Just What Does Power Nap Do While Your Mac Is Sleeping?

Just What Does Power Nap Do While Your Mac Is Sleeping?

We showed you how to switch on Power Nap on your Mountain Lion-running, SSD-equipped Mac, but just what does this new feature do?

We know that you Mac enters a kind of robotic REM sleep, where it’s brain activity spikes and the network connections power up to download various bits of data, just like Newsstand on iOS. But a new Apple Knowledge Base article outlines the surprising number of tasks which are going on under the sleepy-lidded hood.

You’ll need to be running a late-model MacBook Air or a Retina MacBook Pro, and have installed the latest firmware update. Then, the following features will run as your Mac gently snoozes:

  • Contacts. Your Contacts update with any changes you may have made on another device.
  • Calendar. Receive new invitations and calendar updates.
  • Reminders. Reminders updates with any changes you may have made on another device.
  • Notes. Notes updates with any changes you may have made on another device.
  • Documents in your iCloud account. iCloud pushes any edits you made to a document to your Mac notebook.
  • Photo Stream. Your Photo Stream updates with new photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • Mac App Store updates. Your Mac notebook can download updates from the Mac App Store.
  • Time Machine backup. Your Mac notebook can back up while it sleeps.
  • Find My Mac. Locate a lost Mac notebook even when it’s sleeping.
  • VPN on demand. Corporate email updates securely.
    Configuration profile. Macs in managed environments can receive configuration profile updates.

These all run regardless of whether the notbook is plugged in or not, which is impressive as regards power use. If it is plugged into the mains, then there are yet more things that will run: Software updates will download, Time Machine backups will run, Spotlight indexes can update and MAS downloads will continue to, uh, download.

Power Nap might look like a little bullet point on the Mountain Lion spec sheet, but it really is a big deal, especially for those non power users (aka. Normals) who never bother with updates and the like. And the sleepy Find My Mac feature is just plain magic.

Related
  • CraigRyder

    Will Power Nap work on a 13″ MBP if I put in an SSD myself?

  • joewaylo

    Craig: You can’t unless you void your AppleCare warranty and pray the MBP is compatible with some SSDs. It’s not designed for them anyways.

    Mac runs a different type of RAM as well as the hard drive and it’s ports aren’t of the same designs.

  • i_bad_apple

    i fail to understand why powernap won’t work with my 2011 imac with sad!!!! grrrrrrr!!!!

  • chabig

    @craig…no it will not work. Firmware must support Power Nap and the current 13″ MBP firmware does not.

    @joe…swapping drives and changing memory does not void the warranty. The MBP works fine with an SSD instead of the hard drive. Macs use industry standard RAM and industry standard drive interfaces.

  • Aaron

    Mac runs a different type of RAM as well as the hard drive and it’s ports aren’t of the same designs.

    “Better to keep your mouth shut and have people wonder if you’re an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

  • christmerlini

    It sounds like an awesome feature.
    But what I’m concerned about is security.
    Usually, if you close it, it’s off.
    If there were to be a security flaw, it won’t be safe just by closing your MacBook anymore…

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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