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Makes power profiles handling available over D-Bus.


meson setup _build -Dprefix=/usr
ninja -C _build install

It requires libgudev, systemd and polkit-gobject.


power-profiles-daemon offers to modify system behaviour based upon user-selected power profiles. There are 3 different power profiles, a "balanced" default mode, a "power-saver" mode, as well as a "performance" mode. The first 2 of those are available on every system. The "performance" mode is only available on select systems and is implemented by different "drivers" based on the system or systems it targets.

In addition to those 2 or 3 modes (depending on the system), "actions" can be hooked up to change the behaviour of a particular device. For example, this can be used to disable the fast-charging for some USB devices when in power-saver mode.

GNOME's Settings and shell both include interfaces to select the current mode, but they are also expected to adjust the behaviour of the desktop depending on the mode, such as turning the screen off after inaction more aggressively when in power-saver mode.

How to use

There are interfaces to switch profiles in the latest versions of KDE and GNOME. Those desktops also include more thorough integration with its low-power mode. Please check the user guides for each of them for details.

power-profiles-daemon also ships with a command-line utility called powerprofilesctl which can be used for scripting, as it allows getting and setting the active profile, listing the available profiles, and launching commands while holding the performance or the power-saver profile.

For example, this will be useful to avoid manual switching profiles while compiling large projects:

powerprofilesctl launch make

If you're a developer, you might also want to use GLib's GPowerProfileMonitor through C, or one of its bindings, so your application can react to the user requesting a low-power mode.


If power-profiles-daemon refuses to start, it's likely that you have a conflicting service installed and running, or your distribution ships a version of tlp that actively breaks power-profiles-daemon, or you use the upstream package.

systemctl unmask power-profiles-daemon.service
systemctl start power-profiles-daemon.service


You can now check which mode is in use, and which ones are available by running:


You can change the selected profile by running (change power-saver for the chosen profile):

powerprofilesctl set power-saver

You can check the current configuration which will be restored on reboot in /var/lib/power-profiles-daemon/state.ini.

Those commands are also available through the D-Bus interface:

gdbus introspect --system --dest org.freedesktop.UPower.PowerProfiles \
  --object-path /org/freedesktop/UPower/PowerProfiles
gdbus call --system --dest org.freedesktop.UPower.PowerProfiles \
  --object-path /org/freedesktop/UPower/PowerProfiles \
  --method org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties.Set 'org.freedesktop.UPower.PowerProfiles' \
  'ActiveProfile' "<'power-saver'>"

If that doesn't work, please file an issue, attach the output of:

sudo /usr/libexec/power-profiles-daemon -r -vv

Operations on Intel-based machines

The "driver" for making the hardware act on the user-selected power profile on Intel CPU-based machines is based on the Intel P-State scaling driver or the Energy Performance Bias (EPB) feature if available.

It is only used if the CPU supports either hardware-managed P-states (HWP) or Energy Performance Bias (EPB).

Example of a system without platform_profile support but with active P-State operation mode:

$ cat /sys/firmware/acpi/platform_profile_choices
cat: /sys/firmware/acpi/platform_profile_choices: No such file or directory
$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/intel_pstate/status

Example of a system with EPB support:

$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/power/energy_perf_bias

If the Intel P-State scaling driver is in passive mode, either because the system doesn't support HWP, or the administrator has disabled it, and EPB isn't available, then the placeholder driver will be used, and there won't be a performance mode.

Finally, if the Intel P-State scaling driver is used in active mode, the P-State scaling governor will be changed to powersave as it is the only P-State scaling governor that allows for the "Energy vs Performance Hints" to be taken into consideration, ie. the only P-State scaling governor that allows HWP to work.

For more information, please refer to the Intel P-State scaling driver documentation and the Intel Performance and Energy Bias Hint.

Operations on AMD-based machines

CPU power savings

The "driver" for making the hardware act on the user-selected power profile on AMD CPU-based machines is based on the AMD P-State scaling driver if available.

It is only used if the CPU supports Collaborative Processor Performance Control (CPPC), the machine is a laptop or workstation and the AMD P-State scaling driver is in active mode.

Example of a system without platform_profile support but with active P-State operation mode:

$ cat /sys/firmware/acpi/platform_profile_choices
cat: /sys/firmware/acpi/platform_profile_choices: No such file or directory
$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/amd_pstate/status

If the AMD P-State scaling driver is not loaded or is not in active mode, then the placeholder driver will be used, and there won't be a performance mode.

Finally, if the AMD P-State scaling driver is used in active mode, the P-State scaling governor will be changed to powersave as it is the only P-State scaling governor that allows for the "Energy vs Performance Hints" to be taken into consideration.

For more information, please refer to the AMD P-State scaling driver documentation.

