Archive for December 13, 2021

Monday, December 13, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

macOS 12.1

Mr. Macintosh:

Apple just released the first major update to macOS Monterey. The update comes a month and a half after the October 25th release.

Juli Clover:

macOS Monterey 12.1 adds a major missing feature to the Mac -- SharePlay. With SharePlay, Mac owners can watch TV, listen to music, and play games with friends and family members over FaceTime.

[…]

macOS Monterey 12.1 brings support for the $4.99 Apple Music Voice Plan that’s designed to work with Siri, and it adds Communication Safety for children in the Messages app. There are updates to the Memories feature in Photos to bring macOS 12 in line with iOS 15, and the update includes the same Digital Legacy feature being introduced in iOS 15.2.

Sami Fathi:

Apple has officially delayed Universal Control, a hallmark feature of macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15 announced in June, until Spring 2022.

Mr. Macintosh:

This file is the same full installer that you would download directly from the App Store for Intel and Apple Silicon M1 Mac Computers.

Howard Oakley:

Among the bugs fixed are blank Desktop and Screen Saver options, unresponsive trackpads, charging from external displays, kernel panics in HDR video playback on YouTube.com, a notch issue on 2021 MacBook Pro models, and MagSafe charging stopping on 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 computers. There’s no mention of fixing any memory leaks, though.

Apple (Hacker News):

This document describes the security content of macOS Monterey 12.1.

Previously:

Update (2021-12-16): Steve Troughton-Smith:

My tiny partial-contribution to AppKit for macOS 12.1: NSToolbarItemGroup automatic subitem validation now works! Previously, item groups wouldn’t properly enable/disable subitems based on the responder chain (FB9686110)

Howard Oakley:

Apple also lists the following bugs which are fixed in 12.1

Dominik Wagner:

Yet another #macOS update yet another try at first login to accidentally force me into desktop and document directory iCloud sync. This is getting old, apple. (Though not on all machines)

Previously:

Update (2021-12-20): Howard Oakley:

Yet in the 12.1 update, M1 Macs got away with about 3.2 GB for the whole update, and Intel models just over 2.8 GB.

You will also no doubt have noticed that the time taken to prepare the update, once it has been downloaded, has doubled to 30 minutes, although on faster M1 chips that turns out to be significantly shorter. Some of that may be attributable to greater compression, as anyone who has installed a copy of Xcode from a .xip archive knows well. But there also appear to be changes in the updater itself: if you run a content caching server and have updated Intel and M1 Macs, you’ll have noticed that less of the update appears common to both architectures, resulting in larger downloads for servers that cater for updating both.

These are important improvements for a great many Mac users around the world, whose Internet connections don’t reach the speeds expected in Californian cities, and those which are capped. I hope that these improvements continue during the Monterey cycle.

Previously:

iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2

Juli Clover (tweet):

iOS 15.2 adds App Privacy Report, a feature designed to let you know how often apps are accessing permissions-restricted info like the camera and the microphone, plus it lets you know the domains that apps and websites are contacting so you can keep an eye on what’s going on behind the scenes.

The update includes Communication Safety for devices owned by children and the Apple Music Voice Plan, plus it introduces Legacy Contacts for managing your data after you die, and it adds improvements to Find My, Hide My Email, and more.

Apple:

In iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, and watchOS 8.3 or later, users can view a privacy report of when your app:

  • Accesses certain kinds of user data, like photos and contacts.

  • Accesses sensitive device resources, like the camera and microphone.

  • Contacts network domains, including websites that a user visits from within your app (iOS- and iPadOS-only).

Examine the data that your app contributes to this summary to find out what the report shows users, and to make sure that your app behaves as you expect.

This would be nice to have in macOS, too.

Juli Clover:

Apple shows data from the last seven days, and the app is split up into several sections to make it easier to get to what you want to know.

[…]

With App Network Activity, you can view a list of all of the different domains that your apps have contacted across the last seven days.

I wonder whether apps will start redirecting through AWS or something to appear cleaner.

Previously:

Update (2021-12-16): Jeff Johnson:

Apple made a breaking change to Safari extension preferences storage in iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2, which were released to the public yesterday.

Kyle Hughes:

Anecdotally, the impact of Apple not encouraging iOS 14 -> iOS 15 upgrades has been huge. There are about 10x more users on the n-1 version than in years past.

CK’s Technology News:

#Apple silently remove the option to stay on #iOS 14 in some countries

Previously:

Tracker Detect Android App for AirTag

Juli Clover:

Apple today released a new “Tracker Detect” app on the Google Play Store, with the app designed to allow Android users to locate AirTags that might be nearby.

