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TidBITS: Apple News for the Rest of Us



The oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet, TidBITS brings you the Apple Macintosh, iPhone, iPad, and iPod news, reviews, tips, and commentary that matters. Join us each week for audio versions of award-winning coverage from



Published: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:04:10 EST

Last Build Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:04:10 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 TidBITS Publishing Inc.
 



Apple Releases iOS 11.2.1 and tvOS 11.2.1 to Fix HomeKit Vulnerability

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:32:11 EST

Apple has released small iOS and tvOS updates to properly fix a significant HomeKit vulnerability.

 

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External Link: Former Exec: Facebook Is Ripping the Social Fabric of Society

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 08:15:02 EST

Chamath Palihapitiya is the latest former Facebook executive to call the company out, saying at a recent Stanford appearance: “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” and expressing “tremendous guilt” for his participation. Palihapitiya certainly doesn't mince words: “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works… No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.” Palihapitiya, who rose to the position of vice president for user growth at Facebook, appears to have struck a nerve, since the company made the rare move of defending itself, saying “When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world. Facebook was a very different company back then and as we have grown we have realised how our responsibilities have grown too.” It's interesting that Facebook doesn’t deny Palihapitiya’s criticisms!

 

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AirPort Base Station Firmware Updates 7.6.9 and 7.7.9

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:39:54 EST

Patches the KRACK exploit for AirPort models with 802.11n Wi-Fi and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. (Free)

 

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The iMac Pro Arrives on December 14th

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:34:53 EST

The iMac Pro is almost here, and the first impressions from early reviews are solid, but don’t expect to be able to upgrade this professional machine.

 

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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 11 December 2017

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:14:24 EST

Notable software releases this week include MarsEdit 4.0.1, Firefox 57.01, and Slack for Mac 3.0.

 

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ExtraBITS for 11 December 2017

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:14:04 EST

In ExtraBITS this week, Apple is buying the Shazam audio-identification app, the Ai.Type keyboard for iOS and Android has leaked the data of over 31 million users, Apple’s ban on app templates is hurting small businesses, Apple has patched a HomeKit vulnerability, and the iPhone X’s reliance on new gestures has proved to be a complex topic.

 

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External Link: Apple Buys the Shazam Audio-identification App

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:57:47 EST

Apple has confirmed that it is purchasing the popular Shazam app, which identifies songs, TV shows, movies, and ads by their audio signatures. Apple reportedly paid about $400 million for the company and said that it has “exciting plans in store” for Shazam. You can already ask Siri “What’s playing?” to identify audio with Shazam, so it’s unclear what additional integration Apple has in mind.

 

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DealBITS Drawing: Win a Copy of Swift Publisher 5

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:51:22 EST

If you’re looking for an easier way to create standard print pieces, check out this week’s DealBITS drawing for a chance to win a copy of BeLight Software’s Swift Publisher 5.

 

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External Link: Ai.Type Keyboard for iOS and Android Leaks User Data

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 10:16:02 EST

The third-party keyboard company Ai.Type has inadvertently leaked data from over 31 million iOS and Android users, including names, phone numbers, and information associated with social media profiles. Unfortunately, because many third-party keyboards need full access to your data, it’s not particularly surprising that one of them would have been hacked or, as in this case, accidentally revealed user information. If you use Ai.Type, you might want to delete it now, and if you rely instead on other third-party keyboards to which you’ve granted full access, consider the potential problems if they were to leak data as well.

 

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External Link: Apple’s Ban on App Templates Is Hurting Small Businesses

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:58:26 EST

In June 2017, Apple updated its App Store rules to prohibit templated or generated apps, a move that seemed to be aimed at reducing spam apps. Now Apple is warning app template makers who serve small businesses — restaurants, fitness studios, and more — that it will start rejecting their apps on 1 January 2018. App templates and generators are used by small businesses who lack the resources to develop their own apps from scratch. Unfortunately, some of these app makers are already having to shut their doors due to Apple’s change in rule enforcement. Apple’s move has drawn the attention of Representative Ted Lieu (D, CA), who has asked the company to reconsider.

 

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MarsEdit 4.0.1

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 20:10:50 EST

Major new release for the blog editor brings a refined new look, an improved editor, and enhanced WordPress support. ($49.95 new, free update, 14.5 MB)

 

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Firefox 57.01

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 10:10:34 EST

Provides speed enhancements, a revamped user interface, and improved memory usage. (Free, 52.5 MB)

 

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Slack for Mac 3.0

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 00:10:20 EST

Improves speed and memory usage when working with multiple workspaces. (Free, 71 MB)

 

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External Link: HomeKit Vulnerability Discovered, Already Patched

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 05:35:36 EST

Zac Hall of 9to5Mac discovered a vulnerability in HomeKit, Apple’s home automation framework, that could allow unauthorized control of accessories like smart locks and garage door openers. The good news is that Apple has already closed the security hole on the server side, so your devices are no longer vulnerable. Unfortunately, Apple’s server-side fix also prevents you from giving remote access to shared users. A future update to iOS should eliminate the vulnerability and restore full functionality.

