Advanced power management (APM) is an API developed by Intel and Microsoft and released in 1992 which enables an operating system running an IBM-compatible personal computer to work with the BIOS (part of the computer’s firmware) to achieve power management.
Revision 1.2 was the last version of the APM specification, released in 1996. ACPI is intended as the successor to APM. Microsoft dropped support for APM in Windows Vista. The Linux kernel still mostly supports APM, with the last fully functional APM support shipping in 3.3.
APM uses a layered approach to manage devices. APM-aware applications (which include device drivers) talk to an OS-specific APM driver. This driver communicates to the APM-aware BIOS, which controls the hardware. There is the ability to opt out of APM control on a device-by-device basis, which can be used if a driver wants to communicate directly with a hardware device.
Communication occurs both ways; power management events are sent from the BIOS to the APM driver, and the APM driver sends information and requests to the BIOS via function calls. In this way the APM driver is an intermediary between the BIOS and the operating system.
Power management happens in two ways; through the above-mentioned function calls from the APM driver to the BIOS requesting power state changes, and automatically based on device activity.