Archive for May 1, 2024

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Photos Syncing With iCloud Paused

I just ran into an iCloud issue I’d not seen before. Photos on my Mac now shows “Syncing with iCloud Paused. Optimizing System Performance” at the bottom of the photos grid. It’s not clear to me what this means because the Mac is essentially idle and not running on battery power.

There’s a Sync Now blue text “button,” and when I click it I get an alert that says:

Resume Syncing with iCloud

Syncing with iCloud is paused to optimize system performance. Would you like to resume syncing for four hours?

I clicked Resume, but nothing seemed happened. The main window still says that syncing is paused and still offers the Sync Now button that seemingly doesn’t do anything. I left it overnight and nothing has changed. Syncing is still paused—showing gray thumbnails for photos not downloaded—and Sync Now is still inoperable.


Update (2024-05-02): I had restarted the Mac earlier, but I restarted it again this morning and now it is syncing again.

The Joy of Shortcuts

Jarrod Blundy:

I love building shortcuts. I have 579 of them in my personal library at the moment, and I’d guess that I built or modified about half of those at some point or another. Between my HeyDingus Shortcuts Library and my old home on RoutineHub, I’ve shared over 40 of them publicly, thinking that maybe someone else will find these little tools helpful.


But mostly, it just lights up my brain in a way that few other things do. […] And I enjoyed every second of getting them just right.

Via Federico Viticci:

For me, despite the (many) issues of the Shortcuts app on all platforms, the reason I can’t pull myself away from it is that there’s nothing else like it on any modern computing platform (yes, I have tried Tasker and Power Automate and, no, I did not like them). Shortcuts appeals to that part of my brain that loves it when a plan comes together and different things happen in succession.

I love automating things and have used many utilities to do so, going back to classic Mac OS. These days I mostly rely on AppleScript and shell scripts. For whatever reason, Shortcuts just does not fit my brain. I found Automator intuitive but limited. Shortcuts, not being language-based, is also limited, but it’s seemingly much more powerful than Automator. However, I find it confusing to use, the app’s interface doesn’t feel right for a Mac app, and I wish shortcuts were saved as files.

It’s also a pity that some functionality—e.g. HomeKit—is not available from AppleScript or shell tools, only via Shortcuts.

Joe Rosensteel:

I love Shortcuts. I love WiFi device names. I love conflict resolution when I didn’t edit the Shortcut on either of those dates.


Qi2 Battery Packs and Chargers

Christian Selig:

Qi2 was supposed to be a glass of ice water to those in hell of Qi1, and I was hyped! Apple stopped making MagSafe battery packs themselves, and their old pack used Lightning instead of the newer USB-C, so I was excited to see third-parties bring MagSafe into the golden age of USB-C.


The word “compatible” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there, just indicating that the battery packs have a magnet in them and using just regular Qi1 charging. None of the actual MagSafe benefits are available. This means they’re kinda “dumb” and don’t communicate well with the host device, leading to hotter devices (and thus faster battery degradation) and lower efficiency due to energy loss as heat.


Despite being announced last year, there’s still like… only one manufacturer offering Qi2 battery packs: Anker. The rest are still “coming soon”. […‘ Qi2 battery packs seemingly don’t even support OS level battery status! I can only assume this is an omission on Apple’s part rather than Anker’s, and is hopefully fixed in the future, but that was one of the aspects of Qi2 I was looking forward to the most. All you get is a slightly larger indicator of the phone’s battery level, but not the pack’s.

This Anker battery pack has been working great with my iPhone 15 Pro, but I don’t think it’s Qi2. Oddly, I’ve had mixed results with USB-C battery packs, e.g. the HTGK Power Bank sometimes causes iOS to report heat errors and seems to actually drain the phone’s battery rather than charge it.

Juli Clover:

Satechi today announced the availability of its two new Qi2 charging stands, the 3-in-1 Foldable Qi2 Wireless Charging Stand and the 2-in-1 Foldable Qi2 Wireless Charging Stand.


One of the benefits of Qi2 is lower prices, but Satechi's Wireless Charging Stands are still expensive. The 3-in-1 model is priced at $130, likely because Satechi is still licensing Apple Watch charging technology from Apple, while the 2-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand is $80.


Compelled to Unlock With Fingerprint

Jon Brodkin:

The US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination does not prohibit police officers from forcing a suspect to unlock a phone with a thumbprint scan, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday. The ruling does not apply to all cases in which biometrics are used to unlock an electronic device but is a significant decision in an unsettled area of the law.


Payne’s Fifth Amendment claim “rests entirely on whether the use of his thumb implicitly related certain facts to officers such that he can avail himself of the privilege against self-incrimination,” the ruling said. Judges rejected his claim, holding “that the compelled use of Payne’s thumb to unlock his phone (which he had already identified for the officers) required no cognitive exertion, placing it firmly in the same category as a blood draw or fingerprint taken at booking.”

Joe Lancaster (via Hacker News):

From a practical standpoint, this is chilling. First of all, the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that police needed a warrant before drawing a suspect’s blood.


But forcibly gaining access to someone’s phone provides more than just their identity—it’s a window into their entire lives. Even cursory access to someone’s phone can turn up travel history, banking information, and call and text logs—a treasure trove of potentially incriminating information, all of which would otherwise require a warrant.

When they drafted the Fourth Amendment, the Founders drew on the history of “writs of assistance,” general warrants used by British authorities in the American colonies that allowed government agents to enter homes at will and look for anything disallowed. As a result, the Fourth Amendment requires search warrants based on probable cause and signed by a judge.

John Gruber:

People who don’t use Face/Touch ID are surely tempted to use a short easily-entered passcode for convenience, and anyone who disables Face/Touch ID while using a nontrivial passphrase is encountering a huge inconvenience every single time they unlock their phone. There’s no good reason to put yourself through that.

My advice is to internalize the shortcut to hard-lock an iPhone, which temporarily disables Face/Touch ID and requires the passcode to unlock: squeeze the side button and either of the volume buttons for a second or so.


Those concerned with civil liberties should presume, though, that the same court would rule similarly regarding cops unlocking a device by waving it in front of the suspect’s face. But with “Require Attention for Face ID” — which is on by default — Face ID won’t work if you keep your eyes closed, and I don’t think a court would allow police to force your eyes open. The trick to worry about is the police handing you back your phone, under the pretense that you can use it to make a call or something, and then yanking it from your hands after you unlock it.

John C. Welch:

“Ha, I locked my phone, you can’t make me put in my pin!”

<cops all turn off their body cams and draw their sticks>