Tuesday, September 8, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Screen Recording in Big Sur Requires Admin Account

Nathaniel Strauss (tweet):

Two months into the beta cycle, Big Sur is still not education ready. Today marks the release of beta 5 and Apple has not implemented a way for standard users to enable screen recording. As a result they can’t share their screen with common video conferencing solutions like Webex, Zoom, Google Meet, and others. Imagine an online class where the teacher isn’t able to display a presentation or a student can’t show their work. During the largest shift to remote learning ever, that’s the future Apple delivered in beta 1, entirely missing the mark when it comes to how a large majority of their education customers use Macs. Apple has said they have plans to introduce ways for standard users to enable screen sharing, but as of beta 5 that’s not the case.

[…]

[July 22 was] the last time Apple has commented on screen recording access in Big Sur. No response through feedback assistant, enterprise support cases, or other community channels.

[…]

The general wisdom I always hear is filing feedback early in the beta cycle is better. My concern with screen recording in particular is we’ll get a solution in a late beta, it won’t meet the real needs of the user base, and then we’ll be stuck with it. If the solution ships in beta 6, there’s no time to provide feedback to improve the feature before GM. Considering Apple didn’t even realize this was a problem before we filed feedback, I can’t say I’m confident in them developing a solution internally with no feedback from K12 or other education institutions.

I don’t understand what problem Apple is solving by not allowing standard users to consent to record their screen.

Previously:

Update (2020-09-11): Alex Brooks:

I should start an ongoing thread of all the basic things that macOS Catalina makes impossible.

Today’s doozy: Go to present in meeting, cannot share screen in Google Meet because it requires local admin approval. Fab.

Nathaniel Strauss:

Screen recording access can be allowed by a standard user in Catalina. Problem is the setting is mixed in with admin only privileges and so confusing people think they can’t. The design is poorly laid out.

13 Comments

It's not just education workflows, it's also a problem for remote support products like TeamViewer and logmein. It's hard enough to talk someone through how to enable screen recording, and even then you still had to provide credentials to unlock sysprefs and grant teamviewer several privileges.

Providing remote support has been materially worse since Mojave (first requiring accessibility control) and then Catalina (screen recording permission). I get that surreptitious cursor and recording is bad, but can't Apple, I dunno, just whitelist certain devs?

They could.... (get ready for the rimshot) just have Notarized apps with those explicit functions whitelisted. *rimshot*

"Big Sur is still not education ready"

Newsflash Nathaniel Strauss -- Apple gave up on education like 10 years ago...

"Newsflash Nathaniel Strauss -- Apple gave up on education like 10 years ago..."

I don't think this comment is helpful. Schools are struggling right now with an urgent, unprecedented need for remote education during the global pandemic.

"I don’t understand what problem Apple is solving by not allowing standard users to consent to record their screen."

At least since Sierra, Apple has constantly crippled or removed useful features and introduced poorly designed, poorly tested or even user-hostile ones. Just a trivial example as an aside: anybody remembers the non-resizable Disk Utility window in El Capitan? I sure do, because my 2008 mac pro at the time had 6 internal hard drives, the list on the sidebar was overflowing, was not scrollable, so I simply could not see or manage all of my drives.

So to finally answer your question: Apple has stopped caring for the users a long time ago. They are no longer a `technology company` nowadays, but a hype-driven marketing machine. They may as well sell laundry detergent or sugary water (or streaming TV) for all they care... They know better how the user `is supposed` to use their devices, and for what. When users beg to differ, Apple just shrugs (at best) and then continues to do its own thing regardless. You don't like it? Tough luck... see if you like Windows better.

@Tudorminator They still haven’t brought back Disk Utility’s support for multiple windows. So it’s no longer possible to do more than one operation simultaneously, even though they can take hours.

Maybe I shouldn't have been so snarky, but come on, Apple really hasn't shown that they care about education / classroom uses of Macs in a LONG time (and even when they've pretended, it's been totally half-baked). Just as a simple example, Apple could write some software to allow iPhone cameras to be used as webcams on any Mac or Windows machine. Other companies have done it, it mostly works, but wouldn't a solution from Apple be more native and glitch-free. This would be an easy thing that they could do, I'm sure with a couple of engineers in less than 2 weeks, to actually help fill a need and foster some goodwill. Where is it? I mean they jumped right on the COVID tracking bandwagon without hesitation. Why haven't they done anything else to help fill the needs of people struggling with remote learning? That's something people actually need.

Just as a simple example, Apple could write some software to allow iPhone cameras to be used as webcams on any Mac or Windows machine. Other companies have done it, it mostly works, but wouldn’t a solution from Apple be more native and glitch-free.

They did add Continuity Camera a few releases back to snap individual photos. Going from that to video seems like a natural evolution.

I think this is more a case of Apple moving slowly, rather than them not caring.

This would be an easy thing that they could do, I’m sure with a couple of engineers in less than 2 weeks, to actually help fill a need and foster some goodwill.

I don’t think Apple can do any software product in “less than 2 weeks”, because they’re a massive corporation and you simply can’t move that way. Just the legal department alone (check for patent infringements, say) will probably need longer.

I mean they jumped right on the COVID tracking bandwagon without hesitation. Why haven’t they done anything else to help fill the needs of people struggling with remote learning? That’s something people actually need.

If your implication here is that COVID exposure notification isn’t “something people actually need”, I think most epidemiologists would beg to differ.

@Jeff Johnson
I respectfully agree with the original poster. Apple does not care about this market. I understand education needs good tools, but if the very, very, very expensive tools being used do not work, I would suggest the education community avoid them as much as possible.

Yes, easier said than done, but there is a reason Chromebooks started seeing such massive adoption in this space. They work better than Macs for all of these things. (Don't get me started about the unsuitability of iOS devices, which pains me as a reasonably early adopter and then abandoner --made up word alert-- of the platform.

Ps Yes, Apple needs to figure this out, but to be fair, it is still a beta, all recent evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, Apple could fix the problem before launch.

"I respectfully agree with the original poster. Apple does not care about this market."

The issue isn't whether Apple cares about the market. The issue is whether the dismissive "Newsflash" response was warranted. We were all suddenly thrust into a situation we weren't prepared for: mass work from home and school from home, due to the global pandemic. Students are forced to use whatever they have at home, which may be a Mac. The school systems didn't really have a choice in this matter.

Yes, easier said than done, but there is a reason Chromebooks started seeing such massive adoption in this space. They work better than Macs for all of these things.

Ehhhhhh. The main reason is that they’re dirt cheap.

Them being easy to configure is icing on that cake.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment