Archive for August 21, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Back to My Mac Dies With Mojave

Howard Oakley:

Apple has announced that its Back to My Mac feature will not be supported in macOS 10.14 Mojave, when it is released shortly.

In that announcement, it provides links to articles detailing the services which it recommends users change to instead. These are iCloud Drive for file sharing, accessing another Mac using built-in screen sharing, and managing your Mac remotely using Apple Remote Desktop (which costs £74.99 from the App Store, and hasn’t been updated since February 2017).

Colin Cornaby:

Back To My Mac created a virtual Bonjour group across all your remote devices. Useful for so many things. Besides being able to share screens you could SSH back into your home machine.

iCloud Drive is not at all a replacement. :(

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Back to my Mac’s removal just underscores that there is no place for anything at Apple that isn’t 1) iCloud-based, and 2) iOS-compatible. This is a running theme; everything else is on borrowed time


Screens (iOS and Mac) and Screens Connect are a great alternative to Back to My Mac. In fact, Screens Connect essentially behaves like the soon to be defunct service; it manages to open a port on your router and sends that information to our server. Then, Screens retrieves that information in order to connect to your Mac remotely.

Screens Connect starts at boot time so it makes sure that your Mac remains reachable, even if no user has logged in.

I have also had good luck with TeamViewer.

Update (2018-08-22): Kevin Ballard:

Theory: Back To My Mac is going away because without a Bonjour sleep proxy, you can’t wake up your home computer remotely. And without an AirPort Extreme you don’t have a Bonjour sleep proxy. So the death of the AirPort means BtMM doesn’t work well.

Previously: Apple Officially Discontinues AirPort Router Line.

Cabel Sasser:


Wil Shipley:

This is some epic level bullshit. Apple should be encouraging home servers instead of pulling their features one by one.


I can’t even parse the logic of the change from ‘back to my Mac is part of icloud services’ to ‘back to my Mac is ending; use iCloud’ because Apple is much quieter and vague about exactly what these services are anyway. It’s all mkting buzzwords I’ve never found personally useful

Meek Geek:

Another Mac feature bites the dust, with no decent replacement.

Back to My Mac’s integration with the Finder was the best. Access your Mac & hard drives from anywhere. Although flaky at times, it’s a life saver when you’re out and about.


Apple is killing Back To My Mac in favor of the Pro Subscription Plan. Just buy more iCloud storage and pay $80 for Apple Remote Desktop.

Most people don’t need it, so we should start charging extra for it. The new Apple.

John Gruber:

I’m not sure screen sharing and remote desktop access are adequate replacements.

See also: MacRumors.

Update (2018-08-23): Luc Vandal:

Is @screensvnc the first app being un-Sherlocked?

Previously: Removed in macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Update (2018-08-30): Glenn Fleishman:

I found Back to My Mac such an exciting proposition back then—and so complicated to get working just right with different routers and network setups—that I wrote a nearly 100-page book for the Take Control series just about Back to My Mac. (And a separate one about screen sharing!)


First, some good news: the loss of Back to My Mac doesn’t affect macOS’s built-in screen sharing, which you can still use over your LAN or invoke via Messages.


People who still need a Mac-to-Mac secure tunnel will have to look into more complicated solutions, like installing VPN server software on their Mac. That used to be an option with macOS Server, but Apple is removing the VPN server in future versions (see “Apple to Deprecate Many macOS Server Services,” 26 January 2018).

Update (2019-05-31): Juli Clover:

Apple today announced in an updated support document that the Back to My Mac service is being eliminated from all versions of macOS on July 1, 2019.

Forthcoming MacBook and Mac mini Updates

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu (tweet):

Apple Inc. will release a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later this year[…]


Apple is also planning the first upgrade to the Mac mini in about four years. […] The computer has been favored because of its lower price, and it’s popular with app developers, those running home media centers, and server farm managers. For this year’s model, Apple is focusing primarily on these pro users, and new storage and processor options are likely to make it more expensive than previous versions, the people said.

This sounds kind of like the xMac, which could be a good thing. I’m not sure that a low-cost modular Mac remains an important niche. But I do hope the new MacBook is priced a lot lower.

Previously: On the Sad State of Macintosh Hardware, Mac mini Turning 3.5 Years Old

Update (2018-08-22): John Gruber:

A new MacBook at the $999 price point and a new Mac Mini are both genuine news. But there’s no way around the fact that this report raises more questions about both products than it supplies answers. Is the new MacBook an updated MacBook Air with a retina display and smaller bezels, or the existing 12-inch MacBook with a lower price? Or is it the no-touch-bar MacBook Pro with a lower price? Or something else entirely? We don’t know, and this report doesn’t say. How can Gurman know these things are imminent but not know the details about them? Or maybe he does know the details but can’t say? At a meta level I find this fascinating.

Michael Simon:

But if Apple is indeed giving the Mac mini a reimagined revamp, there are a few things it absolutely needs to include if Apple hopes to return it to its glory days.

Ben Bajarin:

On the rumor of a lower price Mac, see this article I wrote for iMore three years ago outlining how the Mac could eat into PC market share in a big way.

Update (2018-08-23): John Gruber (tweet):

But the more I think about it, the more I think that something along the lines of the “just put a retina display in the MacBook Air” scenario seems the most likely. Nomenclaturally it makes no sense. The computer named just-plain “MacBook” should logically be the one that is the baseline best-selling model for the masses. The one named “Air” should be the one that is as thin and lightweight as is feasible. But today we’re three years into the era when the just-plain MacBook is the radically thin and light model, and the Air is the best-selling baseline model that isn’t really any thinner or lighter than the Pro models. Well, so what? We drive on parkways and park on driveways and no one is confused.

See also: Hacker News.

Update (2018-08-30): Brian Stucki:

Let it be known: I was there when the original Mac mini was announced, have been promoting it constantly for 13 years, and have purchased 1000s of them. Most of my career has been built on this box. When the new one arrives, I’d like to be there.

Stefan Constantine:

Curious to see what this so called MacBook Air refresh is going to cost, because stuff like this makes recommending Apple (or even Windows) laptops hard.

Juli Clover:

Intel this afternoon officially debuted its new eighth-generation U-series “Whiskey Lake” and Y-series “Amber Lake” chips, which are designed for use in thin, light notebooks like the MacBook and the MacBook Air.

See also: The Talk Show, Accidental Tech Podcast.

Update (2018-09-08): Riccardo Mori:

So, what I’m thinking is that Apple could equip this purported low-cost MacBook Air successor with a ‘good enough’ Retina display, maybe a high-density display that’s not as full-featured as the one in the MacBook Pro line; it could lack wide colour gamut support, for example.

Or, Apple could produce a MacBook using less premium materials, while maintaining the thin-and-light design. I’m insisting on this aspect because, firstly, I see a lot of competitors manufacture decent laptops that feel nice, are affordable, and retain a certain design quality without necessarily being assembled with costly materials.

Update (2018-10-19): Joe Rossignol:

The latest Mac mini, introduced on October 16, 2014, is four years old as of this week.


The good news is that the long wait for an update may be coming to an end, as two reliable sources in Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Apple scoopster Mark Gurman both expect a new Mac mini to be released later this year.

Kuo didn’t have a lot of information to share on the Mac mini, but he said a processor upgrade is expected. Gurman revealed more ambitious plans, claiming that the Mac mini is set to receive a “professional-focused upgrade,” with new storage and processor options likely to make it “more expensive” than previous models.

Ilja A. Iwas:

Doesn’t sound good. I want an entry level Mac with a good price/performance ratio, not another overpriced ‘Pro’-Mac.

Meek Geek:

Mac mini 2014 was a downgrade:

- Server models with 2 drives & quad core CPUs axed

- No removable SO-DIMM RAM slots: BTO at Apple’s RAM prices

- Removable bottom cover gone: Hard to DIY upgrade hard drives

- Radeon GPU model gone

In effect, 6 years since a decent refresh.

Update (2018-10-29): Brian Stucki (tweet):

To celebrate this great machine, I thought it’d be fun to put together a timeline of highlights from the last fourteen years.

Changing the Year When Setting the iOS Date

Chris Nebel:

TIL that iOS, at least as of 11.4.1, does not let you directly change the year when setting the date and time manually — there’s simply a single scroller for the date.

This is problematic when you run the battery down completely: the system goes to the Unix epoch, 0 GMT 1 January 1970, and then won’t connect to the time server because it thinks the certificate is invalid. So you must manually set the date, and must scroll a lot.

I’ve never run into this particular issue, but I run into little things like this all the time on iOS.

Logitech’s “POWERED” 7.5W Wireless Charging Stand

Juli Clover:

Unfortunately, it’s priced at $70, which is expensive and can be hard to justify when there are so many wireless charging options on Amazon that are in the $20 to $40 range.


With many of the flat wireless charging pads, I have to shift my iPhone around to get it in just the right spot for charging. I’ve run into instances where I think the iPhone is charging and it’s not, or it starts charging and then gets bumped and knocked out of the proper position, something that’s impossible with the POWERED because the U-shaped cradle guides iPhone placement.

If you have similar issues with flat wireless chargers, the POWERED may be worth checking out because it solves a lot of the pain points that come with wireless charging.

Tim Hardwick:

Today’s DigiTimes report also claims Apple will use the September event to announce the “launch schedule” for its wireless AirPower charger, costing in the region of $160-$190. Apple previewed its multi-device AirPower charging mat at its iPhone X event last September, and confirmed that it will be released at some point in 2018, but it has yet to reveal how much it will cost. An earlier rumor citing “industry insiders” has suggested a price point of around $149.

Previously: AirPower Status and Removing the Lightning Port.

Podcast Ads, Business, Overcast, and Apple

The Wolf Den:

Marco Arment, developer of podcast app Overcast, joins Lex on the Wolf Den. Lex and Marco discuss pretty much everything going on in podcasting today. The two debate the technical complications of dynamic ad insertion and how it affects both podcasters and podcast apps. The two also discuss Marco’s history with Midroll in its early days, and theorize what might happen if Apple ever exited the podcast space.

As someone who listens to podcasts but doesn’t follow the business side that closely, I found this very interesting.

Previously: Apple Removes Infowars From Podcast Directory.

Update (2018-12-03): The Menu Bar:

We are joined by Marco Arment for a candid discussion about the state of podcasting in 2018, why podcasts should — and probably will — remain decentralized, why we should always be afraid, the problems with AR and VR, and we wrap with some advice for people who want to podcast.

Previously: Podcasts, Analytics, and Centralization.