Hard Drive ripoffs, new Apple TV channels and more
This week in the MacNN forums, Administrator "reader50" started a conversation about hard drive prices after making an observation about how generic hard drive prices haven't dropped in price the way they should have over the last 4 years. Yesterday Junior Member "anselm" had a few questions about using FileVault in OS X 10.9.
Testing continues slow advance
A little over a week after the last one, Apple has issued a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The code is identified as build 13F24. Areas of testing focus remain unchanged, and include Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt support, and USB/USB smart cards.
stubborn files, encryption keys and more
Yesterday, Mac Elite "jeff k" took to the MacNN forums looking for assistance with trying to figure out why a stubborn file won't clear out of the trash can. Mac Elite "rotuts" sparked a conversation about apps that can be used to catalog hard drive file usage by date.
Developers, testers must use beta 5 or later to continue testing new features
In something of an unusual move, Apple has sent emails to developers informing them that they must keep up to date with iOS 8 and Yosemite betas if they want to continue testing new features, particularly the CloudKit functionality that is part of the forthcoming iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library and MailDrop technologies. The change, which could be due to a change in iCloud sandboxing, will also impact Safari histories and call histories. Developers must be on Beta 5 of either platform in order to continue working with CloudKit.
Units sold between first launch and January 2013 have defect, may be replaced
On Friday, Apple announced that it had discovered that "a very small percentage" of first-run iPhone 5 units -- those sold between September of 2012 and January of 2013 -- have a defect that results in unusually short battery life, and have instituted a program to replace the battery. Users will need to bring the units to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or retail Apple Store; however, customers should be aware that Apple will send the unit off to a facility to be inspected.
encryption, crashes and hot Macs
This week, MacNN forum-goers discuss a wide range of topics including encryption software, consistent crashes, and how to cool down a hot Mac. One Fresh-Faced Recruit was wondering if there was some kind of one-click encryption solution that could encrypt a file before it is uploaded to cloud storage, and decrypt it when it is needed again. Moderator "Rumor" reported their third crash in one day, and was hoping fellow forum goers could help troubleshoot and get to the root cause of this problem.
Affected services included Photos, Keychain, Find My iPhone
Many Apple online services -- and "some" percentage of users -- were caught in a brief but severe outage on Thursday, according to the company's official system status page. This included every iCloud service, such as Photos, device backups, Keychain, Mail, Documents in the Cloud, and web apps. Also impacted were Back to My Mac, Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, and iMovie Theater.
Polls Facebook group
A DC-based legal firm, Whitfield Bryson & Mason, is considering a possible class-action lawsuit over graphics problems with the 2011 MacBook Pro. In a post to a Facebook group organized around the issue, the firm says it has "commenced an investigation leading us to your community." The firm adds that while other posts are providing information, it wants people to fill out a survey to "determine if any legal claims may exist." The company's track record includes suits against companies like Google and Lenovo.
AppleScript, multi-platform hooks make spamming easier
Over 30 percent of all mobile spam messages are now being sent through Apple's iMessage system, claims Tom Landesman, a security researcher at Cloudmark. Many of the messages are pushing fake luxury products, such as sunglasses and handbags. Landesman explains that spammers are -- or were -- taking advantage of several aspects of Apple's ecosystem. However, Apple has responded to the charge, and said that some countermeasures have been implemented.
Blu-ray support a focus
Apple has issued minor updates to Final Cut Pro and two of its companion apps, Compressor and Motion. Final Cut has been updated to v10.1.3, primarily solving problems burning Blu-ray discs or creating a Blu-ray disk image. It also ensures that color corrections are kept when pasted between clips during Share, and that effects applied to clips in the Browser in previous versions are retained when clips are added to the timeline. Other fixes target XML round-trip imports, automatic library backups, and skimming growing files in the Browser.
Gatekeeper added to testing list
Apple has posted a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 for developers and AppleSeed participants, identified as build 13F18. Testing areas remain largely the same -- including Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt, and USB/USB smart cards -- but with the addition of a significant change to Gatekeeper, Apple's app-signing security feature. "Signatures created with OS X version 10.8.5 or earlier ('v1 signatures') are obsoleted and will no longer be recognized by Gatekeeper," Apple reminds the developer audience. "To ensure your apps will run on updated versions of OS X, they must be signed using the codesign tool on OS X version 10.9 or later ('v2 signatures')."
Workaround involves manually launching dispatcher service
Yesterday's Developer Preview 6 release of OS X Yosemite is breaking Parallels Desktop 9, users report. After DP6 is installed, Desktop 9 is simply refusing to run, exactly the type of issue beta testers routinely encounter. The problem appears to involve the dispatcher service failing to load, as a temporary solution involves forcing the service to start via a Terminal command. This again has been seen in various other apps not yet updated for the forthcoming Yosemite.
