Archive for January 10, 2024

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Fixing Continuity Camera


Continuity Camera became a feature that I need to work reliably. Sadly, it doesn’t. Half of the time, apps like Zoom and Discord on macOS could not see the iPhone SE in the list of available cameras. This meant I had to fetch a Lightning cable to manually connect the iPhone. If I was unlucky that day, and that didn’t work, I would have to completely reboot the Mac. If I was really unlucky that day, and even that didn’t work, I would end up joining the call without a camera. Despite meeting all the requirements listed by Apple Support, this problem just kept happening on random occasions.


Unsurprisingly, I was far from being the only person to encounter this issue with wireless Continuity Camera. I stumbled upon a flurry of Reddit threads and Apple Support discussions opened by people having this problem.


Logging out from your iCloud account on your Mac is synonymous with hours lost to resynchronizing all your data and settings across your apps. Still, I wanted to try it at least once, to see if it would solve the issues I was having with Continuity Camera, once and for all. Unfortunately, it didn’t.


In the end, I discovered the strangest fix you could imagine. If Continuity Camera wasn’t working, I realized that if I headed to the ‘Touch ID & Password’ section in System Settings, and toggled the setting to automatically unlock the Mac with the Apple Watch, then Continuity Camera would immediately start working fine again.

However, sometimes this can’t be toggled until the watch has been unpaired and repaired with the iPhone.


Mac App Sandboxing Interferes With Drag & Drop

Wade Tregaskis:

Merely inspecting the UTIs in the pasteboard is fine – that doesn’t interfere with anything. So if all you care about is if any kind of file (or folder) is being dragged, you’re set. But if you want to only react to some types of files or folders, you need to know more.

If you ask for the URL – even without actually using it – you trigger some behind the scenes activity involving app sandboxing. This prevents the file being made accessible to your app if & when it actually is dropped into your app.

When things are working correctly, when a file is dragged and dropped onto a receptive view in your app a link to that file is created inside your own app’s container. It’s that link that you actually have access to – the original file cannot be accessed directly. That link seems to persist for a while – perhaps until your app is quit – so once you have it you’re set.

I don’t know why merely peeking at the file path (URL) prevents this link being created, but it does.


Apple’s Five App Stores

Manish Singh and Natasha Lomas (via Slashdot):

The iPhone-maker has updated the language pertaining to its risk factors in the fiscal year 2023 Form 10-K filing (PDF), with the revised text presenting a shift from the company’s previous position, indicating a more definitive stance on potential modifications to the App Store policies.

Apple said that future changes could also affect how the company charges developers for access to its platforms; how it manages distribution of apps outside of the App Store; and “how, and to what extent, it allows developers to communicate with consumers inside the App Store regarding alternative purchasing mechanisms.”


In a report to clients late Tuesday, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote that they believe Apple’s change of language confirms the fact that App Store changes are coming and that Apple will “likely begin 3rd party app stores on device in Europe.”

Hartley Charlton:

Apple today filed a legal challenge against the European Union’s Digital Markets Act ahead of the impending requirement to enable app sideloading on its devices (via Reuters).


The case is expected to include an argument against the App Store being included on the EU’s list of gatekeeper platforms, which requires app sideloading to be an option to allow users to avoid the App Store if they wish.

Ben Lovejoy (Hacker News):

The DMA applies to what are described as technology “platforms,” and the EU separately defines which company’s products and services fall within this term. Apple’s App Store is one of them.

Not so, said Apple, as the App Store isn’t a single entity. Reuters reports on the argument the iPhone maker yesterday made in a European court hearing.

The European Commission made “material factual errors, in concluding that the applicant’s five App Stores are a single core platform service,” Apple said in its plea to the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest.

The company in its argument to the EU competition enforcer said it operates five App Stores on iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple TVs and Apple Watches, with each designed to distribute apps for a specific operating system and Apple device.

Apple markets it as a single store, but it does seem that going by the DMA’s criteria only the iOS App Store is large enough to qualify. I guess Apple is trying to minimize requirements on the other stores.

Foo Yun Chee:

Apple’s lawsuit also took issue with the Commission’s designation of its messaging service iMessage as a number-independent interpersonal communications service (NIICS) that prompted an EU investigation into whether it should comply with DMA rules.

The company contends that iMessage is not a NIICS as it is not a fee-based service and it does not monetise it via the sale of hardware devices nor via the processing of personal data.


Google Settles Incognito Lawsuit

Simon Sharwood:

A US court filing [PDF] dated December 26 records that Google and the plaintiffs have agreed to a term sheet that, if approved by the judge, will conclude the matter. Those terms of the proposed settlement weren’t disclosed. But the parties seem sufficiently confident a deal will be done that another filing vacates the court date held for the matter, so all concerned can stop preparing for a trial and focus on nailing down the agreement.

Via Nick Heer:

This lawsuit has always seemed pretty dumb to me if you know what “Incognito Mode” is supposed to mean, something which Google spells out when you enable it in Chrome. However, I do think it is telling how much this relies on the fine print of how Google itself defines “incognito” compared to the word’s actual meaning, in a way that sort of reminds me of Tesla’s “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” features.


Update (2024-02-01): ABP (via Hacker News):

Following the search engine’s agreement to settle a $5 billion USD privacy lawsuit that accused it of tracking users illegally in incognito mode, it has now updated the disclaimer to reflect the transparency. In its Canary version (Early-access version which allows users and developers to test new features and updates before they are rolled out for everyone), Google now states that data will still be collected even in Incognito mode.

The normal disclaimer which you can see in Incognito mode at the moment is- “Now you can browse privately, and other people who use this device won’t see your activity. However, downloads, bookmarks and reading list items will be saved.” However, in the Canary version, the disclaimer reads, “Others who use this device won’t see your activity, so you can browse more privately. This won’t change how data is collected by websites you visit and the services they use, including Google. Downloads, bookmarks and reading list items will be saved.”

Update (2024-04-02): Thomas Claburn:

In hopes of settling a lawsuit challenging its data collection practices, Google has agreed to destroy web browsing data it collected from users browsing in Chrome’s private modes – which weren’t as private as you might have thought.

Juli Clover:

Google plans to destroy “billions of data points” that were improperly collected, in addition to updating the wording in Incognito mode and disabling third-party cookies by default when using the feature (Google plans to get rid of cookies entirely later this year).

Will Shanklin:

It’s also questionable how effective the destruction of the improperly collected data will be. Considering that the suit covers information stretching back to 2016, it’s reasonable to assume the company sold much of the data to third parties long ago or incorporated it into separate products not covered by the settlement.