A Message About iOS Security →

September 6, 2019 · 19:17

Apple:

Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of “mass exploitation” to “monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,” stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case.

Second, all evidence indicates that these website attacks were only operational for a brief period, roughly two months, not “two years” as Google implies. We fixed the vulnerabilities in question in February — working extremely quickly to resolve the issue just 10 days after we learned about it. When Google approached us, we were already in the process of fixing the exploited bugs.

We now have two sides to the story. Where does the truth lie?


iPadOS 13 (beta 5) — My Gripes and Comments When Using An External Keyboard

August 2, 2019 · 12:13

I have tried using an external keyboard with an iPad since 2010 and while it is possible, it’s nowhere near as good as on MacOS. I have tried various keyboards over the years, including Apple Wireless Keyboards, Magic Keyboards, third-party keyboards, but I am currently using a mechanical Doro67, which is fully user-programmable, connected via USB-C.

Below are some immediate gripes and comments I have regarding external keyboard implementation in the current beta of iPadOS 13:

  • Sometimes, when I Cmd + Tab into an app, e.g. into Ulysses from Safari, I can immediately continue writing where I left off. The keyboard is active and the cursor is waiting for input. At other times it is not. There is no key that I can press to resume writing without first physically touching the screen with my finger.
  • When Cmd + Tabbing into Safari, sometimes everything works as intended and I can use the Cmd + L shortcut to input the address I want to open or Control + Tab to the Tab I need. I can then use the arrows, PgUp, PgDn or Spacebar keys to navigate webpages. Unfortunately, sometimes iPadOS and/or Safari behave as if there is no keyboard connected and I have to touch the screen to make it active again.
  • Sometimes the keyboard just behaves like it’s not connected at all and I have to touch the screen to get it to work.
  • When switching between apps, there is a small delay, which I need to wait out before I can start typing. This delay is extremely frustrating.
  • Sometimes iOS/iPadOS thinks the Cmd key is stuck, especially after quickly Cmd + Tabbing through your list of previously used apps.
  • When using the Alt/Option + Shift + Left/Right Arrow to select text in e.g. Ulysses, the selection stops at the end of a word, omitting the space and/or punctuation marks after the word. When doing the same thing in Safari (editing text in WordPress), the word and the space behind it are selected. If there’s a comma or full stop after a word, and then a space, those get selected automatically too. This is inconsistent and Safari’s implementation is wrong. Perhaps this has something to do with WordPress and is not Safari’s fault but I don’t know that.
  • The above problem also happens when moving the cursor when editing text. E.g. Cmd + right arrow will move the cursor to the end of the word in Ulysses (correct) or to the beginning of the next word in Safari (wrong).
  • Ulysses has a typewriter mode, which often loses my set position. iA Writer has the exact same problem. I hope it’s not something the developers of those apps can’t fix.
  • My PgUp and PgDn keys often don’t work, e.g. in text editors such as Ulysses. Fn + Arrows don’t work either. Curiously, Safari is fine.
  • It is (mostly) possible to use both MacOS and Windows without taking your hands off the keyboard. There’s basically a way to do almost everything without using a mouse or trackpad. I have been a keyboard-shortcut user for the past three decades, since the DOS days, just because it’s faster. iOS is woefully behind in this regard.
  • I use the character picker almost constantly on MacOS (Control + Cmd + Space, to add arrows, etc. when needed. There is no way (that I know of) to do this under iOS/iPadOS (the emoji keyboard doesn’t have all of the symbols that I use, e.g. the arrow I used below).
  • If you use an external keyboard with your iPad, please make sure to go into Settings → Keyboard → Hardware Keyboard to turn auto-capitalisation and auto-correction on or off (off in my case).
  • If you use more than one keyboard language in iPadOS, you can use the Control + Space shortcut to switch between your languages — just hold Control and tap the Spacebar to cycle between them.

Keyboard support has been getting better over the years but it’s getting there at a glacial pace and is still far behind MacOS. I really hope they focus more on it in the future, perhaps even before iPadOS 13.0 rolls out this Autumn.

Photo: 11-inch iPad Pro with a Vortex Race 3.


Jason Snell’s First Look at macOS Catalina Public Beta →

June 25, 2019 · 11:55

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

Catalina takes the Mac in a new direction. I’m encouraged by the fact that Apple is cranking up its focus on security and privacy without locking Mac users out from running the software they want, when they want to. I’m of the belief that the introduction of Catalyst will result in the influx of some really good software from thousands of iOS developers who have been using the Mac all this time without the wherewithal to develop software for it.

