iCloud Drive Still Has Sync Issues in 2018

December 11, 2018 · 11:31

I still rely on Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync) to sync my files between Macs, an iPad, and an iPhone. It works perfectly but I have been considering switching to iCloud Drive ever since I upgraded to the 2 TB storage option (please give me a cheaper 500 GB and 1 TB option Apple — I don’t need 2 TB at this point in time).

I was trying to transfer an edited photo from my iPad to my MacBook Pro a few minutes ago. I saved it to iCloud Drive and went to look for it on my Mac. Not there. I checked my iPhone and verified it was synced. So I restarted my Mac. Nope, nothing.

Want to know what triggered the sync process? I created a new folder in Finder.

Seriously, Apple?


The Quality of Apple Software and Marzipan

December 9, 2018 · 07:15

iKyle:

The quality of software Apple ships shows what Apple considers good enough quality. Including the marzipan apps in the released OS signals the state they are in now is officially good enough quality for macOS software as far as Apple is concerned. That’s worrying.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

They are absolutely ‘good-enough’. Apps updated day and date with iOS? With the complete, up-to-date featureset? This is leagues beyond what we usually get from Apple’s work on macOS. I am not worried about macOS actually getting software on par with iOS, because that’s a step up.

Personally I’m horrified at what these apps look like and how they function. They appear to be foreign entities among all the software designed for MacOS. Despite understanding Apple’s reasoning behind shipping them now and not when their backbone is ready, I cannot quite fathom who said: ‘Yes, this is good enough.’ Not at Apple in any case.

Apple chose their own path. Two separate operating systems, with their own look and feel, with some points of overlap. We’re in the middle of an evolution of both OSes, waiting to see where they’ll both end up. Maybe it’ll be better but it sure as hell feels that it’ll get a lot worse in the short-term.


HTTP Server on iPad via iSH →

December 9, 2018 · 07:09

Dandy Weng:

It’s definitely mind-blowing that you can set up a simple HTTP server on your iPad. All I need now is a more sophisticated Files integration so I can copy files into @iSH and edit them with another app to do some real work! Huge shout out to @tblodt.

iSH is amazing but… this shouldn’t be mind-blowing. iOS is 8 years old and based on MacOS — we should have been able to do this years ago (without jailbreaking).


Download Procreate’s Undo Gesture Project →

December 8, 2018 · 08:33

Procreate Team:

We think Procreate’s Undo gesture is one of the best things we’ve ever made. Apple highlighted it as an exceptional user experience when Procreate Pocket was lucky enough to win iPhone App of the Year 2018, and it’s one of our most beloved features. It’s simple, fast, and takes full advantage of multi-touch […]

Whether you’re one of our competitors, or in an entirely different field, please feel free to grab the project below. Take it, use it, and give your users the most instinctive Undo and Redo method available.


The Biggest Threat to the Mac →

December 8, 2018 · 08:08

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

The biggest threat to the Mac isn’t iPads, Chromebooks, or Windows 2-in-1’s — it’s apathy towards what makes great Mac apps great.

Apple’s own software quality is slowly going down hill over these past few years, as if they stopped caring. There are too many examples to list, but it’s long past due to sound an alarm. Even on iOS, Apple often fails to have updates for its own apps ready in time for new screen resolutions or features.


’The iPad and iOS Nowhere Near As Far Along As the Mac Was a Generation Ago’ →

November 20, 2018 · 08:35

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

But, I will object to one thing: the iPad feels like a young platform, yes, but it’s not young. It’s over 8 years old. Steve Jobs was still around to introduce it. When the Mac was 8 years old in 1992, System 7 had been launched and it was a very advanced platform, suitable for work of any kind. The new iPad Pro hardware might be the best consumer computer hardware ever made — the only rivals are the iPhone XS and XR. But software-wise, the iPad platform is nowhere near as far along after 8 years as the Mac was a generation ago. The iPhone is. But the iPad is not, and I don’t see how anyone can deny that.

