Category : Apple

Apple

Apple jams Facebook’s web-tracking tools

“We’re shutting that down,” declared Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi, at the firm’s developers conference.

He added that the web browser Safari would ask owners’ permission before allowing the social network to monitor their activity.

The move is likely to add to tensions between the two companies.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook had previously described Facebook’s practices as being an “invasion of privacy” – an opinion Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg subsequently denounced as being “glib”.

At the WWDC conference – where Apple outlines its software plans for the months ahead – Mr Federighi said that Facebook keeps watch over people in ways they might not be aware of.

“We’ve all seen these – these like buttons, and share buttons and these comment fields.

“Well, it turns out these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not.”

He then pointed to an onscreen alert that asked: “Do you want to allow Facebook.com to use cookies and available data while browsing?”

Apple WWDC

“You can decide to keep your information private.”

One cyber-security expert applauded the move.

“Apple is making changes to the core of how the browser works – surprisingly strong changes that should enable greater privacy,” said Kevin Beaumont.

“Quite often the changes companies make around privacy are small, incremental, they don’t shake the market up much.

“Here Apple is allowing users to see when tracking is enabled on a website – actually being able to visually see that with a prompt is breaking new ground.”

He added that the firm appeared willing to flash up a lot of prompts despite the potential for this to become annoying.

“Perhaps Apple is gambling on websites reining in tracking rather than users having to give constant permission to track their device,” he added.

Apple also said that MacOS Mojave would combat a technique called “fingerprinting”, in which advertisers try to track users who delete their cookies.

The method involves identifying computers by the fonts and plug-ins installed among other configuration details.

To counter this, Apple will present web pages with less detail about the computer.

“As a result, your Mac will look more like everyone else’s Mac, and it will be dramatically more difficult for data companies to uniquely identify your device,” Mr. Federighi explained.

Analysis

Apple event

By Dave Lee, North America technology reporter

Apple’s attempts to block data tracking as you travel around the web could have a real impact on companies that rely on your personal information to make their billions.

And of course, where Apple goes, others often follow. So, if this keynote sets a trend, Facebook might have reason to worry.

Each demo showing these new tools used Facebook and Instagram – owned by Facebook – as the example of something you would want to block or at least restrict.

The question now is whether Facebook and other ad-tech companies will try to find new ways to train our web activity, in an attempt to outsmart Apple.

Presentational grey line

Siri enhancements

Apple also overhauled its virtual assistant Siri to control third-party apps without users having to open them.

A new Shortcuts function allows device owners to assign their own phrases to different commands.

In addition, a single command, such as “I’m heading home” can be set to trigger multiple actions.

Siri

Although Apple was one of the first tech firms to offer a smart assistant, Siri is widely seen to have fallen behind its rivals in recent years.

Its new abilities appear to be an attempt to expand its capabilities without requiring the kind of personal data-sharing that Android requires to get the best out of Google Assistant.

“Voice assistants like Siri are critical because they are becoming a vehicle to a service,” commented Ben Stanton, an analyst at the consultancy Canalys.

“If you think about booking taxis, ordering food or using social media, voice ultimately has the potential to overthrow”That’s a huge opportunity and why there’s so much money being invested into voice assistants.”

Siri’s new functionality appears to build on Workflow, an automation tool that Apple acquired last year.

Another major addition announced for iOS 12 was Time Limit, which will allow users to pre-determine how much time they should spend using individual apps, and bring up a full-screen alert when an allowance is used up.

Although adults will be able to extend the period, they can also prevent their children from being able to do so.

Parents will also be able to get a breakdown of how long children are spending using different apps, block access at certain times of the day, and restrict the types of content youngsters have access to.

“Just as people know they eat too much junk food but keep on doing it, they also know they shouldn’t spend hours buried in their phone but still do it,” commented Neil Mawston from tech advisory firm Strategy Analytics.

“So, device-makers and app providers do have a responsibility to make sure their products don’t become an addiction for consumers.”