I’m curious to see how the current crop of iOS/iPadOS-only apps will compete with traditional Mac apps once the former are Catalysed.


I Emailed Craig Federighi →

June 12, 2019 · 08:09

Yours truly:

I’d love to see iOS also alternate between dark and light mode depending on the available light (as determined by the ambient light sensor). I often find myself in a dark environment during the day, when the sun is shining full blast, yet I want Dark Mode to activate in those types of scenarios. Tweetbot has it. I hope iOS 13 gets it.

I rarely feel strongly enough about something to take the time to contact a company about adding a feature, but I did this time. The iPhone and iPad are incredibly powerful and simple automation is a task they should handle easily, without us having to waste time by manually turning Dark Mode on or off. So I emailed Craig Federighi, with a 🤘🏻 emoji and everything. Hope he’s better at reading his email than Marco Arment.


Dark Mode in iOS 13 Is Missing a Feature →

June 11, 2019 · 10:42

From the iOS 13 feature preview page:

Have Dark Mode turn on and off at a certain time or based on sunrise and sunset, which is great when you’re outside at night or using your iPhone before you go to bed.

I’d love to see iOS also alternate between dark and light mode depending on the available light (as determined by the ambient light sensor). I often find myself in a dark environment during the day, when the sun is shining full blast, yet I want Dark Mode to activate in those types of scenarios. Tweetbot has it. I hope iOS 13 gets it.


Translating an ARM iOS App to Intel macOS Using Bitcode →

May 18, 2019 · 12:22

Steven Troughton-Smith, on High Caffeine Content:

Of course, the specter of macOS on ARM has been in the public psyche for many years now, and many have pondered whether Bitcode will make this transition more straightforward. The commonly held belief is that Bitcode is not suited to massive architectural changes like moving between Intel and ARM.

I was unconvinced, so I decided to test the theory!

Of course he did. Since this is Steve, the results are predictable.

That was easy!

This means, in theory, that if Apple wanted every iOS app on the App Store to run on the Mac, today or in the future, they have a mechanism to do so transparently and without needing developers to update or recompile their apps.


Lenovo Shows Off the World’s First Foldable PC →

May 15, 2019 · 14:30

Chaim Gartenberg, reporting for The Verge:

As for how you use the device, Lenovo is envisioning a variety of use cases. You can use it completely unfolded like a large tablet or partially folded in a book-esque form factor. A built-in kickstand lets you prop up the display on a table for use with an included wireless keyboard and trackpad.

And, perhaps most interestingly, you can turn the device on its side and use it in a traditional (albeit smaller) laptop style form factor, using the bottom surface as a digital keyboard or writing pad, similar to Lenovo’s two-screened Yoga Books. Cleverly, the right side of the display (which serves as the “bottom” portion when used in laptop mode) contains the entire battery, which keeps it weighed down so it won’t topple over.

Since I like prefer physical keyboards to their on-screen counterparts, I don’t envision using this PC without their external keyboard, which I would need to take around with me. In that situation, I may as well just carry a regular MacBook or something like a Surface Pro.

What interests me however, is what this kind of computer would look like if Apple made it, assuming they’ll even get in on this bendable screen trend. Imagine getting foldable iPhones or iPads in a few years time, running iOS. At the same time, MacOS on MacBooks will be running iOS apps via Marzipan. Will MacBooks get touchscreens, which could be useful for those Marzipan apps (at the very least)? Will Apple opt for making foldable MacBooks too? Would you prefer to use a foldable iPad running iOS, or a foldable Mac running MacOS with Marzipanified apps? Will iOS (or iPadOS) and MacOS merge together, despite what Apple has stated in the past? How would all of this even work?

Photo credit: The Verge


Valve’s New ‘Steam Link Anywhere’ Service Streams PC Games to Mobile Devices, Excluding Apple’s →

March 18, 2019 · 09:35

Mitchel Broussard, for MacRumors:

Valve today announced an expansion of its game-streaming app Steam Link, now named Steam Link Anywhere (via The Verge).

The original Steam Link app let users stream PC games on Steam to a mobile device within their home, but Steam Link Anywhere lets users stream games from their PC to any compatible device with internet service, excluding Apple devices.

Perhaps Apple has a good reason for blocking Steam Link Anywhere, but we’re the ones paying the price. I would also like to know what that reason is.


iOS 12.2 ECG Changes →

March 13, 2019 · 15:10

Guilherme Rambo, for 9to5Mac:

Up until now, Apple Watch Series 4 users who bought their Apple Watch in the US were able to use the ECG feature just fine, provided that they completed the onboarding step on their iPhone first. In this onboarding, the user has to confirm their date of birth and also see some instructions about how ECG works.