Final release date still nebulous
[Updated with notable changes] Apple is distributing its sixth betas of OS X Yosemite and Xcode 6 to developers. Changes have been largely minor and cosmetic thus far, centering around new appearances rather than fucntionality, and like previous seeds, the updates concentrate on performance and stability fixes. The last betas were released on August 4.
housekeeping, rain damage and a new hope for an old Mac
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Topaz" sparked a conversation about the best way to clear redundant files and free up hard drive space without accidentally removing essential files. Earlier this week, Administrator "ghporter" was looking for software that could detect duplicate files as he has found an excessive amount of duplicate images on his computer that he would like to remove.
Apple looking into receipt claim, but questions raised in victim's story
An Apple customer at a store in Portland, Oregon is claiming that his receipt contained a homophobic slur. Adam Catanzarite, an LBTGQ activist and HIV prevention specialist, received a receipt for a pair of Earpods that listed his email address (which he had declined to give) as "firstname.lastname@example.org." More than a month after the incident -- and following a claim that a promised refund didn't occur -- Catanzarite published a photo of the receipt on Facebook and called for a boycott.
Investigation showed no danger to Apple workers, but risks too great
Thanks to the work of activists in raising awareness of the potential risks of some chemicals used in the production process of its products, Apple has announced that it is now restricting suppliers from using n-hexane and benzene in the final assembly process, even though the company's own investigation showed there was no direct danger of contamination for Apple workers. Because of the potential effects, the chemicals (used mostly for cleaning) are no longer permitted.
Focus areas remain same as second release
Apple is now seeding a third beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The software has a 13F14 build number, and focus areas identical to the previous beta. Developers are asked to test Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt support, and USB/USB smart cards.
Some laptops suffering from crashes, graphics corruptions
Apple currently has no plans to replace 2011 MacBook Pros suffering from crashes and graphics corruptions involving AMD GPUs, say AppleInsider sources linked to Apple's repair network. Lacking any official guidance, lower-level Apple workers are said to be directing customers to third-party repair outfits. Those firms are reportedly seeing a surge of broken systems, which has led to Apple escalating requests for deeper investigation, and at least some repair network managers being notified.
Bugs in Yosemite
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to discuss bugs they have found in the developer preview and beta versions of Yosemite. Today "angelmb" started a thread looking for help trying to figure out what keeps causing "Circus Ponies NoteBook" to crash, and they included a complete crash report.
VoIP service continues coping with backlash
A version of Skype compatible with OS X Leopard is in development, a company spokesperson now says. "We have a Skype version for Mac OS X 10.5 users which will soon be available for download," the person states. The release will not however be compatible with anything older, such as OS X Tiger.
Repeated outages in space of a month
"Some" iCloud Mail users have been unable to receive messages since about noon Eastern time, according to Apple's system status page. Apple hasn't identified the percentage of users affected, a cause, or when issues might be resolved. The system tracker doesn't usually provide the latter two pieces of information.
peripheral connections, RAID upgrades and more
Today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "rotuts" explained that he is getting a new iMac next week and was wondering what connectors would be necessary to run an external monitor off the iMac. Earlier this week, Grizzled Veteran "PHoynak" was looking for the best way to increase the storage in his RAID setup.
Minimum Intel processor, 10.6 requirement follows eight years of updates
As a confirmation of earlier reports that Skype was locking out users of very old Macs with OS versions below 10.6 Snow Leopard, Microsoft on Thursday issued a memo that confirmed and clarified that it no longer supported the nearly seven-year-old OS X 10.5.8 or any lower releases on the Mac, and that Skype's service now requires a minimum of an Intel processor and 10.6 or later in order to work. How long Snow Leopard will be supported is unclear.
Subscriptions should finally update properly
Apple has released Mac and Windows versions of iTunes 11.3.1, a minor update of its media software. The latest version deals with two bugs related to podcasts, foremost being one that prevented subscriptions from being updated. The second caused episode list browsing to become unresponsive.
Thunderbolt added to listing of testing areas
Apple has begun distributing a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers, available via the Mac App Store or the Mac Developer Center. The code is listed as build 13F12. In addition to Safari, graphics, and USB/USB smart card issues highlighted in the first beta, Apple is now also asking users to test out Thunderbolt connections.
Possibility of Leopard-compatible update uncertain
Microsoft-owned Skype has, without warning, cut off support for users with OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or earlier, reports say. The company has given instructions on how to update the client software, but users say they don't appear to fix the problem. A spokesperson explains that the company doesn't "currently have a build that OS X Leopard (10.5) users could use."