Google unveiled similar tools at its own IO developers conference last month.

Other announcements about iOS 12 included:

  • Memojis, animated emojis that can be set to look like device owners, much like the AR emojis introduced on Samsung’s Galaxy S9
  • Group Facetime, in which up to 32 people can take part in the same audio or video call
  • Shared experiences in augmented reality, whereby several devices can be used simultaneously to show graphics mixed with the real world from different points of view

The next version of WatchOS – which powers the firm’s smartwatch – will also gain new facilities.

They include the ability to automatically detect when a workout has begun, so that if the user presses start several minutes later they can still be credited with all their activity.

The firm also promised to launch Walkie-Talkie – a push-to-talk Watch app, that will let two users chat together via 4G or wi-fi.

It was first announced in September 2014, but had appeared to have been forgotten until now.

Apple TV also promised a feature previously teased: Dolby Atmos, which will allow compatible audio equipment to deliver improved surround sound by bouncing audio off the ceiling.

And the next version of the Mac operating system introduces a new dark mode for people who like the colour black.

“Some of us are going to want to run dark mode just because it is so cool, I mean your emoji look great,” said Mr Federighi.

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MacOS High Sierra

Apple’s macOS High Sierra Root Bug Can Reactivate

According to an article published by PC Magazine, “Last week, Apple was left red-faced after it was discovered a bug in macOS High Sierra allowed anyone to gain root access to the system without a password. The company quickly released a security patch to fix the problem, but it also needed updating with an advisory because it could prevent file-sharing on the Mac. Now another problem has been identified, and it allows the root bug to be reactivated.”

When Apple released the security patch to solve the problem, they did not account for the lack of user participation in running the patch. Users who did engage in running the patch were not currently running macOS 10.13.1. It was reported that some users were running 10.13.0. Everything appeared fine afterwards, however, the 10.13.1 update gets installed and the root bug is reintroduced. Both Apple and the users did not realize this until after the update. Another assumption was that the users would reboot after running the patch, and the majority did not. Thus, causing the patch to be applied incorrectly, leaving your Mac vulnerable.

To avoid this issue, please be sure to upgrade to macOS 10.13.1 prior to running the security patch, followed by a proper reboot of your machine. If you have already gone through the update process and now are not sure if it worked, there is an easy way to check. Simply visit the Apple support page for the update and follow the steps using the Terminal app to confirm.

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Blasted by Phishing Calendar Invitations

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Have you been getting random calendar invitations from unfamiliar sources about events you have never heard of before? It seems we are not the only ones. Most of the calendar invitations seem to be coming from email accounts from other countries, promising deals on brand name products such as Ray-Bans.

This is just another type of phishing scam. Do not accept or decline calendar invitations from unknown senders. If possible, try not to open the invitation at all, and if you do open the invitation, do not click any links that may be attached. From what we know about email phishing and malware, this is most likely an attempt at retrieving personal information from your device.

Apple is in the process of blocking the suspicious email addresses and hopefully putting a quick end to the unknown invitations. In the meantime, you can do a few things to protect yourself. Firstly, do not decline the invitations, this only alerts the sender of an active email account, and will most likely lead to even more invitations. Go into your calendar settings and change invitations to be sent via email rather than device iPhone notifications. Finally you can create a junk calendar, purely for these spam invitations. These are temporary alternatives while we wait for Apple to block the email addresses and secure the problem. If you would like to create an alternative calendar for these invitations, which is the best way to protect yourself at the moment, click here.

 


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.mashable.com

 

Coolest MacBook Pro Touch Bar Features

Sitting just above the keys, the Touch Bar displays an array of color changing functionalities. Check out just a few of the cool things the Touch Bar can do!

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Just like texting on an iPhone, the Touch Bar allows for predictive text. For even faster email responses.

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You can Preview and Edit your photos with it too, all of the edit features appear just by double clicking a picture in the Photo Application.