 

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How to Use Apple Pay Cash for Person-to-Person Transactions

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 10:35:08 EST

Months after iOS 11 was released, Apple has finally pulled back the curtains on person-to-person Apple Pay transactions. We explain how to set up and use Apple Pay Cash.

 

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watchOS 4.2 Adds Apple Pay Cash and Moistens HomeKit

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 14:19:28 EST

In keeping watchOS in sync with iOS, Apple has released watchOS 4.2 with support for Apple Pay Cash, HomeKit sprinklers and faucets, and a workout type for downhill snow sports.

 

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macOS 10.13.2 Fixes Obscure Bugs and Security Vulnerabilities

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:13:55 EST

After last week’s emergency software updates, Apple has released macOS 10.13.2, which we hope will be unremarkable. But you still might want to hold off for a few days, since the fixes are minor.

 

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Amazon Prime Video Comes to Apple TV

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 05:29:52 EST

Yes, it’s finally here! The Amazon Prime Video app has finally appeared on the Apple TV! Here’s how to sign in and use it to watch both free video available to Amazon Prime subscribers and any movies or TV shows you’ve purchased from Amazon.

 

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tvOS 11.2 Adds Sports to the TV App, Advanced Settings for Apple TV 4K

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 14:04:48 EST

tvOS 11.2 introduces some new features for sports watchers and a few welcome tweaks for the Apple TV 4K.

 

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External Link: iPhone X Reveals the Pros and Cons of Gestures

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:02:41 EST

The most radical interface change on the iPhone X is the disappearance of the familiar Home button, which frees up a lot of space for a larger display. But the loss of the Home button means that Apple had to replace its functions with a variety of new gestures. Raluca Budiu of the Nielsen Norman Group explores the interface challenges that gestures face, including discoverability, memorability, and swipe ambiguity. Although Budiu identifies some areas where Apple’s approach with the iPhone X stumbles, she praises the Home line as a reminder of the iPhone X’s new gestural needs. If you have or are getting an iPhone X, it’s worth reading this piece to understand how it changes the iPhone user experience.

 

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TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 4 December 2017

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:51:13 EST

Notable software releases this week include Keyboard Maestro 8.0.4, BBEdit 12.0.2, BusyCal 3.2.5 and BusyContacts 1.2.6, LaunchBar 6.9.3, and Default Folder X 5.1.9.

 

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ExtraBITS for 4 December 2017

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:51:08 EST

In ExtraBITS this week, developer Marco Arment offers some suggestions for how Apple could improve the MacBook Pro, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reveals the messy development history of Apple’s forthcoming HomePod.

 

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Keyboard Maestro 8.0.4

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:59:46 EST

Improves the recently updated automation and clipboard utility. ($36 new, free update, 22.3 MB)

 

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BBEdit 12.0.2

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 22:19:23 EST

Provides a lengthy list of 90 improvements and bug fixes for the long-standing text editor. ($49.99 new, free update, 13.5 MB)

 

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Surprise! Apple Releases iOS 11.2 to Combat Reset Loop Bug

Sat, 02 Dec 2017 10:26:46 EST

Why did Apple release a major iOS update before dawn on a Saturday morning? Josh Centers explains. Also, Apple Pay Cash is now available. Kind of. Not really.

 

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iOS 11 Encrypted Backup Change Reduces Security, Boosts Data Safety

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:45:42 EST

In iOS 11, Apple has changed things so encrypted iTunes backups can now be restored with either the separate backup password or the device passcode. This move reduces security, but it also reduces the likelihood that users will forget the password and lose access to their backups.

 

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Amazon Still Promising Prime Video App for Apple TV in 2017

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 16:26:46 EST

Believe it or not, Amazon says that the Amazon Prime Video app for the Apple TV is still due to ship this year.

 

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The iPhone Upgrade Program: A Year in Review

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:07:10 EST

After one full cycle of living with Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, Josh Centers shares what he loves and hates about the service.

 

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Apple Pushes Updates to Block the Root Vulnerability Bug

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 12:27:04 EST

Less than 24 hours after the news about the root vulnerability bug broke on Twitter, Apple has pushed Security Update 2017-001 to address it on all Macs running macOS 10.13 High Sierra. If it hasn’t already installed itself on your Macs, we recommend installing it immediately.

 

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BusyCal 3.2.5 and BusyContacts 1.2.6

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 08:18:27 EST

Fixes persistent login prompts and a date/time formatting issue introduced in BusyCal 3.2.4. ($49.99 new for each, free update, 11.8/5.6 MB)

 

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