Archive for September 1, 2023

Friday, September 1, 2023

How Software Update Works in Ventura

Howard Oakley:

When all the settings for automatic updates are turned off, the user should in theory be offered all updates as they become available, and be able to choose which to download and install manually from those offered in Software Update. Unfortunately, that isn’t what happens, as some available updates aren’t listed by Software Update, but only available by other means.

For example, a Mac that is still running macOS 13.4, and hasn’t received any updates to security data such as XProtect and XProtect Remediator, will only be offered the 13.5.1 macOS update following a manual check triggered by opening Software Update settings. Although XProtect and XProtect Remediator updates are delivered and installed individually, they aren’t listed in the updates available. If the 13.5.1 update is installed when automatic updates are all disabled, XProtect and XProtect Remediator aren’t updated, and aren’t offered as updates by Software Update settings.


Software Update settings are in urgent need of revision, to protect users from inadvertently falling behind with updates to important security components.

Howard Oakley:

Under Apple’s unstated policy, Big Sur has already been consigned to the past, and is now unsupported. Monterey has entered its second and final year of security-only updates, where Ventura has now joined it. But what can we expect Ventura to get over the next year: will those updates include Rapid Security Responses (RSRs) too?


Apple has clarified this only yesterday, in an updated support note about RSRs. That makes clear that we’re unlikely to see an RSR attempting to patch the kernel for a while, as they’re targeted primarily at Safari, WebKit and “other critical system libraries”. It also states that “New Rapid Security Responses are delivered only for the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, starting with iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1.”


Apple Discontinues iTunes Movie Trailers App

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today updated its iTunes Movie Trailers app for the iPhone with a notice that the Apple TV app is the new home of movie and TV show trailers. It is no longer possible to use the iTunes Movie Trailers app, which launched in 2011.


The accompanying iTunes Movie Trailers website is also no longer available following the transition to the Apple TV app, which began earlier this month.

In the Apple TV app, there is now a “Watch the Latest Trailers” section in the Store tab, although it might not be visible in all countries.

Apple was once the best source for finding high-quality and fast-loading versions of the latest trailers. Now, I dread opening the TV app. It’s difficult to navigate and search. I just scrolled through everything but could not find the trailers section. However, a Google search quickly turned up, which opens the proper section of the app. Normally, though, I just use IMDB (easier to browse) or YouTube (can save offline).

Nick Heer:

Apple killed off its movie trailers site without replacing it in Canada. Left, a bunch of trailers shown in the U.S. version; right, basically nothing in the Canadian version.

Still no way to access trailers in the TV app in Canada.

Nick Heer:

My eyes hurt. Does anybody at the world’s most valuable publicly-traded corporation with a reputation for design and attention to detail review these things before they are pushed to the world?


Update (2023-09-04): Greg Hurrell:

Never used the app or even knew it existed, but I remember back around 2000 when Apple was the place to get movie trailers in high quality, as they pushed hard to market QuickTime and their hardware as the premiere technology for media reproduction and production.

Samuel Axon (Hacker News):

Unfortunately, the trailer section of the TV app lacks most of the features that iTunes Movie Trailers had—there are no sorting options, for example.

So pour one out for a truly classic web service—a relic of another era that was not that long ago but somehow feels like another epoch of the Earth. You might be surprised it was still around, but it's sad to see it go.

Apple to Drop Customer Support via Social Media

Joe Rossignol (via Dave Mark, Jeff Johnson):

Apple is planning to eliminate social media support advisor roles across Twitter, YouTube, and the Apple Support Community website starting later this year, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. When this change takes effect, customers will no longer be able to receive support from an Apple employee on these platforms.


Apple is offering hundreds of affected employees the opportunity to transition to a phone-based support role in the company, but some advisors are unable to or unwilling to make the switch, the sources said. Apple is not allowing employees to switch to another chat-based support role in the company unless medically necessary, which has caused anger and frustration for some members of the social media team, one of the sources said.

On the one hand, I like the idea of meeting customers where they are and offering assistance proactively. Without this, many of them would probably not seek out direct help, and the issue would remain unresolved. On the other hand, my experience as an observer and occasional venter has been that the Apple representative would often chime in to a discussion without really reading the context of what was being discussed, which made them look out of touch. Or they would immediately suggest taking the discussion private, in which case there was no community benefit of seeing the troubleshooting steps and solution.

I don’t understand why these employees aren’t being transitioned to chat support roles.


Making Your App Extensible with JavaScriptCore

Christian Tietze:

The idea here is that JavaScript is basically the only way nowadays that you can ship plugins or scripts with your apps on macOS that is not broken since Big Sur, I think. Because Ruby and Python and all these other scripting languages were yeeted from the operating system.

Of course, apps can still offer places where users can hook in AppleScripts.

So it’s not like new technology. It works with really old stuff. And the thing I’ve found is that you can actually make plugins for your applications that don’t expose the app’s internals or the user’s file system or any sensitive data unless you actually decide to expose this. Which means that plugin installing can become rather safe. It’s easy to break things, but it’s also easy to make things secure.


The most important piece that I found is the context, and the JSValue that you see below, and the JSManagedValue, which is something we will completely ignore. If you have worked with CoreData, for example, you will know the NSManagedObject, and the JSManagedValue is kind of similar: It’s bridging into the JavaScript context and automatically updates when you mutate an object from within the script. And the JavaScript site sees values reflected as you change them in your swift code on these managed values. This is very handy, I guess, but it’s something that I find, well, utterly unnecessary for my purposes. And too hard to control.


I’m teaching the script to call a function for the input and I call function for the output.