Apple slowed down evolving iPadOS features in the beginning and then tried to speed them up as the hardware started to get better at a rapid pace, but the software team just can’t keep up. It’s still missing utterly basic functionality and I’m really hoping iOS 13 is a big one for the iPad. June is so far away though…


Screenshots on iOS — PNG vs. JPG →

November 15, 2018 · 08:40

Dr Drang, on And now it’s all this:

One oddity about screenshots on iOS that has no analogy with the Mac is that their file format depends on whether they’ve been edited. If you take a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad and save it directly to Photos with no changes, it’s saved as a PNG. But if you crop it or draw on it before saving to Photos, it’s saved as a JPEG.


iSH — an iOS Linux Shell for Your iPhone or iPad →

November 13, 2018 · 06:53

Lawrence Abrams, for Bleeping Computer:

Have you ever wanted to run a Linux shell on your iOS device to transfer files, write shell scripts, or simply to use Vi to develop code or edit files?  Now you can, with a project called iSH that is currently available as a TestFlight beta for iOS devices.

iSH is a project that aims to bring a Linux shell to iOS devices using a usermode x86 emulator. iSH is built on the Alpine Linux distro, which is designed to have a small footprint, be secure, and easy to use with little or no distracting bells and whistles.

There’s a link to apply for the TestFlight beta there.

via @stroughtonsmith


Apple Walks Ars Through the iPad Pro’s A12X System on a Chip →

November 8, 2018 · 10:07

Samuel Axon:

The iPad Pro outperforms every MacBook Pro we tested except for the most recent, most powerful 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8th generation Intel Core i9 CPU. Generally, these laptops cost three times as much as the iPad Pro.

“You typically only see this kind of performance in bigger machines—bigger machines with fans,” Shimpi claimed. “You can deliver it in this 5.9 millimeter thin iPad Pro because we’ve built such a good, such a very efficient architecture.”

The hardware is plenty fast. Now we just need software to make real use of all this horsepower.


Apple iPad Pro Review 2018 — Future of Computing, Not a Laptop Replacement →

November 5, 2018 · 15:43

Nilay Patel, for The Verge:

I use Lightroom CC all the time and I would love to manage and edit all my photos on an iPad Pro, especially since editing with the Apple Pencil is so much fun on this display. But I have no desire to import hundreds of RAW files into my camera roll and iCloud photos account. When I brought this up, Apple very proudly pointed to a new Siri Shortcut from Adobe that imports photos from the camera roll into Lightroom and then automatically deletes them from the camera roll.

I couldn’t test that Lightroom Siri Shortcut, since it’s not yet available. But I can tell you that macro-based hacks around the limitations of an operating system are not usually included in bold visions of the future of computing, and that Siri Shortcut is a pure hack around the limitations Apple has imposed on the iPad Pro.

Oh, but it gets worse. I shoot photos in JPG+RAW, and the iOS PhotoKit API only allows apps to grab one or the other from the camera roll. So I could only import my RAW images into Lightroom, leaving the JPGs behind to clutter up my camera roll and iCloud storage. That’s untenable, so I just gave up and imported everything directly into Lightroom using my Mac, because my Mac doesn’t insist on abstracting the filesystem away into nonsense.

This is my single biggest gripe with Apple and Adobe — they still haven’t figured out how to make this as simple as on a Mac (or Windows machine, for that matter). This basically makes it impossible for me to use an iPad for processing my RAW files. I’m still hoping both companies get their act together, but after 8 years, I’m closer to just accepting this won’t happen.

Apple seems to want it both ways with the iPad Pro: it loves to tout the iPad’s laptop-dwarfing sales figures and industry-leading performance, but when pushed on the iPad’s limitations, the company insists that the iPad is still an ongoing attempt to build the future of computing, not a laptop replacement.