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I think by far my favorite of the Touch Bar capabilities is switching between tabs visually in Safari. But it can also help coordinate your calendar and contacts by showing open times and days for you to choose from. It can also help you save documents and access keys no longer on the keyboard. Rather than lifting your hand and moving it to the track pad to save your document, just hit Command + S and watch Don’t Save, Cancel, and Save, appear. You may also notice that the F1 – F12 keys are missing from the new Pro. Not to worry, simply bring them up by holding the Fn key at the bottom of the keyboard and watch 1-12 appear on your Touch Bar.

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You can even choose Emojis with the Touch Bar!

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It can account for Touch ID as well. The first time you power up you will have to manually enter your password, but every time after that Touch ID is fair game. Just place your finger on the Touch Bar when you wake your machine from sleeping. Touch ID also means Apple Pay!

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Answer calls just like you would on your iPhone or iPad!

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Soon we will be asking ourselves how we ever lived without it!


If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.pcmag.com 

 

Best Mac Dock – Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter

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The Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter (that is one heck of a name) allows you charge or attach two USB devices to your Mac while also supporting a 4K display. This dock is part of a new wave of docks that finally do more than just drain your battery. Affordable at $60 on Amazon, this dock is attractive in both appearance and functionality. It has a higher level finish, with rounded edges and aluminum case that is available in four colors that perfectly match your Mac.

The built in cable has reinforcement at the dock connection and the head for durability. The USB-C jack is in an aluminum case for durability as well, and fits perfectly into a MacBook. The dock also has an HDMI port that supports 4K video at up to 30Hz.

At $60 this dock is $20 less than the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport adapter alternative which is less capable, awkward in design, and has one fewer USB 3 Type-A port. Satechi is a great competitor device is you just want to charge and connect to a 4k display.


If you want to learn more about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.macworld.com

iOS 10 – What happens if my iPhone 7/6 home button breaks??

iphone6-ios9-assistive-touch-menuThe iPhone 7 has changed the home button and like the headphone jack debacle, users are divided. Regardless of opinion if you have a iPhone 7 the home button has changed to a haptic engine known as the “Taptic Engine” which responds to touches with subtle vibrations, which actually simulates small movements although the home button itself does not move. The lack of moving parts is, in theory, less likely to break.

However, things do break occasionally. One user discovered what happens when the home button stops working with a home button notification reading, “Home Button May Need Service – In the meantime you can use the onscreen Home button below” as a temporary workaround. Yeah the home button still doesn’t work, but at least Apple is giving you another option for the time being.

Have a iPhone 6 with a broken home button? There’s a solution for you too, Enable Assistive Touch. Open Settings > General > Accessibility > Scroll down to Assistive touch and select it. Your screen should a white round button. This will serve as your onscreen home button. Tap the white round circle button, and home options will appear. You can move this button around your screen so that it is less in the way of your daily functions.

Regional Apple Support will also help you find out if the phone is under warranty, which will make the home button replacement free!


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post, please visit: www.howtosolve.com  www.mashable.com 

Is WiFi Assist Swallowing your Data?

wifi assist iphone apple If your iPhone software is up to date, meaning iOS 9 and the most recent iOS 10, then you have “WiFi Assist”. WiFi Assist is a feature that allows you to stay connected to the internet even when the WiFi connection is poor. Meaning that if a webpage is having trouble loading or your Instagram won’t refresh due to poor internet connection, the cellular data on your smartphone will step in to bridge the gap. When this feature is turned on you will see the cellular data icon in the status bar on your device. Apple’s website warns that because of the obvious (the feature is using cellular data here) you might use more cellular data than usual, but should only be a “small percentage higher than previous usage”. Despite what Apple recommends, I read a decent amount of hoopla from consumers outraged by the increase in data usage when their phone bill arrived at the end of the month.

I turned my WiFi Assist feature off, and I have noticed no difference in my performance. However, I have a strong WiFi connection both at my house and my office – hey I do work for an MSP after all :) !

I will be interested to see how it holds up in other environments. Regardless I can always turn the feature back on.