Panel power savings

Laptops with integrated Radeon graphics have a dedicated hardware function to decrease panel power consumption in exchange for color accuracy. This function is used when the system is on battery and the user has selected the "balanced" or "power-saver" profiles.

If you decide that you don't like how this behaves, you can disable the function in one of two ways:

  1. Adding amdgpu.abmlevel=0 to the kernel command line. This will disable abm value changes entirely.
  2. By using --block-action=amdgpu_panel_power in the power-profiles-daemon ExecStart command. This will allow you to still change values manually in sysfs but power-profiles-daemon will not change anything.

Multiple driver and multiple action operations

Power-profiles daemon will load all supported drivers and actions by default. If you have a problem with a given driver or action, you can disable it by using --block-action or --block-driver with the name of the driver or action you want to disable in the environment that launches the daemon (such as the systemd unit file).

For example to edit the unit:

sudo systemctl edit power-profiles-daemon.service

Then modify the Execstart line to the drop-in file:

ExecStart=/usr/libexec/power-profiles-daemon --block-action=FOO

Then restart the service:

sudo systemctl try-restart power-profiles-daemon.service


If you don't have hardware that can support the performance mode, or the degraded mode you can manually run the power-profiles-daemon binary as root with the environment variable POWER_PROFILE_DAEMON_FAKE_DRIVER set to 1. For example:

sudo POWER_PROFILE_DAEMON_FAKE_DRIVER=1 /usr/libexec/power-profiles-daemon -r -v


Why power-profiles-daemon

The power-profiles-daemon project was created to help provide a solution for two separate use cases, for desktops, laptops, and other devices running a “traditional Linux desktop”.

The first one is a "Low Power" mode, that users could toggle themselves, or have the system toggle for them, with the intent to save battery. Mobile devices running iOS and Android have had a similar feature available to end-users and application developers alike.

The second use case was to allow a "Performance" mode on systems where the hardware maker would provide and design such a mode. The idea is that the Linux kernel would provide a way to access this mode which usually only exists as a configuration option in some machines' "UEFI Setup" screen.

This second use case is the reason why we didn't implement the "Low Power" mode in UPower, as was originally discussed.

As the daemon would change kernel settings, we would need to run it as root, and make its API available over D-Bus, as has been customary for more than 10 years. We would also design that API to be as easily usable to build graphical interfaces as possible.

Why not

This section will contain explanations of why this new daemon was written rather than re-using, or modifying an existing one. Each project obviously has its own goals and needs, and those comparisons are not meant as a slight on the project.

As the code bases for both those projects listed and power-profiles-daemon are ever evolving, the comments were understood to be correct when made.


thermald only works on Intel CPUs, and is very focused on allowing maximum performance based on a "maximum temperature" for the system. As such, it could be seen as complementary to power-profiles-daemon.

tuned and TLP

Both projects have similar goals, allowing for tweaks to be applied, for a variety of workloads that goes far beyond the workloads and use cases that power-profiles-daemon targets.

A fair number of the tweaks that could apply to devices running GNOME or another free desktop are either potentially destructive (eg. some of the SATA power-saving mode resulting in corrupted data), or working well enough to be put into place by default (eg. audio codec power-saving), even if we need to disable the power saving on some hardware that reacts badly to it.

Both are good projects to use for the purpose of experimenting with particular settings to see if they'd be something that can be implemented by default, or to put some fine-grained, static, policies in place on server-type workloads which are not as fluid and changing as desktop workloads can be.


It doesn't take user-intent into account, doesn't have a D-Bus interface and seems to want to work automatically by monitoring the CPU usage, which kind of goes against a user's wishes as a user might still want to conserve as much energy as possible under high-CPU usage.


This is not free software (Source code available but not modifiable without express authorization.). The application does a lot of things in addition to the "3 profiles" selection:

  • replaces part of the suspend mechanism with its own hybrid sleep implementation (systemd already implements one)
  • implements charging limits for batteries
  • implements some power saving tricks, which could also be implemented

A lot of those power-saving tricks could be analysed and used, but we obviously can't rely on "source available" software for our free desktops.


Very similar project to power-profiles-daemon but goes much more into the weeds in terms of power-saving/performance implementation.

It has a D-Bus API for choosing different power profiles, and applies a number of settings based on the profile selected. Most of the interesting settings are already upstreamed (SATA power tweaks), should be upstreamed to the vanilla kernel if possible (PCI power-savings), or are things we already implement (Intel P-State).

It could without a doubt have been used as a base for power-profiles-daemon if it was more of an upstream project instead of a PopOS!/System76 project.


It provides an interface to a number of ASUS-specific features which isn't directly relevant to power-profiles-daemon like handling keyboard LED settings, or setting battery charge limits. The functionality that was relevant got moved to the asus-wmi kernel driver during the 5.14 kernel development cycle, where power-profiles-daemon can consume it. The 2 daemons are now complementary.