Archive for July 27, 2021

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Inside Apple’s CSAT Solutions Repair Depot

Chance Miller:

While some Apple products are repaired directly in Apple Stores, Apple contracts many of its Mac repairs to third-party providers, including CSAT Solutions based in Houston, Texas. A new report today from Insider today sheds light on what workers describe as a “sweatshop”-like conditions inside the Houston facility, with 13-hour days, broken air conditioning, and unrealistic expectations.


Technicians are said to be tasked with completing every repair in less than an hour, something that employees said is “impossible to sustain.”


Employees who spoke to Insider corroborated that Apple auditors do indeed visit CSAT Solutions, but that employees are instructed to “do certain tasks differently” when auditors are around to avoid any potential trouble.


Safari Frustrations

Perry Sun (via Hacker News):

With IE now out of the way, the distinction of ‘most-hated browser’ goes to Apple’s Safari – which all along had been a close second to IE.

In a similar vein, Safari has consistently lagged behind competing browsers in supporting modern web APIs and features, presenting considerable challenges for developers wanting to create products that work consistently across all the major browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari).

However, the annoyance with Safari gets deeper and more nuanced, which I’ll explain further below.

I guess it was about time for another one of these posts to gain traction. I don’t think the Internet Explorer analogy is entirely fair, but the frustrations for developers and users are real.

Not being a Web developer, I don’t have much of an opinion about which specific APIs or Web standards Safari should be supporting better. But my experience as a user is that its compatibility continues to decline. In the last month, I encountered problems using the American Express, Discover, and Subway sites. The same actions worked fine in both Chrome and Firefox. I’m also still seeing GPU-related crashes each day, though I’m told this may be fixed in Monterey. Apple is busy trying to reinvent tabs and toolbars, but I just want a browser that works.

Apple dragged their feet in adding support for PWAs in Safari, and when they finally did, limited the capabilities of a PWA so that native-like app functionality wouldn’t be possible, like notifications or a home screen icon shortcut – to name just a few of the many restrictions imposed by Apple.

I think iOS has supported home screen icons for Web pages since day one, so I guess this is referring to customizing the menu that you get when you long-press on an app icon.

The reason for Apple’s self-imposed limitations on PWA-related web APIs? They’ll tell you they’re for user privacy reasons, which may be valid in certain cases.

But most of us know the dominant reason is because fully-capable PWAs would compete against the iOS App Store – robbing Apple of 30% cut in revenue it rakes in when an app is purchased, or an in-app purchase is executed.

It’s not clear to me that the stuff that doesn’t work is primarily related to privacy. But, either way, I would like users to be able to opt into running fully-capable PWAs, especially since that’s the only release valve for all the apps that Apple won’t allow in the App Store.


Update (2021-07-28): Jen Simmons:

If you make websites, what do you need browser engineers to add to WebKit (Safari’s rendering engine)? What HTML, CSS, JS, Web APIs are missing — impacting your ability to get your job done. What do we most need to add / change / fix / invent to help you?

Dave Rupert:

When I think about Safari, it has a reputation as a little bit of a prima donna to the Pixar characters in my brain. From the humble -webkit-appearance: none to make buttons not look like trash on iOS to even more sophisticated tricks polyfilling scroll-behavior: smooth, every project has “one-offs” written inside it to appease Safari. It adds up to a non-zero amount of cognitive load that I maintain as a developer to support Safari.

Tim Perry (via Hacker News):

Most features that Safari hasn’t implemented have no hint of security, privacy or performance concerns, and they’ve been implemented in every other browser already.


The “they’re only ignoring bad features” argument is made weaker by Safari’s previous behaviour with such missing features, where many have eventually been implemented without objection, but years behind other browsers. If there was a good argument against these features, they should clearly never have been implemented.


These APIs are already part of the fabric of the web.


So, outright ignoring popular features will not stop them happening, and risks either giving all market share to Google, or all browsers being forced to follow Google’s standards. What the hell do we do instead?

Safari, Firefox and others need to make better proposals for these use cases.

Update (2021-07-30): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2021-08-04): Matt Birchler:

If you hate that Chrome has such a large market share and want Safari to do better, I really think you should be in the camp that urges Safari to adopt web standards faster than they do today. Normal people don’t care about web standards, but they do care if their websites don’t load correctly (why my wife ditched Safari, for what it’s worth) and developers do care how easy it is to work with your browser.

Update (2021-09-16): John Gruber:

I need to write about #2 (disallowing third party browser engines) one of these days. I’m with Apple on this, don’t think it’s about holding web apps back vs. native.

Michaela Merz:

Apple is monopolizing the web on #ios. They don’t even support all W3C standards. We are developing #pwa and believe me, they ARE holding a lot of rich web features back.

Chris Lacy:

With Web3, we’re at the onset of a new era of computing. Current App Store guidelines are prohibiting actions like NFT trading or accruing Brave’s BAT. This effectively blocks iOS apps from the next generation of computing. I don’t see how this helps iOS customers.

Safari 15 Changes in Beta 4

Juli Clover:

Apple today seeded the fourth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming two weeks after Apple released the third betas.

Juli Clover:

The fourth beta of iPadOS 15 that was released today introduces tweaks to Safari, with the [iPadOS] Safari layout now mirroring the updated layout that was introduced in macOS Monterey Beta 3.


While the separate tab bar is enabled automatically when updating, in the Safari section of Settings, there is an option to toggle on the original compact tab bar that merged everything together.

Federico Viticci:

There are more changes to Safari for iPhone in iOS 15 beta 4:

  • The share button is back in the tab bar
  • Reload button is back, next to domain name
  • Quicker access to bookmarks
  • One-tap Reader button appears on articles


  • The tab bar now automatically minimizes when interacting with buttons on websites.
  • There’s a new ‘docking’ behavior for the tab bar above the keyboard when you tap into search boxes on websites.

Overall, seems like Apple is adapting to websites after all.

Federico Viticci:

There’s a total of six different touch targets in the iOS 15 beta 4 tab bar in Safari.

These exclude the ability to long-press the tab bar, swipe across it to change tabs, and swipe it up to open the Tabs view.

I’m…starting to think a single, small toolbar just won’t do. 😬

Michael Love:

They’re already desperately trying to make this UI work and it’s a brand new UI; imagine if a year or two from now they want to add some new option to it.

Curtis Herbert:

I really do appreciate the experimentation, but the new Safari feels like something I’d take to the UI Design Labs at WWDC and they’d push me to use native controls that users expect and already know, have better tap targets, & stop cramming too many things in a small space.

Josh Centers:

I find the new Safari design in iPadOS 15 b4 to be every bit as confusing as before, but without the space-saving cleverness of the previous design.

Tyler Hall:

If Safari on macOS Monterey is heading in a similar direction where web page titles are going to be even more truncated, that’s going to make me sad. I guess we should do something about it.


It’s a silly Mac app that is just a window title bar. It floats above all the other windows on your Mac and keeps an eye on your web browsers. As you move from browser to browser and web page to web page, TheTitle shows you the full page title - unobscured. Problem solved.


Update (2021-07-28): John Gruber:

I think it’s fair to say there are [9] touch targets, because the left and right sides are effectively previous/next tab buttons.

Nick Heer:

There is some good news: the “⋯” Button of Mystery has been scrapped and replaced with the standard share button. There’s also a reload button in the address bar right beside the URL — but it is grey, while every other tappable control in Safari is blue.


In this context, reconfiguring Safari so that the entire user interaction happens in the lower half of the screen is a win for usability, but a loss for muscle memory. I think this once-in-a-lifetime update could make sense in the long term. But when coupled with some of the space constraints created by this specific iteration and how cramped the controls are, it is hard to argue in favour of this interpretation of Safari.

John Gruber:

How is a normal person going to get into Reader Mode come fall, when they upgrade from iOS 14?

John Gruber:

Mobile Safari versions 1–14: no one ever had to explain anything.

Mobile Safari 15: “See, you don’t get the genius of this design, let me explain…”

Riccardo Mori:

That reload icon beside the site name is so tiny one needs a fine-point stylus to tap it. Pull to Refresh on the other hand is a 10-plus-year-old tried-and-true gesture which I think fits best in this otherwise tragic Safari redesign.

Peter Novak:

The reload button placement is disastrous. Every. Single. Time. I want to type an address, I reload the page I’m currently on.

Ezekiel Elin:

My complaint with todays address bar is that the reload button moves and seems to find itself in the dead middle of the “address bar” a lot

Federico Viticci:

I wish I was kidding at this point, but the Safari tab bar in iOS 15 beta 4 can get busier.

Here’s what happens if you do a Google search, have an extension active, and have just downloaded a file.

(Magnifying glass, text label, dot on share.)

Michael Love:

The internal politics behind this stupid address bar are probably quite terrifying.

John Gruber (tweet):

But there’s an awful lot of non-sharing stuff crammed into the Share menu — the ᴀA menu items from the current version of Safari (text size, Reader mode, disabling content blockers temporarily, etc.) are all in “Share” now. It’s better than the “···” menu in betas 1–3, but really, this is more like changing the “···” glyph to the Share glyph. It’s still two menus’ worth of features stuffed into one monolithic menu.

John Gruber:

But my big problem with this tab bar — both on Mac and now iPad — is that it’s very hard to see which tab is the current (selected) tab. The visual indication for “selected” is just a very slightly different background tint — whether you’ve got “Show color in tab bar” enabled or not. You can even scroll the current tab out of view. Why is that possible? I don’t see how this is better than the Safari 14 tab bar in any way, and I see a lot of ways that it’s worse.


It get’s worse, and worse. On the latest macOS beta, they added a stroke around the traffic lights so that they look better when the titlebar has a background color. The address bar is now outlined to make it different from the tabs that look otherwise the same. Yikes.

Safari uses a darker stroke then the rest of the system and it looks really bad.

Update (2021-07-30): Benjamin Mayo:

I sure am hitting the reload button a lot when I mean to tap the URL bar to enter a new address.

The main cause for this I think is because the button sits at the end of the displayed domain, it is never in quite the same place because domains are variable lengths. Hence, the safe zone changes on each page you visit.

Josh Pigford:

The URL bar in Mobile Safari just gets more ridiculous with iOS 15 Beta 4.

Update (2021-08-09): Federico Viticci:

Like I said before, I really wish I was kidding here.

I’ve been been able to stuff another item in the Safari unified tab bar for iOS 15: camera access. This is what it looks like.

Update (2021-08-13): Matt Birchler:

I’ve written my fair share about what I don’t like about the version of Safari releasing this fall, so today I wanted to mention the things I actually do like about it.

Developer Account Terminated After Reporting Security Issue

Khaos Tian:

lol apparently reporting security issue to Apple product security can lead to termination from Apple Developer Program? Got a notice of termination from the personal account that has no activity recently today 🙃

Looks like I’m getting ghosted by WWDR & Product Security forks

That’s one way to make sure I don’t waste my time on sending security issues to them in the future I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/

Also it’s kinda annoying that macOS still shows the misleading alert when the signing certificate is revoked…

Saagar Jha:

Reminder that developing software for macOS means that Apple will turn around and call it malware if they terminate your developer account, because people who report security issues in good faith obviously write apps that will damage your computer.


Update (2021-07-28): See also: Hacker News:

Nika Kirkitadze (via Hacker News, tweet):

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Apple, where says that my developer membership has terminated. This is a massive blow to me.

The letter says that I have fraudulent conduct, but I believe that’s not true.

Apple just sent a warning message to me and, after 14 days, removed all my apps at the same time.

I am disappointed, of course. But a more critical issue is that I don’t know what went wrong and how to fix it. I tried to communicate with them but always was getting exact generic words and texts but nothing concrete.

Apple is super confident about its judgment. They applied the most severe punishment to me, without mentioning any details.