Archive for October 4, 2021

Monday, October 4, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Safari Bookmarks [Not Actually] End-To-End Encrypted

Sami Fathi:

Spotted on Reddit, an update to Apple’s “iCloud security overview” page has indicated that alongside Safari tabs and history, Safari bookmarks are now end-to-end encrypted, meaning no one, not even Apple, can access users’ saved Safari bookmarks.

It’s not clear to me when the history became end-to-end encrypted. I’ve heard that this was mentioned at WWDC 2019 for iOS 13 and macOS Catalina. Apple’s iCloud Security Overview also now says iOS 13, but it wasn’t updated to say that until March 2020, long after iOS 13 shipped.

Previously:

Update (2021-10-15): Reddit:

They updated the site again to say that bookmarks are not E2EE.

And it doesn’t say anything about Safari Reader. This privacy documentation is a disaster.

App Store’s “Report a Problem” Is Back

Hartley Charlton:

After being removed several years ago, Apple has restored the “Report a Problem” option on the App Store in an effort to flag issues and combat scams.

Spotted by Richard Mazkewich and Kosta Eleftheriou and highlighted by The Verge, the option allows users to report individual App Store listings in iOS 15. When selected, the option directs users to a website with a drop-down menu to report App Store violations, including a specific option to “Report a scam or fraud.”

However, it’s currently only available in certain countries.

Previously:

Update (2021-10-08): Apple:

Now App Store product pages on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey display a “Report a Problem“ link, so users can more easily report concerns with content they’ve purchased or downloaded. This feature is currently available for users in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, and will expand to other regions over time. In addition, users worldwide can now choose from “Report a scam or fraud” and “Report offensive, abusive, or illegal content” options at reportaproblem.apple.com, and report issues with their apps, including free apps that do not offer in-app purchases.

Stuck When Upgrading Directly From macOS Mojave to Big Sur

Mr. Macintosh:

The macOS Mojave to Big Sur upgrade is causing problems for some users.

The progress bar is getting stuck, leaving the system in an unbootable state. The user is locked out of their data.

This is especially relevant since Mojave didn’t get the latest round of security bug fixes. He recommends updating to Catalina first, and then to Big Sur.

Scott:

This sounds like the issue @lapcatsoftware experienced in August. Crazy to imagine it is still a known issue since that is the suggested upgrade path for the now unsupported Mojave.

Mr. Macintosh:

The issue is confirmed on Big Sur versions all the way back to 11.4. (Maybe even earlier)

The account is still on the system, but no longer has admin privileges.

Previously:

Update (2021-10-21): Mr. Macintosh:

If folders in multiple directories in the location below

/private/var/folders/*/*/C/com.apple.metadata.mdworker

have more than 20,000 files your upgrade could fail.

In some situations users have reported 500,000 – 2,000,000 files!!!

After updating to Catalina, I started having problems with hundreds of thousands of files collecting in those folders. There were so many in the same folder (at the level, not organized into a hierarchy like with Apple Mail’s message files) that it would take minutes just to view the folder in Finder, and SuperDuper backups would get stuck just reading the list of files to see if they were excluded.

Siri’s 10-Year Anniversary

Benjamin Mayo:

Affected Siri domains include ride booking, configuration of vehicles via Siri over CarPlay, and third-party Photo Search. Many of these SiriKit intents were introduced when third-party Siri support was first added to the system back in iOS 10. Apple didn’t provide a reason for their abrupt removal.

Via Nick Heer:

As Clover reports, these omissions were first documented by users on the AppleVis forums who support disabled people who use iPhones. This may be a bug — the behaviour is also present in iOS 14.8 — but it amounts to a regression until it is fixed.

James Vincent:

Described by Schiller as a “humble personal assistant,” Siri gave 2011’s iPhone a dose of star power during a difficult time for Apple. Just months before the phone’s unveiling, a relative unknown at the company, then-chief operating officer Tim Cook, had been named CEO. The day after Schiller’s presentation, Apple’s legendary co-founder Steve Jobs would die from pancreatic cancer. Analysts were cool on the company’s prospects but praised Siri as a potential game-changer. One called it “a powerful harbinger of the future use of mobile devices,” while another said it was “the beginning of a new user experience [for] all of Apple’s mobile and Mac products.”

A decade later, the sheen has worn off Siri’s star. “It is such a letdown,” was how Schiller described the promise of voice interfaces past, and such a description could easily be applied to Apple’s contribution to the genre. Everyone who uses Siri has their own tales of frustration — times when they’ve been surprised not by the intelligence but the stupidity of Apple’s assistant, when it fails to carry out a simple command or mishears a clear instruction. And while voice interfaces have indeed become widespread, Apple, despite being first to market, no longer leads.

[…]

When I ask Siri for information I know is stored in iOS, like “show me photos from last August,” it just performs an image search for the phrase “last August.”

Dag Kittlaus:

We had a shared long-term vision with Steve which faded after he passed and my successor had no vision or accountability and is happily long gone from Apple. Steve and Scott F and the Siri founders had a plan that sadly died on the vine. But I’m confident Apple will lift Siri up.

Previously:

Update (2021-10-05): Nick Heer:

Every Siri command — beyond adding Reminders and setting timers — feels like a tightrope walk I should attempt rarely.

[…]

A few years ago, I tried a bunch of the commands shown in the original Siri demo video from before Apple acquired the company. It did poorly. I ran through the same commands just now, and saw broadly similar results as I did then[…]

This morning I ran into a temporary glitch where Siri refused to let me make reminders, correctly transcribing what I’d said but complaining that there was no app available for that.

Update (2021-10-08): Federico Viticci:

A good summary of the Siri ecosystem for third-party apps:

The developers of @dueapp advise against using Siri because it doesn’t understand the app’s name “Due”.

So I tried to make my own shortcut for it, and Siri won’t run it.