Roon Core on headless Mac mini M1 Tips & Tricks

I wanted to share my experiences and the small pitfalls I ran into, when setting up my Roon Core on a dedicated M1 Mac mini.

I didn‘t want to spend the extra money on a Nculeus or Intel box so I went for an M1 Mac mini, as we are an Apple household anyway. As I‘m listening primarily on the weekends and sometimes in the evening the server should be very power efficient and being able to put asleep when not needed.

Here is how I configured the Mac mini:

  • First of all you need a keyboard, mouse and monitor once for the initial setup.
  • Install Roon Core for Mac; Rosetta is still required and will be installed automatically by the macOS.
  • I have a „small“ library so I copied this on the internal SSD. I‘m mostly streaming via Qobuz.
  • I chose not to use my iCloud Account and setup a local user account with admin privileges instead.
  • Remote Management needs to be enabled for this user as well as remote login via SSH
  • FileVault needs to be disabled, otherwise Auto-Login for this User will not work
  • Setup Roon Software as a login item for this user.
  • The Mac is configured to go in standby mode every night at a defined time, if I forget to put it to sleep.
  • Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off.

This setup works fine and the M1 Mac is blazing fast.

I initially had some issues when waking the Mac via Ethernet. The Roon Client started, but no audio device could be selected. Is is only getting available, when the display on the Mac is activated. This is strange, because the mini is headless. :thinking:
But as soon as I VNC-ed into the Mac, the Roon Client on the iPad worked.

So I ended up creating two shell scripts to remote control the Roon Core.

Send Mac mini to sleep
pmset sleepnow

Wake up from sleep mode
caffeinate -u -t 5

I’m using iOS Shortcuts to send these commands with an SSH Action.
There is a good tutorial: Remote control your Mac with your iPhone and SSH Key Shortcuts – dougbeal

So when I want to listen to music I tell Siri to wake up Roon or I simply open a shortcut from the Home Screen. Other way around, when I’m done.

Works perfectly … after some trial and error.

Hope that helps.
Budget: Roon License + 650-700€ for the Mac mini.


I’m considering getting a headless Mac mini as my Roon Core.

I don’t have a second monitor, but I can hook it up to a TV via HDMI for the setup.

I’m not very tech savvy, so I have a few question.

My TV is in living room, but by internet setup is in my bedroom. Therefor, I’ll need to have the Mac mini there in order to connect it via an ethernet cable.

Once I setup the Mac mini, I’ll obviously have to turn it off and disconnect it to bring it over to by bedroom.

How exactly would I then go about turning on the Roon app, etc., if I can’t don’t have a TV in my bedroom?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for sharing. Can you tell something about power consumption when Roon is running but not playing?

If you already have a Mac, setup Screen sharing in the Sharing pane in System Preferences on your new Mac mini, then, when you relocate your mini and turn it on it will be visible on the network. Just login to the mini and click Share screen.


I think the Mac mini spec says idle power consumption is something like 6 watts.

Quick question, does the mouse and keyboard for initial setup need to be wired? Or will, say a 2014 Mac mini recognize a wireless keyboard and mouse (cause that’s what I have for my main Mac)?

I know the specs, but I wanted to know real values when Roon ist idle.

They will work, but you’ll have to pair them first in the Bluetooth pane in System Preferences and then probably be best to forget them when you’re set up.

Thanks very much, Stephen. For answering this question and the one about setting up the “headless” Mac mini.

Thanks for posting this. Having my headless mini up 24/7 has never been an issue until now, but with the freaking price of electricity in Europe I’ve been running around shutting down things. Sleeping the headless mini has always been a pain, have to VNC into the box, then back to Roon etc. Now just tell Siri to sleep it, and I’m done. And Roon is never inactive, it’s always doing things in the background, so your mini is not running in “idle” mode……

How expensive is it over there? Here in California we have one of the highest electricity rates in the US, with the top tier reaching almost $0.50 per kWh. Assuming my Mac mini is consuming 6W at idle, that translates to about $26 year. Not too bad in comparison with how much Roon, Qobuz, Netflix, YouTube, etc. cost :).

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Here in Amsterdam……€0.85 per kWh. Government caps the rates at €0.40 from January 1 for the first 2900 kWh, then you pay full rate. I’ve never come close to only using 5000 kWh in a year, let alone 2900!

And in my household I have 3 mac mini’s and 3 laptops always running, plus countless other things on ‘standby’. Have unplugged the ones that are used rarely and made sure that things are off when not being used, and replaced every freaking halogen bulb with led. Have reduced daily electricity usage by 60% in two weeks, 20% of that was ‘vampire’ or standby or machines running 24/7 (like 2 synology’s)……

Oh and btw, if you think your mini running Roon 24/7 is ‘idle’ when your not using it, think again :joy:. Go have a look at your logs, Roon is a busy bee :+1:

Sure :). I plug in the Mac mini through a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the actual usage.


Thanks for sharing.
What kind of mini M1 did you used ? The first one ? (8 RAM/256 Disk) ?

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Great config you’ve done on your
Mini. I am not an iOS guy - yet got the core going on an M1 mini yesterday.

Would love to get the command to wake up roon and put to sleep configured on my Mini / Siri. Could you provide detailed steps? Is this only an “expert” can do?

Thanks :blush:

You can schedule shut down in MacOS system preferences prior to Ventura. I guess they have removed it in the latest OS

For a automatic shutdown/ start up you can use terminal

Directions for MacOS 13 are here but the link contains a drop down for older versions

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