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

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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.

Source: Apple