OS X Mavericks Taps Ambient Light Sensors to Detect Motion and Prevent System Sleep

energy_saver_preferenceOS X Mavericks includes a new feature that leverages the light sensors included in many Macs to detect movement in front of the machine and prevent the system's Energy Saver sleep functions from activating even when the user is not actively using the machine, notes The Verge.

First highlighted by Moshen Chen of Radiantlabs and confirmed by developer Jonathan Wight, the feature was initially thought to use the iSight camera to monitor movements but was quickly discovered to actually be tapping into light sensors.

The sensor is already used to adjust screen brightness to ambient light, but the new OS puts it to a different purpose, tracking changes in the light as "movement," and resetting idle time accordingly. Verge tests confirmed this on two separate Mavericks laptops: after covering the camera but not the light sensor, we were able to delay sleep mode by changing the ambient lighting conditions.

Users have long been able to set separate thresholds for display and system sleep based on lack of interaction with their Macs, but under Mavericks, many Macs have now become smarter about being able to detect whether or not the user is sitting in front of the machine.

Related Forum: OS X Mavericks

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Top Rated Comments

MrX8503 Avatar
139 months ago
How about we have the Mac not go to sleep when you're downloading something or encoding a video?

That would be really helpful.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
139 months ago
Dave?

Dave, are you awake?

"Ugh, just go to sleep."

I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that.

Why are you not typing on my Dave?

I know you're awake...
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
needfx Avatar
139 months ago
How about we have the Mac not go to sleep when you're downloading something or encoding a video?

That would be really helpful.

this doesn't help?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
leman Avatar
139 months ago
How about we have the Mac not go to sleep when you're downloading something or encoding a video?

That would be really helpful.

Well, ask your application developers to use power assertions.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
139 months ago
How about we have the Mac not go to sleep when you're downloading something or encoding a video?

That would be really helpful.

Here's my FAVORITE simple Mac app:

http://caffeine.en.softonic.com/mac

It puts an icon in the task bar that toggles on a 'no sleep mode' when you want it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djtech42 Avatar
139 months ago
this doesn't help?

It should automatically disable sleeping in those cases though.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)