Want to turn off WiFi Assist and maybe save a little cash? Watch my video!

Settings > Cellular > Scroll alllllll the way down till the end of your apps > WiFi Assist toggle


If you would like to learn more about the information presented in this blog post please visit: https://support.apple.com

Do this and not that – Mobile Malware

mobile-malware1

The three best practices to avoid mobile malware is to use an official app store, resist temptation to jailbreak your device, and keep updates current. Apple and Google app stores remain the most vigilant about mobile malware concerns. Google uses Verify Apps that runs in the background of modern Android systems to scan for spyware, ransomware, and fraudulent apps. The company also checks mobile apps that are submitted to the Google Play Store. Less than one out of every 10,000 devices that only downloads from the Google Play Store has a program in the malicious category.

Jailbreaking your device undermines much of the already pre-installed security on the phone. In addition to this, the ability to restrict applications from accessing personal data on the phone as well as validate applications is disabled. Basically, if you jailbreak your device you better have a pretty good understanding of technology, because you just became the sole provider of security for that device.

This may be a surprise to most, but vulnerabilities actually do not increase the likelihood on malware on mobile devices. Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report released Apple iOS had nearly 8 times as many vulnerabilities as Android in 2014, but near all malware for that year were targeted at Android devices.

The reliance and increased functionality of mobile devices leads developers to push out updates and bug fixes as fast as possible. Users should pay attention to this and keep their applications and software updates current. Android users often wait to update because of the lengthy process involved, but the benefits usually out whey this inconvenience, especially considering Android devices are most susceptible for malware.

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.pcworld.com 

iOS 10 Wants to Help you Get More Beauty Rest

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You’ll find the new bedtime feature offered in iOS 10 in the Clock application. The first time you use the feature you will be walked through the functions. You may notice the application is now in dark mode, finally realizing most of us set alarms when we are already in bed or near sleep.

Begin by setting your wake up time, and tap “Next”. Hit the days of the week you would like the alarm to function. Set the number of hours you need to get each night (don’t worry this can be changed). After you have decided how many hours of precious beauty rest you would like, the application would like to know when you would prefer your nightly bedtime reminders, which can range from the bedtime itself to 15 minutes before or 1 hour before. The new bedtime feature comes with new sounds as well to jazz up bedtime and wake time alarms. Once you have saved your preferences, you will be able to see a short seven day history of your sleep. If you tap “More History” you will be brought into the Health app where you can explore your sleep history by day, week, month or even year.

For those users that use iOS as an alarm clock, consider this to be a major upgrade. It isn’t a full blown sleep tracker as many fitness trackers offer, but it is an easy way to track sleep hours and set up bedtime reminders. How great would this be for kid bedtimes??


If you would like to learn more about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.howtogeek.com

 

 

Turn Voicemail into Text with iOS 10

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Apple has always had a productive approach to voicemail, first with the visual listing of voicemails with the contact name, date and time attached, making it easy to browse past or go directly to the voicemail you would like to hear. The upgrade to iOS 10 takes this a little further, allowing for voicemail transcription, that can be shared or saved. When you have a voicemail you would like transcribed, open voicemail and select the voicemail you wish to be written. The voicemail should automatically start playing. If the person has just left the message, iOS will start the process automatically, showing a “Transcribing” message, to tell you what is taking place. Once the voicemail is transcribed, the written message will be displayed within the original voicemail, in other words in the visual list of voicemail. This could be helpful in those instances when raising a phone to your ear is not allowed, perhaps during a presentation, work meeting, event, important dinner, etc. The transcription of the voicemail might be a little off, but at least this gives a general idea as to why the person is calling, aka emergency or non emergency. This feature is currently considered a beta feature, therefore after transcription has taken place you will see a tiny typed question asking “Was this helpful?”, which Apple will use to decide if the feature will be a permanent one.

 


 

If you would like to learn more about the information presented in this blog post please visit : www.howtogeek.com