But after eight years, this double-sided argument is no longer tenable. Unlike virtually every other computer, the iPad is a product of Apple’s singular vision: the company designs the display, the processor, the operating system, and the limits of the applications and accessories that plug into it. And after all this time, it’s clear that whatever roadblocks and frustrations exist in using the iPad Pro are there because Apple wants them there. There just aren’t that many excuses left.

I still love the iPad but it’s far from being a laptop replacement for so many people. Apple did finally cave and introduce the Files.app so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for substantial changes in iOS 13, but I’m not holding my breath.


iOS 12.1 Brings Group FaceTime and New Emoji to iPhone and iPad →

October 30, 2018 · 07:40

iOS 12.1 will be available Tuesday, October 30, bringing Group FaceTime and more than 70 new emoji to iPhone and iPad. FaceTime changed the way people communicate and share important moments, and now with Group FaceTime, it’s easy to chat with more people than ever before — from 2 to 32 people. iOS 12.1 also brings Depth Control in real-time preview and Dual SIM support to iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XRcustomers.


Computers Are Supposed to Help Us Solve Our Problems

August 7, 2018 · 10:08

Sameer Samat details the new Android Pie on Google’s blog:

The latest release of Android is here! And it comes with a heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler and more tailored to you. Today we’re officially introducing Android 9 Pie […]

I wanted to comment on two of the new features…

That’s why Android 9 comes with features like […] Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you like to set the brightness in different settings, and does it for you.

I have been using iPhones and iPads since 2008, and always relied on Automatic Brightness. I don’t know what Apple did, but I never had an Android phone which handled this function, as well as iOS does — I’ve always had stuttering or sudden brightness shifts, including flickering while it’s been adjusted. All this on many flagship phones, including older Nexus devices and more recent ones like the Galaxy S8.

At-a-Glance on Always-on-Display: See things like calendar events and weather on your Lock Screen and Always-on Display.

I have always found it curious that Apple chose not to use the Lock Screen in a more productive fashion (widgets do not count). Just weather information could be easily included and it’s something I miss every day. And since we have a OLED screen on the iPhone X, that could be taken advantage of even further. Burn-in could present a problem and perhaps that is why Apple isn’t in on this, but I can imagine a scenario where one tap on a screen shows upcoming calendar events and the weather, while two taps wake the screen.


Computers are (partly) supposed to help us solve our problems. This isn’t being pursued as I had hoped it would be. We’re 11 years in and iOS still can’t do things that my simple Nokia could, such as setting it to Do Not Disturb mode for a precisely set amount of time. iOS 12 will introduce a few new features that help in this regard but there’s so much more that could be done. My iPhone know’s my daily schedule and how I use it — it should adapt automatically. When I walk into the gym, it should suggest launching Overcast and Workouts (on my Apple Watch). When I leave, it should suggest that I text my wife, informing her that I am on my way and share my ETA. When I get into my car in the parking lot beneath the gym, it should launch Waze and guide me to where she is. I do this every single day and I should not have to manually repeat these steps every time — the OS should have learned by now. It has my location, it knows my routine; it should help automate repetitive tasks automatically.


Apple Is Rebuilding Maps From the Ground Up →

June 29, 2018 · 23:51

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

Maps needs fixing.

Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps.

It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Apple Maps really needs vastly superior search algorithms and many more POIs. The problems with search in Europe are comical. Search for “Kaczyńskiego” in Poland (e.g. when in Warsaw) and Maps will suggest a street in a far-away city, despite there being two by that name in Warsaw. Or if a street name consists of two words, e.g. a name and surname, you often have to type in both, otherwise it will fail.

I’ve given up on Apple Maps in Europe and it will take a lot of work on Apple’s part to get me to come back.


Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12

Everything You Need to Know About iOS 12 Shortcuts →

June 14, 2018 · 11:34

Federico Viticci, on MacStories:

On the surface, Shortcuts the app looks like the full-blown Workflow replacement heavy users of the app have been wishfully imagining for the past year. But there is more going on with Shortcuts than the app alone. Shortcuts the feature, in fact, reveals a fascinating twofold strategy: on one hand, Apple hopes to accelerate third-party Siri integrations by leveraging existing APIs as well as enabling the creation of custom SiriKit Intents; on the other, the company is advancing a new vision of automation through the lens of Siri and proactive assistance from which everyone – not just power users – can reap the benefits.

I was afraid magic variables would go away, but I’m surprised and happy to see that they have been retained. I like to imagine Ari Weinstein fought a battle there because this is not something I expected Apple to keep.

I hope they keep Ari and his team happy, so he can continue to build on the foundations of the most excellent Workflow (now Shortcuts) app. I don’t want even think about going back to using iOS without automation.


Apple’s Craig Federighi Talks About iOS Apps Running on macOS and Touchscreens on Macs →

June 5, 2018 · 23:34

Lauren Goode, interviewing Craig Federighi for Wired:

When addressing my question about whether iOS apps moving to macOS is a natural precursor to touchscreen Macs, Federighi told me he’s “not into touchscreens” on PCs and doesn’t anticipate he ever will be. “We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” he said.

Federighi added that he doesn’t think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as “experiments”—have been compelling. “I don’t think we’ve looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?” (It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s Surface laptop, which has a touchscreen and is considered a top MacBook rival, has received largely positive reviews.)

The Surface Pro’s and Surface Book’s weakest link is that they are poor tablets for users like me, but I can easily imagine a scenario where iOS (iPad) apps on a detached MacBook Pro screen would allow me to replace my iPad, while simultaneously allowing me to run full desktop software, such as Lightroom, should I need it.


ClassicKit for iOS →

May 19, 2018 · 11:17

Blake Tsuzaki on GitHub:

This is a little exploration into applying ’90s-era design & principles into a modern platform with some primitive components. The assets and design metrics were (for the most part) taken from an actual installation of Windows 95. These are pixel-accurate renditions of the original design…

UIs were shockingly ugly back then. I still remember when I first saw a NeXT computer at a trade show in the 1980s, when I was just a few years old — just the resolution of the screen was amazing, but the different look of that OS stunned me and I wanted one badly.

This might not look very special today, but compared to what I was used to, it was simply amazing.


John Gruber Has Further Details On Project “Marzipan” →

May 1, 2018 · 09:25

John Gruber, for Daring Fireball:

This “Marzipan” rumor got a lot of people excited. But Gurman’s report is so light on technical details that the excitement is based mostly on what developers hope it could mean, not what’s actually been reported. The less specific the rumor, the easier it is to project your own wishes upon it. And, oddly perhaps, we haven’t seen any additional rumors or details about this project in the four months since Gurman’s original report.

I’ve heard a few things, from first- and second-hand sources. Mostly second-hand, to be honest, but they’re all consistent with each other.

Firstly, the details John posted shed more light on iOS and macOS in the coming years.

Secondly, since this is in regard to Gurman’s “Marzipan” leak, Mark isn’t as credible as he once was:

Gurman doesn’t mention that the meeting was leaked to Gurman himself — the person who leaked this story was caught and fired.


Tim Cook: “Users Don’t Want iOS to Merge With macOS” →

April 20, 2018 · 10:48

Peter Wells, speaking with Tim Cook:

“I generally use a Mac at work, and I use an iPad at home,” Cook tells me, “And I always use the iPad when I’m travelling. But I use everything and I love everything.”

Later, when I ask about the divide between the Mac and iOS, which seems almost conservative when compared to Microsoft’s convertible Windows 10 strategy, Cook gives an interesting response.

“We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

This is nothing new — Tim Cook already made this statement a few years go.