A change to this onboarding process suggests that Apple is going to start taking more aggressive measures to prevent usage of the feature in other territories. In iOS 12.2, a new phrase has been added to the bottom of the screen, which says that “During setup, your location will be used to make sure this feature is available in your region.”. Trying to perform the setup on an iPhone without a SIM installed gave the error “Unable to confirm your location. Make sure your iPhone is not in airplane mode and has a working SIM card to proceed”.

Now that I’ve gotten used to having the ECG feature on my US Apple Watch in Europe, I really hope they don’t block it.


A Week of Podcasting With Only an iPad Pro →

February 20, 2019 · 09:59

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

Last week I took a trip during which I needed to record three podcasts (Liftoff, Download, Six Colors Subscriber Podcast) with guests who would be participating via Skype. I almost took my trusty old MacBook Air with me, but I decided to see if I could figure out a way to replicate the bulk of my home recording setup without requiring a Mac.

While I can do a lot on an iPad, I am still constantly amazed how many hoops people are willing to jump through to do something, which wouldn’t be an issue on MacOS (or Linux/Windows for that matter). I’m at a point where I can’t be bothered anymore (if I don’t already have a workflow set up for a particular problem).


Apple Tells App Developers to Disclose or Remove Screen Recording Code →

February 8, 2019 · 11:59

Zack Whittaker, reporting for TechCrunch:

Apple is telling app developers to remove or properly disclose their use of analytics code that allows them to record how a user interacts with their iPhone apps — or face removal from the app store, TechCrunch can confirm.

In an email, an Apple spokesperson said: “Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem. Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.”

“We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary,” the spokesperson added.

This is one area where the App Store Review Team needs to dramatically improve. Such code and analytics should not be able to make it into the App Store.


Bloomberg Suggests 3D Cameras and USB-C for iPhones, a New Cheap 10-inch iPad, a New iPad Mini and Dark Mode for iOS 13 →

January 31, 2019 · 09:20

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, for Bloomberg:

Apple is also testing some versions of this year’s iPhone line that includes a USB-C connector instead of the Lightning port that has been used on iPhones since 2012, indicating that the company plans an eventual switch, according to one of the people […]

Beyond iPhones, Apple plans to release an updated version of its lower-cost iPad with a roughly 10-inch screen and a faster processor as early as this spring, according to people familiar with the plans. That device is expected to retain the Lightning port, according to one of the people. The company is also readying a new, cheaper iPad mini, its smallest tablet that hasn’t been updated since 2015, the people said.

Apple’s next operating system update, iOS 13, will include a dark mode option for easier nighttime viewing and improvements to CarPlay, the company’s in-vehicle software. There will also be iPad-specific upgrades like a new home screen, the ability to tab through multiple versions of a single app like pages in a web browser, and improvements to file management. The company will also integrate two new services, including a magazine subscription service and its original video content efforts, via iOS updates this year.

This summary by Mark Gurman, potentially confirming previous leaks, makes me feel like I won’t be upgrading my iPhone this year – the new camera module will allegedly only be present on the XS Max’s successor, which is just too big to use comfortably. I was a bit surprised that he didn’t corroborate the leak about the XR’s successor getting a dual-camera setup though.

In terms of hardware, I can’t wait for a new iPad Mini. I doubt I’ll buy one — having two iPads is overkill — but still I fondly recall my first generation iPad Mini. It was just so comfortable to use around the house and in transit.

In terms of software, I can’t wait to get my hands on the new iOS 13 beta this June — 2019 will hopefully be the year of meaningful iPad updates.


UAE Used Cyber Super-Weapon to Spy on iPhones of Foes →

January 31, 2019 · 08:54

Joel Schectman, for Reuters:

The ex-Raven operatives described Karma as a tool that could remotely grant access to iPhones simply by uploading phone numbers or email accounts into an automated targeting system. The tool has limits — it doesn’t work on Android devices and doesn’t intercept phone calls. But it was unusually potent because, unlike many exploits, Karma did not require a target to click on a link sent to an iPhone, they said.

In 2016 and 2017, Karma was used to obtain photos, emails, text messages and location information from targets’ iPhones. The technique also helped the hackers harvest saved passwords, which could be used for other intrusions.

It isn’t clear whether the Karma hack remains in use. The former operatives said that by the end of 2017, security updates to Apple Inc’s iPhone software had made Karma far less effective.

How many tools are currently out in the world, whose existence we are completely oblivious to?


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.