MacBook Wake on Demand and Bonjour Sleep Proxy

Actually, when a MacBook is in sleep mode, then it can continue sharing services, such as iTunes and iPhoto library sharing, printer sharing, file sharing, and screen sharing.

The ways it works

When you are using Wake on Demand (on your MacBook) and Bonjour Sleep Proxy that provided by an AirPort device or Apple TV), so you can save energy and decrease costs while still ensuring full access to all your shared services. You can also access remotely shared services across the Internet via Back to My Mac.

Wake on Demand works by partnering with a Bonjour Sleep Proxy running on your AirPort Base Station, Time Capsule or Apple TV (when no AirPort Base Station or Time Capsule is present on the network). Note: Apple TV will act as a Bonjour Sleep Proxy even when it is in sleep mode.

Actually any MacBook on your network that has Wake on Demand enabled in Energy Saver preferences will register itself and its shared services with a Bonjour Sleep Proxy automatically. When the MacBook is in sleep mode and a request is made to access a shared service on the MacBook, a Bonjour Sleep Proxy asks that MacBook to wake and handle the request. Once that request is complete, the MacBook will again register with the Bonjour Sleep Proxy and go back to sleep at its defined sleep interval in the Energy Saver preferences. Note: For perfect performance, you should have twenty or less MacBooks using Wake on Demand per Bonjour Sleep Proxy on your network.


  • With Wake on Demand enabled (see below) and your MacBook in sleep mode, as you may know, your MacBook will sometimes wake for a short-term time, without lighting the screen, for maintaining active shared service registrations with the Bonjour Sleep Proxy. Moreover, on some MacBooks, sounds from the optical drive, hard drive, or fans may be heard during these brief periods. Note: Removing a sleeping MacBook from the network will automatically remove its registered shared services from the Bonjour Sleep Proxy.
  • Bonjour Sleep Proxy runs on an AirPort Base Station, Time Capsule, or Apple TV (second generation or later)–when no AirPort base station or Time Capsule is present on the network–with the latest software updates installed.
  • Portable MacBooks with Wake on Demand enabled will only perform Wake on Demand functions when they are connected to a power adaptor and either the built-in display is open or an external display is attached.

Examples of how Wake on Demand works

iTunes and iPhoto Sharing

Applications like iTunes and iPhoto let you to share your music, movies, and pictures with friends and family on your local network. Wake on Demand lets your MacBooks to go to sleep, and again wake up automatically to let others view your shared stuff.

Printer Sharing

You can connect a printer to a MacBook and share it with other computers on the network in OS X. Wake on Demand lets the MacBook to go to sleep while idle, but wake up automatically when it is needed to handle a print job.

Back to My Mac

With Wake on Demand, then you can remotely access your MacBook via the Internet and Back to My Mac, even if your MacBook is in sleep mode.

Local File Sharing, Screen Sharing, other sharing services

Moreover, helping your home MacBook wake when you remotely access it using Back to My MacBook, Wake on Demand also prepares the same capability when you access your MacBook locally from within your own home network, whether for File Sharing, Screen Sharing, remote log in via SSH, or other sharing services.

Important features

Automatic registration

With “Wake for Network access” or “Wake for Wi-Fi network access” or “Wake for Ethernet network access” enabled in the Energy Saver preferences, OS X will automatically detect the presence of a Bonjour Sleep Proxy service running on your AirPort Base Station, Time Capsule, or Apple TV and register its shared services with the Bonjour Sleep Proxy before going to sleep.

Works on any service

Because Wake on Demand uses Bonjour, it can manage any service that registers with Bonjour regardless of the underlying protocol.


Any Bonjour-enabled client (including both MacBook and Windows) can discover Bonjour-registered shared services on your sleeping MacBooks. Any client that tries to connect to one of these shared services will cause the MacBook to wake and provide the shared service to the client.

For instance: On a home network with an AirPort Base Station, a MacBook sharing an iTunes playlist goes to sleep. A MacBook or PC user on the home network sees the iTunes playlist in its iTunes and clicks it. The Bonjour Sleep Proxy wakes the sleeping MacBook and its iTunes playlist appears on the other MacBook or PC ready to play shared media.

Setting up Bonjour Sleep Proxy and Wake on Demand

In order to configure your network properly and devices for Bonjour Sleep Proxy and Wake on Demand, check the following steps as below:

Setting the Bonjour Sleep Proxy on your AirPort Base Station, Time Capsule or Apple TV

Install the latest software updates for AirPort Base Station with 802.11n (or later containing 802.11ac), Time Capsule, or Apple TV (second generation or later) to enable it to act as the Bonjour Sleep Proxy. When installed, your AirPort Base Station, Time Capsule or Apple TV (when no AirPort base station or Time Capsule is present on the network) will make itself available as a Bonjour Sleep Proxy to other devices on your network with no other configuration necessary.

Setting up your MacBook

MacBooks that ship with Mac OS X v10.6 or later have Wake on Demand empowered by default, but for some earlier MacBooks this option must be enabled using the steps below.

To enable Wake on Demand on a MacBook follow these steps:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. From the View menu, choose Energy Saver.
  3. Select (check) “Wake for network access”. Note: The “Wake for network access” option’s text may differ depending on the capabilities of your MacBook:
  • Wake for network access – Your MacBook supports Wake on Demand over both Ethernet and AirPort
  • Wake for Ethernet network access – Your MacBook supports Wake on Demand over Ethernet only
  • Wake for Wi-Fi network access – Your MacBook supports Wake on Demand over AirPort only

Setting up clients

Any Bonjour client can interact with a MacBook running MacBook OS X v10.6 or later and cause it to Wake on Demand. For Microsoft Windows, you should install Bonjour for Windows.

Wireless Wake on Demand

You can verify that your MacBook supports wireless Wake on Demand by following these steps:

  1. Open System Information.
    • While holding down the option key, click the Apple menu and select System Information…
  2. In the Network section, click Wi-Fi.

When you see “Wake On Wireless: Supported”, your MacBook supports Wake on Demand when connected to your wireless network and automatically registered with the Sleep Proxy Server. If you do not see “Wake On Wireless: Supported”, your MacBook can use Wake on Demand if it is connected to your network with an Ethernet cable.

As a matter of fact, the wireless network you use with Wake on Demand should be the first wireless network in your list of Preferred Networks. The wireless network priority can be set within the Network pane of System Preferences check the following steps:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences…
  2. From the View menu choose Network.
  3. Select Wi-Fi from the list of network interfaces.
  4. If the padlock icon in the lower left is locked, click it. When prompted enter an admin name and password to unlock.
  5. Click the Advanced… button.
  6. In the Preferred Networks list under the Wi-Fi tab, click and drag the name of your network that uses Wake on Demand to the top of the list.
  7. Click OK to save the settings.
  8. Click Apply, then close System Preferences

MacBook Repair at TopTek System

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