Archive for February 9, 2021

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

macOS 11.2.1

Juli Clover:

According to Apple’s release notes, macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 addresses an issue that could prevent the battery from charging in some 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.

Juli Clover:

According to an Apple security support document, the bug, CVE-2021-3156, was addressed in the update by updating to sudo version 1.9.5p2. Apple has also fixed the bug in Supplemental Updates made available for macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and macOS Mojave 10.14.6.

Mr. Macintosh:

A Full Installer of MacOS Big Sur 11.2.1 is not available yet.

Neither is a downloadable update or combo update.


Update (2021-03-15): Howard Oakley:

The most infuriating point about the failure of the 11.2.1 update is that it occurs at the last moment before the update should be installed: in order for that to begin, on an M1 Mac (but not Intel models), the user has to enter their password. That’s when it falls apart, because no matter what you enter, the installer refuses to accept it, shaking its dialog and refusing to progress every single time.


Because of another bug in the 11.2 installation process, which leads to the copying of the existing user as well as creation of a new account, I’ve tried updating from each of those two accounts, with identical failures.

The workaround which I tested when trying to install 11.2 was to run the full Big Sur installer.

Apple’s Supply Chain

Austin Carr and Mark Gurman (tweet, via Josh Centers, MacRumors):

Biden’s question put Cook, who’d become Apple’s CEO the previous August, in an awkward position. He was the architect of the strategy to outsource Apple’s production to China, a trend of increasing concern for the Obama administration. But Cook was also, as it turned out, extremely effective at deflecting political pressure. He was certainly more diplomatic than his old boss. Obama once asked Jobs the same question, and Jobs’s characteristically blunt reply landed on the front page of the New York Times: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.” Cook, though, was smooth and noncombative—so much so, in fact, that Riccitiello can’t recall exactly what he said to Biden. By the end of that year, Cook announced a small yet politically significant shift. Apple, he said, would start making some Macs in the U.S.


Foxconn eventually moved on to other PC parts, which it produced in sprawling factories around Shenzhen, near component suppliers. By the time Cook joined Apple, these centralized factory hubs were far more efficient than anything in the U.S. Apple sold off a huge Colorado plant in 1996, and after Cook arrived, he temporarily cut its Ireland-based manufacturing workforce, closed what was then its only remaining American production line, in Elk Grove, Calif., and outsourced more and more production to China, starting with laptops and webcams. (The Elk Grove facility is now used for refurbishing and repairs.)


Jobs’s death two years later caused skeptics to predict Apple would stagnate without a steady stream of his inventions; in fact, the real challenge was keeping supply up in China. Operations managers were scrambling to buy enough computer-controlled milling machines and laser cutters. Every millimeter was scrutinized for savings—as were even the seemingly least consequential parts. Three people familiar with the company’s supply chain say there was an Apple employee whose job consisted of negotiating the cost of glue.

iOS 14.5: Setting the Default Music Service

Jay Peters (tweet):

But users who have already installed the beta discovered another great feature: you’ll be able to select a third-party default music service when you ask to play a song using Siri — including Spotify (via MacRumors).

When you ask Siri to play a song on iOS 14.5, you may be prompted to select which app you want to use to play it, according to a screenshot shared on Reddit.

Next, how about supporting Google Maps and Alexa?


Update (2021-03-11): Sarah Perez:

Apple has clarified that the iOS 14.5 beta is not actually allowing users to select a new default music service, as has been reported.


Apple also points out there’s no specific setting in iOS where users can configure a “default” music service, the way there is with email and browser apps.


More broadly, the feature is an attempt to help Siri to learn the listening apps you want to use for different types of audio content — not just music.

Benjamin Mayo:

Imagine instead that if upon opening Spotlight, Siri would launch the app it thought I wanted immediately. It would be infuriating. When it got it right, it would be cool but it won’t be able to get it right every time. These systems are always going to make mistakes, so you can’t go all in on a feature like that. Suggestions or recommendations are about as far as you can go without being frustrating. Even if it is was correct 49 times out of 50, that one time it is wrong will mean you will never use it again.

This latest music app situation falls directly in that latter camp. Through this TechCrunch article, Apple is very determined to say that the app picker UI is only a guide for Siri rather than a strict default app setting.

Nick Heer:

It reminds me of that button in the Twitter app that allows you to toggle between an algorithmically sorted timeline and a reverse-chronological one. If you open the app often enough, it will usually stick with the last sorting mode you selected. But if you do not, it will revert to showing an algorithmic timeline. If you prefer reverse-chronological, it sucks.

It is a bit like if you went out to your car one morning and the seat and steering wheel were in a completely different position to the way you left it. It is uncomfortable. It is no longer yours.

Scammy WatchChat Competitors

WatchChat Alex (tweet, Dave Mark):

I have spent the last four years of my life working on my very successful app only to have it ruined by scam apps with very obvious fake reviews as well as false advertising claims that Apple does not take action against. I can literally prove they are fake but Apple refuses to take action for undisclosed reasons, allowing thousands of more people getting scammed by these apps day by day.


As this app has gained more traction, we see real people rating the app, visualized by the constant stream of 1–2 negative reviews per day. Once the bad reviews get too heavy on the app, the developer just buys more than 200 positive reviews on a single day.


On their review order, they forgot to change the subject from what they usually order reviews for. The fake reviews literally comment Instagram-related stuff on a WhatsApp app.


To make these fake reviews look legitimate, the scammers have scraped reviews of MY application.


The developer uses screenshots… my screenshots!


Remaining Issues New in Catalina

After staying on Mojave for an extra year due to the large number of issues with Catalina, I started using it on my main Mac with macOS 10.15.7. This post lists some of the problems I’ve run into that were not present in Mojave. These are user-facing bugs, not including the API bugs that I filed around the time Catalina was released. These are very unlikely to be fixed at this point, and it’s extra work to develop on Catalina and test on Big Sur, so I plan to upgrade to Big Sur soon. Xcode 12.5 will require it, but I’m hoping that a new version of SuperDuper will be released first.


Update (2021-02-19): See also: Reddit.