Forthcoming feature will see 'more downtime' than in previous betas, but files should be retained
Apple has sent out an email to registered participants in the AppleSeed beta-testing program, most of whom are currently working with the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite, that those who opted to engage the iCloud Drive feature may see "more downtime" than has been previously seen. Still in development, Apple's iCloud Drive is expected to be included in the formal release of Yosemite and iOS 8, and allows users to store any kind of document or image/video file, as well as enable other features.
hard drive, slideshows, Illustrator and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums Grizzled Veteran "chasg" was asking fellow members if they knew what brand hard drive their 24-inch iMac came with, as they want to upgrade and heard that it would need to be a "like for like" swap. "Thorzdad" asks if there is a way to re-start a slideshow after it has been paused, restarting it at the exact moment that it had been paused.
Phones must be examined before replacements are authorized
(Updated with European news) As predicted, Apple Stores have officially begun replacing iPhone 5s screens. Accounts indicate that the procedure can take as little as an hour, and is rolling out across the US, although it may not be available at every location. Previously, if an Apple Store didn't replace a phone outright it would ship the unit out for service, something that could take several days.
Apple TV, OS X Server, Configurator get matching updates
Apple is now seeding its fifth betas of iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and Xcode to developers, as well as a preview of OS X Server 4.0, and fourth betas of new Apple TV firmware and Configurator 1.7. Relatively little is known about their content so far, although notes for the iOS 8 beta add that "spirometry data types are now available in HealthKit;" spirometry is the measurement of lung capacity. Xcode has received Swift-related improvements involving ranges and easier scripting.
iOS 8 questions and discussion
With the Beta release of Yosemite in the hands of a million Mac owners, and questions about that subsiding, the next big question in the MacNN forums is about the future of iOS 8. Forum-goers discuss the future of the Mac desktop in two different threads, one asking if a consumer Mac Pro might surface, and the other questioning the possibility of a Retina iMac.
Stores receiving 'large quantities' of 5s screens
US and Canadian Apple Stores will finally start conducting iPhone 5s screen replacements on or around August 4th, sources say. Some US stores have been piloting the service for the past several months, but now Apple Stores are reportedly receiving "large quantities" of replacement screens. iPhone 5c screen services began in January.
Testing concentrates on Safari, USB, graphics bugs
Apple has started seeding the first beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The code is listed as built 13F7, and available through the Developer Center. Users are asked to focus testing on just a handful of areas, including Safari, graphics, and USB, including smart cards.
Yosemite Beta pros and cons
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss the things they like and dislike about Yosemite now that the beta version has been released to the public in a thread started last week by one Mac Elite who wondered why no one seemed excited about this update to the OS. "Does anyone know how much amperage the iPhone 6 will require?" asks one Fresh-Faced Recruit to the forums.
Expansion campaign continues
In keeping with expansion efforts made during the past year, Apple has brought its AppleCare+ plans for the iPhone and iPad to Mexico and Sweden. Mexican plans cost 1,599 pesos, or about $123. Swedish plans are 799 kronor, or $117. In the US AppleCare+ coverage is $99.
Why isn't anyone so excited about Yosemite?
This week in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "PeterParker" asks "Why isn't anyone excited about Yosemite?", to which a variety of answers ranging from "I'm ecstatic" to "Yosemite is...eh" have been provided. Dedicated MacNNer "gregfripp" is trying to fix something in his dock, but is unable to do so, and has turned to the forums looking for advice.
iTunes and App Store difficulties already resolved
[Updated with spreading service issues] Apple online services have been affected by a pair of problems on Thursday, the company's system status page indicates. Still ongoing is a glitch with iCloud Mail, resulting in "slower than normal response" for some users. Trouble appears to have begun shortly after 2PM Eastern.
AutoFill, compatibility main areas of testing focus
Apple is distributing new developer betas of Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for OS X Mountain Lion. In release notes for both, the company is asking developers to test AutoFill, extension compatibility, and "general website compatibility." The updates' main feature though will be WebGL, making it possible to run 3D content without third-party plugins.
Can sometimes fail to install, leaving computer unusable
A firmware update, issued on Monday for "Mid-2011" MacBook Air models running OS X 10.9.2 and later, apparently has a bug in either the code or the downloaded file, which is causing reports of system crashes and occasionally a failure to install properly, leaving MBA owners unable to boot the machine. The purpose of the firmware update was to correct two "wake from sleep" issues that affected only "mid-2011" MBAs running 10.9.2 or later. Some users have found that an SMC reset can restore the units to functional status.
