed in the closet somewhere), but admittedly also because the Apple wireless keyboard is supposed to do the job (according to Apple). So, if a USB keyboard does make it work, then there’s still something not right with the MacBook.

But, yeah, I should try that, for the sake of completeness.

Also, you can just try disabling sleep on lid close altogether.

Read instructions here or get a utility that does it for you.

It’s kind of silly that OSX doesn’t have a configuration option for this. And “behaving precisely as designed” sounds like Jobs-speak for “We know it’s broken but we don’t care because it’s all part of The Vision. Why would you ever want to close such a beautiful product? Go find someone else to bother.”

Well, I have two remotes, one came with the Apple TV and one with the Mac and they both work interchangeably. Honestly, I haven’t bothered to delve into it at all. My solution is just shut the Mac down when I’m trying to watch TV. As an experiment though, I ought to walk into the Apple Store and start clicking the remote just to see what happens.

Pairing your Apple Remote

Well, I feel just a tiny bit silly. For no other reason than a whim, I did a shut-down/restart of my MacBook. It now behaves as I want it to. Thinking back, I’m not sure it had been restarted since I embarked on this project, so maybe one of the settings I changed needed the restart to take effect.

Regardless, this seems to have done the trick. I have disconnected and re-connected several times now, and the MacBook wakes up without needing to open it.

…Aaaaand I spoke too soon. Apparently “several” times is all it had in it.


Unplug the machine. Take the battery out of the machine, let it sit for a few minutes then re-install and restart.