Archive for October 17, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Erasing Touch Bar Data

Apple (via Zac Hall):

You can clear any information stored by the Touch Bar before you sell or give away your MacBook Pro.

First, start up from macOS Recovery: Hold down Command-R on your keyboard immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, or immediately after your Mac begins to restart.

When the macOS Utilities window appears, choose Utilities > Terminal in the menu bar. Type this command in Terminal:

xartutil --erase-all

Update (2017-10-19): Stephen Hackett:

When I first saw this, I assumed this has to do with the fingerprint information stored in the Secure Enclave. I rebooted into macOS Recovery, ran the command and rebooted again. After the restart, my Touch ID information had been wiped from the machine[…]

Third Victory for VirnetX in FaceTime Patent Case

Joe Mullin:

An order unsealed Friday (PDF) reveals that, not only did a federal judge award VirnetX the full $302 million jury verdict that it won last year, but the judge tacked on $41.3 million in enhanced damages and $96 million in costs, attorneys’ fees, and interest. In all, Apple has been ordered to pay a staggering $439.7 million to VirnetX because its VPN on Demand and FaceTime features were found to infringe VirnetX patents.


Schroeder said enhanced damages were warranted because of Apple’s repeated attempts to stay the litigation due to reviews at the US Patent Office and how the company sought “to inject evidence of the proceedings into the trial, even after receiving adverse rulings from the Court,” Schroeder wrote. He also ruled that Apple’s continued infringement after the first verdict in 2012 could not be justified and therefore must be considered willful.


Apple also created conflicts on the eve of trial, by hiring a jury consultant who used to work for VirnetX during the first trial, as well as a former VirnetX appellate counsel. Apple’s “failure to ensure that its consultant actually had no conflicts unnecessarily complicated the trial,” and the company’s decision to do so warrants the payment of attorneys’ fees related to the third trial, Schroeder held.

Previously: After Patent Loss, Apple Makes FaceTime Worse.

Update (2019-01-18): Cyrus Farivar:

On Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple’s efforts to overturn a 2016 verdict that imposed $302 million in damages. That figure has since risen to encompass enhanced damages, interest, and more. Many would dub the Nevada-based VirnetX a “patent troll,” as it has no meaningful source of income outside of patent litigation.

Update (2021-01-18): Juli Clover:

Apple has not been successful in reducing the amount of money that it owes VirnetX in patent infringement fees, with the Cupertino company today losing an appeal that would have vacated or reduced a $502.8 million award.


Apple must pay the original $502.8 million that was awarded to VirnetX in October 2020, and combined with a prior $454 million award, the payments, future royalties, and interest could result in Apple paying VirnetX more than $1.1 billion.

Google Pixel 2

Dieter Bohn (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Of course, neither the Pixel 2 nor the Pixel 2 XL are made out of plastic. They're made out of Gorilla Glass and aluminum, just like every other high-end phone these days.

But Google coated all that aluminum with a textured finish that hides most of the antenna lines and also makes the phones easier to grip. Google took what could have been a visually impressive design and covered it up in the name of ergonomics. It literally made a metal phone feel like a plastic one. It chose function over form.

Cupertino, please start your photocopiers.

Previously: My iPhone 6s and iOS 9 Experience.

How iCloud Drive Can Break Time Machine Backups

Howard Oakley:

So the error which was breaking these attempts to back up was the result of a source file having the same name as a file which had already been backed up on that occasion – something which should be impossible in HFS+, which does not permit two files in the same folder to have the same name and version. However, in this case the file causing the problem is not stored locally on an HFS+ volume, but in the user’s iCloud Drive, which is reported as ~/Library/Mobile Documents/.

I have no idea as to whether that particular file has a problem, but there is nothing that the user or I can do to fix issues like this in iCloud Drive. The best workaround, then, is for them to add iCloud Drive to their Time Machine exclusion list, using the Time Machine pane.


One possible explanation of this problem is that the files causing the errors have been written to iCloud Drive from iOS running case-sensitive APFS, and that iCloud Drive has not enforced compatibility with HFS+ naming. This would then mean that Time Machine’s backup would try to write two files with case-insensitive names which were deemed to be identical.

Presumably, case-sensitive HFS+ on iOS could cause the same problem. Assuming that Time Machine is copying the locally cached iCloud Drive files, and not directly accessing iCloud Drive, I don’t understand how the “duplicate” files ended up in his home folder, though, unless he’s not using regular case-insensitive HFS+ (or APFS).