Archive for September 22, 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Forbidden Controls in Catalyst’s Mac Idiom

Peter Steinberger:

With macOS 11 Big Sur, Catalyst learned a new presentation mode. Next to the classic mode where Catalyst apps are scaled to 77% and retain their iPad-look, there’s a new Optimize Interface for Mac mode that doesn’t use scaling and replaces various UIKit controls with AppKit counterparts.


Back to our crash - things make a bit more sense now. There’s no great equivalent for UIStepper in AppKit, so the folks at Apple decided it’s better to throw an exception if this control is used. FB8727188

The problem: It’s not documented which controls are disallowed, and even more problematic, some controls are allowed, but customizations are disallowed.


“New Look” Outlook Shipping in October

Tom Warren (also: MacRumors):

Microsoft has been testing a new Outlook for Mac design over the past year, and it’s now ready to roll out to all users next month. The new design includes Microsoft’s Fluent icons, rounded corners, and changes to make the email app ready for macOS Big Sur.

Microsoft’s Ribbon interface has been removed, and everything looks a lot cleaner. It’s a hybrid of Apple’s macOS design and Microsoft’s own Fluent design.


While the design is the main change, there are some significant changes that won’t be as visually obvious. Microsoft is bringing its sync technology that’s used on Outlook for iOS and Android and Windows Mail to this version of Outlook for Mac. It means Office 365,, and even Google accounts will sync faster thanks to Microsoft’s cloud services.

However, it still lacks support for regular mail accounts (IMAP, Exchange, and POP), rules, AppleScript, and more. Presumably, you’ll still be able to switch off the new version within the app.

Scam Apps and Fleeceware

Dan Goodin:

Posing as apps for entertainment, wallpaper images, or music downloads, some of the titles served intrusive ads even when an app wasn’t active. To prevent users from uninstalling them, the apps hid their icon, making it hard to identify where the ads were coming from. Other apps charged from $2 to $10 and generated revenue of more than $500,000, according to estimates from SensorTower, a smartphone-app intelligence service.

The apps came to light after a girl found a profile on TikTok that was promoting what appeared to be an abusive app and reported it to Be Safe Online, a project in the Czech Republic that educates children about online safety. Acting on the tip, researchers from security firm Avast found 11 apps, for devices running both iOS and Android, that were engaged in similar scams.

Many of the apps were promoted by one of three TikTok users, one of whom had more than 300,000 followers. A user on Instagram was also promoting the apps.


Last month, researchers discovered more than 1,200 iPhone and iPad apps that were snooping on URL requests users made within an app. This violates the App Store’s terms of service.

Jagadeesh Chandraiah (in April, via Nick Heer, Slashdot):

In this latest round of research, we found more than 30 apps we consider fleeceware in Apple’s official App Store.

Many of these apps charge subscription rates like $30 per month or $9 per week after a 3- or 7-day trial period.


Many of the fleeceware apps we see are advertised within the App Store as “free” apps, which puts the apps at odds with section 2.3.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which require developers to make sure their “app description, screenshots, and previews clearly indicate whether any featured items, levels, subscriptions, etc. require additional purchases.”

Since iOS already requires apps to be sandboxed, the real protective value of the App Store is that in theory it won’t contain these sort of deceptive apps. But, for whatever reason, many of them seem to get through App Review and stay on the store for long periods of time.


Update (2020-09-28): Simeon:

I’m baffled that Apple allows this. There are colouring books selling $600/yr subscriptions. They’ve tricked my parents who swore off paying for apps afterwards

It’s doing obvious damage to customer trust in the App Store, and it’s bad for every developer’s business

Rosyna Keller:

Despite what the article, headline, and lead graphic say, the source article clearly states the hidden app icons and full screen ads only apply to Android as Android allows apps to set those properties. iOS doesn’t.

Secrets Remote Keychain

Paulo Andrade:

With this update you can now use Secrets on your iOS device as a remote keychain for filling Logins and Credit Cards on a browser running on another machine, such as on Windows or Linux.


With the updated browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome you can now pair one or more iOS devices to serve as a remote keychain. The pairing works by simply reading a QR Code from the extensions’s options page.

Then, when you get to a page with a login or payment form, you just click the Secrets toolbar icon on your browser and a request is sent to your paired devices via push notifications.

I could also see this being useful on a secondary Mac, where you may not want to or be able to store your database locally.


Repairing by Replacing

Luke Tully (via Hacker News):

To be clear, the vast majority of my experiences with Apple Support have been pretty good. Sometimes it takes a little bit of work, but I’ve generally ended up better off than before with few exceptions. This was the single most dissapointing interaction I’ve had with any tech support rep as far as I can recall. The numbers Joe suggested in this conversation are either entirely fabricated, or belong to the cost of replacing the entire machine if its experienced catastrophic damage. But, after clarifying numerous times about what the numbers actually represent and comparing to previous repair bills for the same issue, my belief is that the rep used a false and obscured repair order to persuade me to replace my girlfriend’s minimally damaged screen with a new computer.

For decades, my experience with Apple hardware was that it was very reliable. Sometimes an issue would crop up in the first year or so and get fixed under warranty. After that, it would essentially keep working “forever.”

Lately, I’ve had bad luck, with issues appearing after AppleCare has expired. My iPad mini and iPhone SE both swelled so that the display separated from the case. Apple’s support advised that this was probably due to the battery, so the devices were not safe to use. But the costs to repair, even though I consider this a defect rather than user error, were almost as much as buying a new device.

The display of my Mac, which has never left my desk, is also detaching from the case. I doubt there is a safety issue, though, so I just keep using it.