Apple says that Android users can scan to find a nearby AirTag if they think that someone is using an AirTag or another device to track their location. The app is designed to alleviate fears from experts worried that AirTags can be used maliciously to track the location of individuals.

Commenters are saying that you have to specifically open the app to do a scan, rather than having it monitor in the background and post a notification like on iOS. If true, that would make it mostly useless for alleviating privacy and theft concerns.

Previously:

Update (2021-12-16): Nick Heer:

Tile will ship a similar feature next year.

Perhaps we will all need to download apps for products we do not use so that we are not victims of our location being tracked by some unauthorized person.

And remember to run those apps, because iOS won’t let Tile’s app run all the time in the background, just as Apple’s app is limited on Android.

Alternate App Store Product Pages and URLs

Apple:

Product page optimization. Try out alternate versions of your app’s product page with different icons, screenshots, and app previews to find out which one gets the best results. Each version is shown to a percentage of randomly selected, eligible App Store users and results appear in App Analytics, so you can set the best performing one to display to everyone on the App Store.

Custom product pages. Create additional versions of your app’s product page to highlight specific features or content, discoverable through unique URLs that you share. Custom product pages can have different screenshots, app previews, and promotional text — and are fully localizable — so you can showcase a particular sport, character, show, gameplay feature, and more.

As far as I can tell, this isn’t available for the Mac App Store. I guess it makes the most sense in the context of App Store search ads, which are also iOS-only.

Twitter Acquires, Shuts Down Quill

Quill:

Together with Twitter, we will continue to pursue our original goal — to make online communication more thoughtful, and more effective, for everyone.

Quill will be shutting down, but its spirit and ideas will continue on.

[…]

On 1pm PST, Saturday, December 11th 2021 we will delete all user data, whether or not you’ve exported it.

John Gruber:

But four days’ notice is almost bizarrely hostile — especially given that Quill was acquired, and didn’t simply run out of money. This is a service that they asked teams to trust. To say it’s disruptive to give people half a week to export their data and find a new collaboration platform is an understatement. What if someone is on vacation? What if it’s crunch week for a team facing a deadline?

Microsoft xCloud App Store Negotiations

Sean Hollister (Reddit, MacRumors):

Remember when Apple pretended like it would let cloud gaming services like Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia into the App Store, while effectively tearing their business models to shreds? Know how Microsoft replied that forcing gamers to download hundreds of individual apps to play a catalog of cloud games would be a bad experience?

In reality, Microsoft was willing to play along with many of Apple’s demands — and it even offered to bring triple-A, Xbox-exclusive games to iPhone to help sweeten the deal. That’s according to a new set of private emails that The Verge unearthed in the aftermath of the Epic v. Apple trial.

[…]

Where did negotiations break down? Microsoft now tells The Verge that Apple was actually the one that rejected its proposals — because Apple insisted on forcing each and every game to include the full streaming stack and wouldn’t agree to anything else.

[…]

And Apple tells The Verge that money was indeed involved. “Unfortunately, Microsoft proposed a version of xCloud that was not compliant with our App Store Review Guidelines, specifically the requirement to use in-app purchase to unlock additional features or functionality within an app,” reads a statement via Apple spokesperson Adam Dema.

It seems like a contradiction when Choudhry says that Microsoft’s proposal was “designed to comply with App Store policies” when it depended on a shared framework system that was only hypothetical.

Matt Birchler:

Anyway, I have questions how this would have worked, but no matter the answers, I think that this is another example of the App Store model where everything is a siloed app, is showing constrictions that are incompatible with some more bleeding edge software. Apple adapted the App Store to work as SAAS took over paid-up-front priciung models, and I hope they can evolve it again to better-accomadate app paradigms that customers want, but don’t fit nicely into the “every app is a silo” model.

Michael Love:

The most obvious evidence that Apple wields something like monopoly power with regard to iOS is that they can get away with blocking extremely cool + exciting new apps and not worry that those missing apps might drive people to use a competing platform or store.

[…]

If Microsoft had had the sort of anti-competitive free rein in the late ’90s that Apple has now, they wouldn’t have had to resort to giving IE away for free / giving it special low-level access to Windows / bullying OEMs / etc; they would have just blocked Netscape altogether.

“Customers choose Windows for its security and privacy protection. If we permitted third-party web browsers like Netscape, it would make Windows worse for everyone; even users who prefer to remain with safe, reliable Internet Explorer might be forced to install Netscape.”

“It’s much too risky to entrust your sensitive financial data to a third-party app like Quicken or MYOB, which is why Microsoft Money is the only supported accounting software on Windows. However, third party developers are welcome to develop Microsoft Money extensions.”

Previously: