Archive for December 12, 2023

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

macOS 14.2

Juli Clover (release notes, security, developer, full installer, IPSW):

macOS Sonoma 14.2 introduces an Enhanced AutoFill feature for PDFs, which Apple announced earlier this year. It automatically identifies common fields like name and address, allowing them to be autofilled similar to a website.

In the Messages app, stickers can be added directly to chat bubbles with a tapback reply feature, and the catch-up arrow now jumps to the first unread message in a conversation. There are new Weather and Clock widgets, and a favorite songs playlist in Apple Music.

There are no longer separate builds for M3 Macs. It does not include the Journal app that was introduced in iOS 17.2.

See also: Howard Oakley, Mr. Macintosh.


Update (2023-12-19): Howard Oakley:

Rather than trying to catalogue every codewart and cause for infuriation, this article attempts to identify bugs in macOS that are real showstoppers.


However, there are two reproducible memory leaks in user space, both affecting the Finder, and possibly arising from the same underlying bug. One affects Finder Icon views, the other Gallery views. As there are only four different Finder Views, and those are the two used to browse QuickLook thumbnails, these combine to impose serious limitations on the usefulness of the Finder in macOS 14.2.


I’m grateful to Adam Engst for pointing out a reproducible crash when trying to print lists in the Contacts app. This is described in detail here, and still hasn’t been fixed in Sonoma 14.2.

Matthias Gansrigler:

We have macOS 14.2 now, and that bug that’s been around since macOS 14.0, where screencapture won’t add any dpi info to the files it creates, is still around.

Update (2023-12-21): Howard Oakley (tweet):

Over the last month or so, we have been looking at what appear to be large memory leaks in the Finder, specifically in its Icon and Gallery views. While I still await responses to my two Feedback reports detailing these, Neal has received a response to his earlier report, stating that this is intentional behaviour. This article considers the implications of that response:

We believe this behavior is as designed, and is not a memory leak or abandoned memory. Instead, we expect we are caching the (large) thumbnails for the items selected in gallery view. We purge such cached thumbnails from memory periodically if they haven’t been used in the last two or three days, and we also perform more aggressive purges if the system is under memory pressure.


Memory is a resource shared between all processes. What if other apps decided that they too would pursue aggressive caching policies as the Finder does?

I don’t think this approach scales. As he says, letting the user choose the maximum cache size is a sensible approach that some other apps use, though I can’t imagine Apple adding such a setting. To me the question is why the thumbnail caching is done in RAM instead of on disk, as photo apps, including Apple’s, do. Is this a privacy issue because the content might be coming from an encrypted volume?

Update (2024-01-23): Mario Guzmán:

macOS 14.2 brings back the way you can peek into a collapsed sidebar that uses NSSplitViewController.

You just need to move your cursor close to a collapsed split view item and wait a second.

macOS 13.6.3 and macOS 12.7.2

Apple (full installer):

This document describes the security content of macOS Ventura 13.6.3.

Apple (full installer):

This document describes the security content of macOS Monterey 12.7.2.


Apple Launches Journal App


Journal, a new iPhone app available today, helps users reflect and practice gratitude through journaling, which has been shown to improve wellbeing. With Journal, users can capture and write about everyday moments and special events in their lives, and include photos, videos, audio recordings, locations, and more to create rich memories. On-device machine learning provides private, personalized suggestions to inspire journal entries, and customizable notifications help users develop their writing habits. With the new Journaling Suggestions API, third-party journaling apps can also suggest moments for users to write about. Journal and the Journaling Suggestions API are available with the release of iOS 17.2.

Stephen Hackett:

There’s no iPad or Mac version yet, which some may find frustrating. However, given all the suggested content stuff that the app is doing, Apple may not be ready to ship it on more than one device.

The version that is out now for the iPhone is very basic, without any import or export functionality[…]

I don’t think any app should ship without export functionality.

Dan Moren:

Though Apple may have great hopes for its new Journal app, I think it unlikely that it will transform the average person into an avid journal-keeper if they aren’t already. And, frankly, if they already are, I’m not sure Apple’s Journal app is going to sway those folks from their current journal of choice.


But to set itself apart, Apple is applying the secret sauce—the fact that it is the platform owner and can leverage data that no third-party developer would ever have access to.


As I looked back over the entries that I’d made, I came to the conclusion that Apple has kind of done this feature already—and arguably better—in the Photos app. Journaling Suggestions seem to use the same algorithm that Photo’s Memories do, looking at pictures and videos taken within a certain time period or at a certain location, and grouping them together with a theme. (And, indeed, Memories are even surfaced within the app’s suggestions at times.) But Photos does this automatically, presenting memories as a fait accompli for you to revisit, rather than waiting for users to actively go in and manually create them.


In the end, Journal feels a bit like Apple applied its trademark fixation on privacy to social networking: it’s a social network of one person, for one person.

I will continue to use BBEdit.

Ryan Jones:

Sadly, @FlightyApp will not add your travel to Apple Journal.

The API is only for reading suggestions from Journal. 😔


Update (2023-12-19): Niléane:

Design-wise, the Journal app is simply beautiful. It doesn’t look like any other built-in iOS apps, but it doesn’t feel too alien either.


While it is possible to highlight text to format it to bold, italic, or underlined, it is impossible to manually insert a link. If you paste a URL, it cannot be tapped to open in Safari.


Weirdly enough, though, there is no way to view an entry in a standalone view. Nothing happens if you tap an entry. Instead, you tap items that are contained within an entry — which will expand them to a full-screen view. This means the only way to read your journal is to scroll through the main view of the app.


Unfortunately, in its current state, I don’t think this UI will scale well as you keep using it over months and years. You can filter entries by content type — or only display bookmarked entries, but that’s it. There are no tags, no folders, no compact view, and no way to browse by date.

Nor is there search.

Although developers cannot contribute to suggestions populated by the appropriately named Journaling Suggestions API[…]

iOS 17.2 and iPadOS 17.2

Juli Clover (release notes, security, developer):

The iOS 17.2 update includes the new Journal app, which is designed to allow iOS users to record key moments in their lives. The Journal app includes journaling suggestions, scheduled notifications, and options for adding photos, locations, and more.

For the iPhone 15 Pro models, iOS 17.2 adds a Translate option for the Action Button, which activates the Translate app for conversing with someone in another language. There’s also now an option to record spatial video that will be viewable on the Apple Vision Pro headset in 3D.

In the Messages app, there’s a catch-up arrow for jumping to the first unread message in a conversation, and an option to add stickers to chat bubbles through the tapback menu. There are new Weather and Clock widgets, support for accessing Health data through Siri, a Favorite Songs playlist in Apple Music , and more.

Federico Viticci:

The [Weather] app now shows precipitation amounts for rain and snow conditions for any given day over the next 10 days; there’s a wind map snapshot to see wind patterns for the next 24 hours[…]

Chance Miller (MacRumors):

As we’ve covered extensively, support for collaborative playlists in Apple Music was initially included in the early iOS 17.2 betas. Apple ended up removing the feature due to concerns about spam and abuse. Its website now says that the feature won’t make a return until 2024.

Meanwhile, Apple also says that iOS 17’s AirPlay in hotel rooms feature has also been pushed to 2024, missing Apple’s initial deadline of before the end of this year.

Thomas Ricouard:

Some new SwiftUI features look interesting, like the _logChanges, which is an upgrade over _printChanges. It is very useful to understand why a view body gets computed!


Update (2023-12-19): Jeff Johnson:

I’ve noticed that it has started to show the wrong Safari extension icons in some places for some extensions.


For some bizarre reason, iOS 17.2 has started to substitute the toolbar icon for the app icon in some cases, for example in the Safari Manage Extensions popup.

watchOS 10.2

Juli Clover (release notes, security, developer):

The watchOS 10.2 update adds support for using Siri to access and record data in the Health app on the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Users can ask Siri questions like “How did I sleep last night?” or “How many steps have I taken this week?”

Health data can be added to the Health app through Siri as well with statements like “My weight is 195.3 pounds,” or “I’ve taken my 6:00 p.m. medications.” This is functionality that Apple announced with the launch of the newest Apple Watch models, and it is limited to these devices as they are the only Apple Watches that support on-device Siri processing.

watchOS 10.2 also reintroduces an option to swipe to change the Apple Watch face, a feature that was removed in watchOS 10 and has been missed by some.


Users can also ask Siri to log:


  • “I took my 8 a.m. medications.”
  • “Log that I took my multivitamin.”
  • “I weigh 167 pounds.”
  • “My period started today.”
  • “Log that I have spotting today.”
  • “My blood sugar is 122.”
  • “Record my blood pressure as 118 over 76.”
  • “Log my body temperature as 98.3 degrees.”

Rui Carmo:

Maybe it’s Apple “moving my cheese” again or just a result of actual user feedback, but the three daily annoyances I have since upgrading were likely avoidable:

  • Changing the operation and contextual meaning of the crown and side button (it feels like change for the sake of change).
  • Changing the springboard/app launcher into a scrollable list (I relied on groupings of things and quick tapping to access often-used apps, and I had to spend a good while re-arranging them to both be on top of the list and still make logical sense).
  • Noticeably impacted battery life on my Series 5. I was starting to wake up to the watch telling me it had less than 10% charge, but now I get that warning before going to bed.

The battery issue was probably fixed in the previous release.


Update (2023-12-19): Stephen Darlington:

The battery issue was not resolved in the previous version. I have a Series 4 and if I go on a thirty minute run, I have to add some charge to make it to bed time. No such problem with watchOS 9. (The battery has been replaced, but is surely a factor. However, there was a marked drop after I installed watchOS 10.)

audioOS 17.2

Juli Clover:

Apple does not specify what’s included in the HomePod 17.2 software, and the generic release notes only say that it includes bug fixes and performance improvements.

All I know is that it’s 2.6 GB, took a really long time to install, and doesn’t fix the bug with not being able to play music that I bought from the iTunes Store.


tvOS 17.2

Apple (MacRumors):

Today Apple unveiled a redesigned Apple TV app that makes it even easier for users to watch Apple’s award-winning original series and films, as well as live sports, movies, and television shows across their favorite Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming sticks, gaming consoles, and more. The simplified interface’s new sidebar allows users to quickly navigate the app, providing easy access to Apple TV+, home of Apple Original series and films; MLS Season Pass, home of Major League Soccer; Store, where users can buy and rent popular movies; and shortcuts to channels and apps viewers already have, such as Disney+, Paramount+, and Max.


Also starting today, the iTunes Store app on iPhone and iPad, and the iTunes Movies and iTunes TV Shows apps on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, will redirect users to the Apple TV app, where they can find their existing purchases and watch all of their favorite TV shows and movies in one place.

Juli Clover:

Attempting to access the TV Shows and Movies sections in the app directs users to the Apple TV app instead. “iTunes Movies and Your Purchases Have Moved,” reads the app’s message. “You can buy or rent movies and find your purchases in the Apple TV app.”

During the beta testing process, the iTunes Store app continued to offer access to TV shows and movies, so this is a change that Apple made to its servers. With this update, Apple says in a support document that it is no longer possible to gift movies or TV shows on an iPhone running iOS 17.2 or later, on an iPad running iPadOS 17.2 or later, or on an Apple TV running tvOS 17.2 or later.

Mike Rockwell:

On the rare occasion when I want to watch purchased content before I have a chance to process it, though, I always use the TV Shows and Movies apps. It’s just a much nicer experience without having to trudge through all of the Apple TV+ promotion.