Could my macbook really wake due to random magnetic fields?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by roisin and mac, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. roisin and mac macrumors 6502

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    #1
    This afternoon I was at an Apple Authorized reseller (no Apple Stores where I am) and they are the kind that have an attached service center. I was there for something unrelated but still took out my laptop.

    Anyway, as I was packing up the computer to go, the guy saw that I just put it to sleep and didn't shut down, and told me to 'watch that because with all the magnetic fields around nowadays, it could wake up any time since the sleep mode on macs works using magnets, and then since the first thing the computer does on waking is to read the hard drive, you could damage the drive by having it being read while you're moving the computer around'. Well, that's not an exact quote down to the it's and the to's, but that's pretty much what he said. He went on to advise that the only proper way to do things is to ALWAYS shut down completely when transporting the laptop. Otherwise, he said - rather ominously - I should make sure I back up daily to prevent excessive loss of data should my drive fail on me.

    What I would like to hear some views on is this: how big is the risk, in real world conditions rather than in theory? I mean, he said that it does not happen with EVERY magnetic field, but that there is no way to know which is going to do the trick. And he also recognized that it does help if you don't jostle the laptop when transporting it (eg, you don't run to catch the bus with the laptop in your bag). So, putting these two together, how likely do you reckon it really is that you will a) happen on one of these magnetic fields that is the right type/strength to wake your laptop, then b) also manage to jostle it at the same time before it's had a chance to go to sleep again and c) jostle it enough to cause real damage?

    I know this is probably not the kind of situation were I should expect absolute answers - as in, NO, there is absolutely no risk, or YES, it's as good as certain. All I am hoping for is a relative answer - a bit of risk assessment: to see whether not shutting down my laptop for every 20 minute walk is an unreasonable risk. See the thing is, while in theory I have no objection with shutting down entirely, I know that in practice it is going to be sheer hell because it will actually entail a pretty massive change in my routine - a routine that's served me very well for years :) So I don't want to put myself through the hassle of such a change unless there is good cause to do so.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    It can, but the magnetic field must be very localized and it must be more powerful than the Macbook's own sleep sense magnet. You'd know if you're around a magnetic field powerful enough to do that and you rarely are.
     
  3. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I thought it sounded a little bit tinfoil-hat-ish the way he said it :)

    But just to be clear, when you say I would know it if I was ever around a magnetic field powerful enough to interfere with the macbook's sleep magnet, what do you mean - how would I know this?

    Also: I don't know if this changes anything, but my macbook is old - it's a late '07. I know it's kinda weird to be making a fuss about such an old laptop hehe, but to me it's very precious because right now I'm too skint to afford extensive repair work or even outright replacement :-/
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #4
    You'd just know that you put a powerful enough magnet near it. It'll stick to the Macbook.
     
  5. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 3, 2008
    #5
    ooh, I see. So when you talk about proximity in such cases, it means *really* close - not say a metre or so between macbook and magnet? It's just, the guy seemed completely adamant, AND he's supposed to be someone trained by Apple to provide service and support of their machines, so I suppose I'm rather staggered that he'd be this off the mark. I mean the way it sounds from what you're saying, the chances of what he's describing actually happening are very, very low - and he was making it sound like, if not a certainty, then at least a high probability or something.
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #6
    A few inches would be the most. A more powerful magnet results in a longer range. But beyond a few inches, the magnet will pull the Macbook toward it.
     
  7. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Riiight, so basically, I just need to be on the lookout for some unseen force pulling on my backpack, right? heh :p :rolleyes:

    If I feel that force, I just make sure to check the laptop didn't wake up before I start pogoing or something :p

    Am I reading this right?
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    Yep. But of course, you'll likely never be around a magnet that powerful within your lifetime.
     
  9. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    haha, okay, cool ;) Thanks for explaining that!
     

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