Mavericks detects motion via light sensor to prevent system sleep

By , Nov 1, 2013

OS X Mavericks (Desktop, MacBook)

Concerned Mac users took to Twitter this morning following the revelation of a chunk of code found in OS X Mavericks update that resets idle time when the computer detects motion. They feared this meant the iSight camera is ‘always watching.’

But as it turns out, that’s not the case at all. The code, which was first spotted by Moshen Chen of Radiantlabs, actually makes clever use of the light sensor positioned to the left of the iSight camera by interpreting “changes in light” as movement…

The Verge reports:

“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 always been able to manually set a time limit for when their Macs would go to sleep based on halted physical interaction with the computer like typing or moving the mouse. But Mavericks takes things a step further, improving the feature’s accuracy.

Apple released OS X Mavericks to the public as a free update on October 22nd.

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  • Umut Bilgiç

    The whole “Apple is watching you!” thing was nonsense in the first place if I do say so myself.

    • appleyay

      you are being watched and there is nothing you can do to stop it..lol

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Nothing that a duct tape can’t fix.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Lol. +1 for you good sir!

      • Cameron Chao

        exactly, if you’re so concerned then tape it over, i personally know people who did this before mavericks or on a PC just in case their camera ever comes on due to a virus or what not.

  • Σαλαη αββας

    That’s pretty cool

  • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

    Prevents system sleep, but what about the screen only?

    • Keita123

      Duh..

  • Yujin

    Better thana phone that is always listening….oh wait…

  • Juan Miguel Sepulveda

    Then they watch me watching porn? God… I’d hate to be in their place.

  • Vijay Panjwani

    This shows how apple does its work in such a detail.. Just nailing the use of ambient light sensor! its awesome!

  • M Last

    why everyone thinks Apple is spying on them?
    this is just movement sensor

  • blastingbigairs

    If my iMac wants to watch me I don’t care, I’m always watching it because it’s so damn beautiful!!!

    • Keita123

      +1 to you big airs !

  • Keita123

    +1 to you!

  • fl0manel

    So? The Xbox 360 Kinect does the same thing. What’s the big deal. Everyone is so skeptical about privacy these days. Honestly, there’s really no such thing as privacy anymore. Sorry to break it to you, but I’ve gotten over it.