I spent many days working solely with a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 the quickest summary I can come up with would be: it’s a good enough notebook, but a terrible tablet, at least in comparison to the iPad. The one situation I really liked it in, was editing photos in Lightroom, where I could detach the keyboard and focus on using touch. The iPad on the other hand, which I use every single day since it came out in 2010, is a great tablet and not a very good notebook. I guess it all depends where you’re coming from — Windows 10, as a desktop operating system, hasn’t yet evolved to be a great mobile OS1, while iOS is the exact opposite, even though iOS 11 helped a lot in that regard.

We’re currently at these strange crossroads between the past and future, while everyone is trying to figure out how to go forward, but it appears they don’t yet know which turn to take.

  1. It’s not a stellar desktop OS at the moment either — they still haven’t figured out HiDPI.

All of Apple’s OSes Should Get Comprehensive Instruction Manuals

April 9, 2018 · 11:24

This is but one example of the hundreds, if not thousands, of hidden features inside iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Siri. There are so many of these right now, that I don’t know a single person who would be aware of all of them. I read one of my own tips, which I published a few years ago, and was amazed that something like that was possible, and that I did not remember it1.

P.S. If you’re on macOS and don’t know the following keyboard shortcuts, make sure to memorise them — they’re really useful:

  1. I have since forgotten it again.

March 30, 2018 · 15:08

My HomePod needed 5 minutes to update to iOS 11.3. My Series 0 Apple Watch is at over 5 hours now, and the end is nowhere in sight.

At this point, I’m tempted to try to force it to restart — it appears to be doing nothing.


iPhone iBoot Source Code Gets Posted On Github →

February 8, 2018 · 15:22

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, writing for Motherboard:

Someone just posted what experts say is the source code for a core component of the iPhone’s operating system on GitHub, which could pave the way for hackers and security researchers to find vulnerabilities in iOS and make iPhone jailbreaks easier to achieve.

The GitHub code is labeled “iBoot,” which is the part of iOS that is responsible for ensuring a trusted boot of the operating system. In other words, it’s the program that loads iOS, the very first process that runs when you turn on your iPhone. It loads and verifies the kernel is properly signed by Apple and then executes it—it’s like the iPhone’s BIOS.

The code says it’s for iOS 9, an older version of the operating system, but portions of it are likely to still be used in iOS 11.

Apple has already filed a copyright takedown request with GitHub, which resulted in the code being removed, but that won’t help much — the code is out in the wild.


Apple Delays iOS Features to Focus on Reliability and Performance →

January 31, 2018 · 12:34

Ina Fried, writing for Axios:

On the cutting board: Pushed into 2019 are a number of features including a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.

What made it: There will be some new features, of course, including improvements in augmented reality, digital health and parental controls. In addition, Apple is prioritizing work to make iPhones more responsive and less prone to cause customer support issues.

This is a very good decision. iOS and macOS are currently very buggy and they are in need of care and polishing.

Also, I have not found a single reason to use AR yet.


Apple Plans Combined iPhone, iPad & Mac Apps to Create One User Experience →

December 20, 2017 · 17:01

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

The Mac App Store is a ghost town of limited selection and rarely updated programs. Now Apple plans to change that by giving people a way to use a single set of apps that work equally well across its family of devices: iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.

If this is true, I’m guessing the road will be rocky for developers, but the benefit for users could be huge, especially those that use the same apps on both iOS and macOS, relying on iCloud or other services for the syncing of data. I do wonder how this will influence pricing, however.


The Rise and Fall of Security in iOS 11 →

December 2, 2017 · 15:34

Oleg Afonin:

The passcode. This is all that’s left of iOS security in iOS 11. If the attacker has your iPhone and your passcode is compromised, you lose your data; your passwords to third-party online accounts; your Apple ID password (and obviously the second authentication factor is not a problem). Finally, you lose access to all other Apple devices that are registered with your Apple ID; they can be wiped or locked remotely. All that, and more, just because of one passcode and stripped-down security in iOS 11.

This has been a very bad week or two for Apple.