Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wireless updates without wifi?

When Apple introduced wireless updates without wifi, I didn't get all that excited, because my main Mac does not use wifi, it uses ethernet to connect to the Internet (after years of battling all the constant minor issues with wifi, I just bought a long ethernet cable, and since then, no connection problems).

But it was fun to try it once at least, so I set my iPad to sync wirelessly anyhow, and tried it, having turned on wifi on the Mac.

But I've noticed that the iPad shows up in iTunes on the Mac even when the Mac is *not* on wifi, and then I tried to click on the sync button on the Mac, and the iPad started updating! All the new apps, podcasts, etc. I went to look at the iPad and yep, they were downloading.

So I would guess that the Mac/iTunes is communicating with the iPad via Apple's server, and then tells the iPad which files to download, not from the Mac, but from Apple's server! Remarkable. I really would not have expected them to think it further than "of course both machines have to be on the same wifi network to sync".
I guess this also means that so long as both devices are on the Net, each can be anywhere in the world and they can still sync.
(Sync can also be started on the iPad, by plugging in the wall charger.)

Update: I think now instead that this has been happening when my iPad has been on the network (one of two) into which my tower Mac was plugged via Ethernet! So, probably no Internet involved.

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