Archive for February 2, 2021

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Chrome Browser Extension for iCloud Passwords

Tim Hardwick:

Apple has released an iCloud password extension for Google’s Chrome browser on Windows that allows iCloud Keychain passwords to be used on PCs.

Called simply “iCloud Passwords,” the extension allows users to access passwords in Google Chrome that have been generated in Apple’s Safari browser. It also enables iCloud syncing of passwords generated in Chrome, making them available on Apple devices, too.

Dan Moren:

As I wrote just this week in Macworld, Apple has used a number of strategies to encourage users to switch to its products, among them, the “ice water in hell” approach of adapting some of its own software to rival platforms. That’s at least part of the reasoning behind Apple’s iCloud Keychain extension for Chrome, which extends the password manager feature from its own ecosystem to Chrome users on Windows.

But not, interestingly, to Chrome users on the Mac, even though the extension can be installed in that version of Google’s browser. However, according to the text on the extension’s page, it appears to be designed to specifically work with iCloud for Windows, so it doesn’t actually do anything on the Mac beyond providing a broken interface.

iOS 14.5: Unlock an iPhone While Wearing a Mask

Juli Clover (tweet):

In iOS 14.5, there’s a new option to unlock an iPhone with Face ID and an Apple Watch paired together, with the Apple Watch’s authentication providing an extra layer of security.

If you’re wearing an unlocked Apple Watch and use Face ID as you normally would, the iPhone will unlock after a partial face scan. When the unlock happens, you’ll feel a haptic buzz and will receive a notification on the Apple Watch informing you that the unlocking procedure was successful, similar to how it works when unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch.

This is the best reason I’ve seen to buy an Apple Watch.

John Gruber (tweet):

I jumped on this beta to try this feature out, and it works great. Pretty much just like the excellent longstanding feature that lets you log into your Mac automatically if you’re wearing an Apple Watch — it just works.


My understanding is that this feature was a lot trickier to implement than you might think, because of the fact that you can also use your iPhone to unlock your watch. The “chain of trust” was originally designed to work in one direction — from your iPhone to your watch.

John Gruber:

I would love to know more, but I do know they’ve been working on this all year. Think about how serious it is that you can unlock your phone from a remote device of any kind. High stakes to get it right.

Joe Cieplinski:

So the new unlock FaceID with your watch thing works on unlocking the home screen and revealing home screen notifications. But doesn’t work for Apple Pay, FaceID unlocking individual apps, and so on. Makes sense, but good to know.


Update (2021-02-05): Benjamin Mayo:

Even for a first beta, it works really well. It’s fast. Written down, it sounds analogous to the macOS feature, but it feels very different when you try it.

Unlocking your Mac with your watch is comparatively sluggish.

Update (2021-02-22): John Gruber:

Because it’s a two-step process (step #1 first, then step #2), it does take a bit longer than Face ID without a mask (which is really just step #1). But it works more than fast enough to be a pleasant convenience experience. Regular Face ID is so fast you forget it’s even there; “Unlock With Apple Watch” is slow enough that you notice it’s there, but fast enough that it isn’t a bother.

It’s important to note that in step #2, it works with any face wearing a mask. It’s not trying to do a half-face check that your eyes and forehead look like you, or anything like that. My iPhone will unlock if my wife or son is the face in front of my iPhone — but only if they’re wearing a mask, and only if my Apple Watch is very close to the phone. I’d say less than 1 meter — pretty much about what you would think the maximum distance would be between a watch on one wrist and an iPhone in the other hand.


Also, if your Apple Watch is in Sleep mode (the bed icon in WatchOS’s Control Center), the feature does not work.

Update (2021-04-16): Joel Breckinridge Bassett:

I think performance will vary, a lot, depending on the user, the mask and the environment. For some, perhaps the majority, it will be enough. I find it fails me too often on the daily commute and in stores, usually at the very moment I need to launch dPOINT or dPay apps at checkout. I also get the feeling that Apple Watch battery life takes a hit too, but take it with a grain of salt along with my impressions.

Xcode 12.5 Beta


Xcode 12.5 Beta requires a Mac running macOS Big Sur 11 or later.


The Reveal Build Products Folder item in the Product menu reveals the build products directory in Finder.


Code completion is more reliable in expressions that contain errors, and in expressions that are ambiguous without additional context.


Profiling XCTest with Instruments now automatically starts the recording, without a click on the record button.

This would be great if it works, but profiling Mac unit tests has been broken for me for years.

Incremental compilation is faster in many cases. When you change code within the body of a struct, class, enum, prototype, or extension, Swift now recompiles far fewer files in that module than before.

Implicit member expressions now support chains of member accesses.

Swift includes more checks when bridging data from Objective-C. In particular, the runtime library aborts your program with a suitable error message if it detects a non-nullable pointer that contains a null value.

Property wrappers are now supported on local variables.

Functions, subscripts, and initializers may now have more than one variadic parameter, as long as all parameters that follow variadic parameters are labeled.

These are from Swift 5.4.

Antoine van der Lee:

While developing apps or framework it’s common to refactor a piece of code. Although often temporary, it’s common to run into failing tests while the code is still being refactored. Up until we could use XCTExpectFailure I would disable those tests and only run them once I expected them to succeed.

In other words, there are scenarios in which you realise a failure is expected. Without letting Xcode know this is true, your tests would report a failure and your CI would no longer report green.

Another benefit is that Xcode will report a test as failed once an expected failure does not occur. You can see Xcode as a guard to make sure your tests match upon current expectations.


macOS 11.2

Juli Clover:

According to Apple’s release notes, macOS Big Sur 11.2 addresses several bugs, such as an issue that could cause external external displays to show a black screen when connected to an M1 Mac mini using an HDMI to DVI converter and a problem that caused iCloud Drive to disable when turning off the iCloud Drive Desktop & Documents Folders option.


There are no new release notes for this software update.

I’ve seen first-hand that the Mail bug where messages “moved” by rules bounce back to the inbox has not been fixed. I’ve not yet heard the status of these other serious Mail bugs that were present on macOS 10.15.0 through 11.1:

In the absence of release notes or responses to bug reports, I’m assuming that they are not fixed.

Howard Oakley:

Details of security fixes included in this and the concomitant Security Updates are here. They include a fix to a bug in APFS in Big Sur found by Thomas Tempelmann, 2-3 bugs in Crash Reporter, nine bugs in ImageIO and still more in Model I/O, and three in the Big Sur kernel. However, there’s no mention that I can see of the old bug which might still be lurking in sudo.

It does look like the ImageIO crashing bug that I filed is fixed.

Mr. Macintosh:

Starting with macOS Big Sur, Combo and Delta update pkg’s aka packages are not available as standalone downloads.


Installing this package will put the full “Install macOS Big” in your applications folder.

See also: the IPSW files and open source release.


Update (2021-02-08): I’ve now received multiple reports of Mail data loss on macOS 11.2.