Mac Pro for consumers?
Today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "PeterParker" was asking fellow forum-goers if they thought that Apple would ever create a Mac Pro in the sub-2K price range for people who aren't quite "pros" who want that style of desktop. Today, Forum Regular "Nassifer" was trying to determine why their notebook was so slow after doing a complete restore to 10.9.4, and turned to the forums looking for advice.
Fixes an issue that caused fans to ramp up, also cures wake-from-sleep issues
On Monday, Apple posted an EFI update specifically aimed at the mid-2011 model MacBook Airs that are running OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks) or later. The update addresses two wake-from-sleep issues: one in which the computer would take longer than expected to wake from sleep, and the other (more rare) issue of cooling fans ramping up to full speed on waking from sleep. Owners must meet both conditions (mid-2011 MBA, and running Mavericks 10.9.2 or later) for the update to apply.
Will delete photos, videos stored in iCloud Photo Library, email attachments, more
Apple has informed developers testing both of the forthcoming Apple platform releases, iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, that it will again delete content stored on the CloudKit database serving both platforms tomorrow, July 22. Although details were not listed this time, the effect is expected to be the same as the previous "wipe" of the database, which took place on July 7. Anyone testing the iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library or Mail Drop attachment features will see their cloud-stored data destroyed.
OS X gets iTunes 12, iOS 8 gets new Tips app
(Updated with other beta releases, more Yosemite changes) Apple is now seeding its fourth betas of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite to developers. Perhaps the most significant change is in the latter, which includes the first beta of iTunes 12. The updated media player uses a flatter, streamlined design more in keeping with Yosemite, and is the first version to support Family Sharing, something also present in iOS 8. While Yosemite is still only accessible to developers, sources claim that the first public beta could go live later this month, after Apple has put more polish on it.
SuperDuper vs. TimeMachine debate continues
The end of the week has been rather quiet in the MacNN forums, however forum members continue to debate the best way to backup data, with some saying SuperDuper (or "cloning" programs like it) are a better solution, others stating the best is Time Machine due to it highly self-regulating nature, and some taking the middle road with a "why not both?" approach. Earlier this week, Fresh-Faced Recruit "Rolando_jose" asked fellow forum-goers if it was possible to control Keynote using the Keynote remote from another iPad, for example, controlling the iPad Air with the iPad mini.
Linux gets better Chrome App Launcher
Google has issued Chrome 36 updates for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. The new version is mostly a maintenance release, making stability, performance, and security fixes. It does however implement several cosmetic changes across desktop platforms, for instance improving rich notifications with a "flatter" look, and giving Incognito mode a new tab page (below) that's cleaner and easier to read. Likewise, the Chrome App Launcher for Linux has been revamped.
SuperDuper vs. Time Machine
Today in the MacNN forums, Dedicated MacNNer "akent35" started a thread defending SuperDuper as a backup solution because every time this has come up in the past it starts a "war," and this time he believes he has reasonable evidence to prove this is a superior way to do backups. Yesterday Moderator "andi*pandi" was trying to figure out why Siri seems to have forgotten how to access contact information.
No ETA for normal service
Apple's iCloud Mail is currently down for a handful of users, according to Apple's system status tracker. Issues appear to have started after 4PM Eastern on Sunday, and are still ongoing, but are only affecting 0.1 percent of the userbase. So far, there is no ETA from Apple for when the glitch might be fixed.
bugs Apple should fix for Yosemite
This week has been rather quiet in the MacNN forums, however members continue to discuss and debate a wide range of topics. Earlier this week, Mac Elite "And.reg" started a thread discussing bugs and weird issues that need to be fixed in Yosemite before it becomes a public release this fall. Yesterday, "chasg" was trying to determine why his iMac wasn't booting from an external disk, and turned to the forums looking for advice.
Mavericks Applescript Problem
This week, MacNN Forum members assist others with troubleshooting Applescript problems, updating Flash issues with Safari, and more. One Fresh-Faced Recruit has been having problems with an Applescript after upgrading to Mavericks from Mountain Lion, and he hopes that others might be able to assist in figuring out why. Today, "jeff k" was asking fellow forum-goers if they could figure out why Safari would keep asking him to do a Flash update after he has already updated Flash.
US, UK, and Russia apparently immune
Over the weekend, a number of iOS and OS X users have started reporting glitches with Apple's official Calendar app. Affected people will see holidays from other regions appearing on their personal calendar, such as UK holidays in Ireland, or Mexican, Canadian, and even Hong Kong holidays in Lithuania. Some countries appear to be immune to the bug, including the US, the UK, and Russia.