Phantom laptop access?
August 13, 2015 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way for a closed laptop to automatically connect to the internet without someone opening it?

Hi! I left my macbook pro work laptop at work yesterday when I left, and it was closed and plugged in. About an hour after I left, I was at home on my home laptop, and my work laptop connected to the internet and signed on to IRC. I know because I was on IRC at the time from home.

The IRC disconnected from work wifi about 10 minutes later. In the interim, I called my desk to see if anyone was there. No answer. I surmised that someone had opened the laptop and was thwarted by it being password protected.

When I came in this morning, nothing looked disturbed, and the laptop was still closed and plugged in. I have a small office, and ascertained that everybody was out of the office and the door was locked at the time the laptop connected.

Our IT people are offsite, hate macs, and do not have any sort of admin access to it. They literally have never touched it. It doesn't access the internal network unless I make it. It does connect automagically to the password protected wifi.

So what in the heck happened? Nobody was here, nobody could have come in through the locked office door. The computer connected to the internet and automatically signed on to IRC despite being closed.
posted by Stewriffic to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If your MB at work is connected to an external keyboard and display (not sure about display) it will work like a "tower". Possibly it hasn't gone to sleep yet.
posted by Mac-Expert at 7:18 AM on August 13, 2015

Best answer: Yes, recent macs do this (maybe as of 10.9 or so). The feature is called power nap and is definitely annoying if you leave an irc client running. You can disable it in system preferences -> energy saver.
posted by advil at 7:20 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Looks like power nap it is! Thanks so much advil. Who knew? This has never happened before that I have seen despite the same situation happening all the time. 10.10.4
posted by Stewriffic at 7:29 AM on August 13, 2015

This has never happened before that I have seen despite the same situation happening all the time.

I've noticed (from irc logs basically) that the time it is awake varies quite a bit so possibly it just usually doesn't wake enough to actually connect to IRC? It usually is on the order of a few seconds (on a MBA), not 10 minutes, but is sometimes minutes. Another (remoter) possibility is that if you recently did a SMC update, it might have enabled power nap on that computer.
posted by advil at 7:59 AM on August 13, 2015

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