Watching you? No, but Mavericks knows when you're not in front of MacBook

OS X Mavericks on MacBook
Cue the MJ

MacBook owners awoke to echoes of Rockwell and Michael Jackson singing "Somebody's Watching Me" after an enterprising software coder discovered how the latest version of Mac OS X uses its built-in sensors.

Turns out, Apple's latest OS X Mavericks operating system taps into the MacBook's hardware in a new and unique way.

Coder @paranoidroid took to Twitter on October 31 to blast about an unsettling feature he'd stumbled upon - the iSight camera was tracking users' movements.

Soon others on Twitter tried it for themselves, eventually coming to the conclusion that it wasn't the iSight camera but rather ambient light sensors that Mavericks was fiddling with.

Sitting idle

Let us explain just what's going on with MacBook sensors and OS X Mavericks.

The laptop's sensors are placed just to the left of the built-in iSight camera, and are used to adjust the brightness of the screen based on the ambient light in the room.

Starting with OS X Mavericks, Apple engineers have found a way to use the same sensors to read "movement" - or rather, track changes to the surrounding lighting conditions to determine when someone is actually sitting in front of their computer.

Along with other well-documented, under-the-hood improvements to OS X Mavericks, this change allows Mac computers to determine when to sleep or reduce processor time, presumably using less energy in the process.

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Via The Verge