Keep Your Personal Data Private on the Internet!

Learn how to prevent advertisers, hackers, and other parties from seeing
sensitive information with Take Control of Your Online Privacy by Joe Kissell.

What’s New with Apple TV

The Apple TV world had been pretty quiet until Apple’s March 25, 2019 special event that announced some major new things coming to the Apple TV:

  • A redesigned TV app, redubbed Apple TV, that’s built around services, integrates live TV, and will even be available on most popular smart TV platforms, such as Roku
  • Apple TV Channels, which will let you subscribe to à la carte cable channels and streaming services inside the Apple TV app
  • A new streaming service called Apple TV+, which has the backing of big-name celebrities like director Steven Spielberg, media queen Oprah Winfrey, and director J.J. Abrams
  • A new subscription game service called Apple Arcade

The new Apple TV app will be available in May, with Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade due later in the year. We’re currently evaluating the best way to update Take Control of Apple TV to best cover Apple’s strategic shift. In the meantime, you can read the TidBITS articles Apple Reveals Its Vision for TV and Apple Announces Apple Arcade Gaming Service.

In the here and now, iOS 12.2 has added some major Apple TV-related improvements:

  • You can now control an Apple TV via iOS Siri using commands like “Pause the bedroom Apple TV.”
  • AirPlay has been improved to play more nicely with multitasking.
  • When AirPlaying content from iOS to an Apple TV, playback controls show in Control Center and on the Lock screen.

Also, Apple has changed the Apple TV remote logo in Control Center and the Remote app to show a small Siri Remote instead of the Apple TV logo, undoubtedly to prevent confusion with the new Apple TV app.

To learn more, see the TidBITS article Apple Releases iOS 12.1.1, macOS 10.14.2, and tvOS 12.1.1.

Posted by Josh Centers (Permalink)

What’s New with iOS

There have been some welcome improvements in iOS 12 since the version 1.1 update of Take Control of iOS 12, but none that warrant a new edition of the book just yet.

iOS 12.1.1, released in December 2018, made it so that you no longer have to press the ellipsis button to swap cameras during a FaceTime call. It also allows for Live Photo capture during FaceTime calls. To learn more, see the TidBITS article Apple Releases iOS 12.1.1, macOS 10.14.2, and tvOS 12.1.1.

iOS 12.2, released in March 2019, included a number of substantial changes, such as:

  • The new Apple News+ service, which offers a variety of publications for $9.99 per month. See the TidBITS article Apple News+ Debuts With Magazines, Newspapers, and Web Sites.
  • The capability to control an Apple TV via iOS Siri using commands like “Pause the bedroom Apple TV.”
  • Customizable Downtime schedules in Screen Time.
  • You can now customize Safari’s Smart Search suggestions.
  • AirPlay has been improved to play more nicely with multitasking.
  • When AirPlaying content from iOS to an Apple TV, playback controls show in Control Center and on the Lock screen.
  • The Apple TV Control Center icon now looks like a Siri Remote instead of showing the Apple TV logo.

For more, see the TidBITS article iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4 Add Apple News+ and Enhance Apps.

Posted by Josh Centers (Permalink)

Slack Changes Desktop Login

In macOS and Windows, Slack offers both native desktop apps and a robust web app that works across major browsers. The native apps have a few distinct advantages I mention in the book over using the web app. However, Slack just removed a feature from the native desktop apps, that you would think makes the desktop app worse—but, in fact, makes it better.

You can no longer log into a workspace from a native desktop app. Previously, you could click the big + at the bottom of the native desktop app’s Workspaces sidebar, and you’d be prompted within the desktop app to enter a workspace subdomain name, and proceed through a log in or generate a magic link sent via email. (The magic link is a URL that, when clicked, opens the web app, which in turn triggers the Slack native desktop app and adds the team.)

As of March 11, 2019, however, the native desktop apps no longer allow a direct login. Click the + in the Workspaces sidebar, and the Slack desktop app opens a browser window that’s related to all workspaces for which you use the same email address. From there, you can either click on any workspace listed that you’re already logged into, saving time and effort, and the web app requests opening the native desktop app, which then adds the workspace with no further effort. You can also enter the Slack subdomain in the web app’s login page, and then proceed through a normal password (and second-factor) login entry or use a magic link.

You’d think this would be a worse experience because of the round trip. However, because the web app populates the login page with all your active workspaces, it actually reduces effort—it’s better than the native desktop login approach. Now, in the future, I would hope Slack could provide that same ease within a native app, but for now it’s a weird but positive step forward.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)

Josh Centers and Adam Engst Join Chuck Joiner on MacVoices

Take Control of Preview authors Josh Centers and Adam Engst joined Chuck Joiner of MacVoices for a discussion of their updated book and a bit of griping about Apple’s slipping software quality.

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

MacVoices Interviews Scholle McFarland About Her Book on Siri

Chuck Joiner of MacVoices interviewed Scholle McFarland about Take Control of Siri. Scholle and Chuck discuss her book, including some of Siri’s lesser-known features and how it can help in your home, car, and elsewhere.

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

Take Control of Siri—Videos

These videos illustrate techniques for using Siri, based on Take Control of Siri by Scholle McFarland:

How to Change Siri’s Voice

How to Use Siri with Reminders

10 Types of Questions You Can Ask Siri

How to Use Siri in the Kitchen

10 Ways to Use Siri on the Mac

How to Get Help with Siri in an Emergency

How to Use Siri in the Car

Joking Around with Siri

6 Cool Things You Can Do with Siri

How to Control Your Music with Siri

Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

Apple Developers Told 2FA for Apple ID Soon Required

Apple recently told software developers that two-factor authentication (2FA) will be required as of February 27, 2019, for Apple ID accounts used to log in to the company’s developer website, and which are used for other purposes to create identification and encryption documents. That’s a concern for some developers who haven’t enabled 2FA on the account or accounts they use for development purposes.

Apple requires that you use macOS or iOS to enable 2FA for an Apple ID, as I describe in Take Control of Your Apple ID in some detail (along with how to take steps so that you set up 2FA with the right recovery details in case you have a problem with the account or someone tries to hack into it). That requires a given Mac or iOS device has that Apple ID used as its iCloud login account.

But some developers use one or more Apple IDs for development that they don’t employ with iCloud on any device. They were left wondering how they could possibly enable 2FA, even though they can use telephone-based SMS or automated-voice codes to confirm logins after setting it up.

Fortunately, Take Control of Your Apple ID has the answer (in the section “Set up 2FA Without a Device”). Here’s a brief rundown:

  1. Set up a separate login account on a Mac, even one you don’t routinely use.
  2. Log in to iCloud via the iCloud preference pane using the Apple ID you want to upgrade to 2FA.
  3. Make sure to set at least a couple phone numbers to use as verification codes in the process of set up.

Now, whenever you log into a developer resource or any Apple site or service that requires that Apple ID, Apple will attempt to send a verification code to the macOS account you logged in with, which won’t do anything. Instead, click or tap “Didn’t get a verification code” and then you can choose to receive an SMS or voice-based code to complete the login (as explained in depth in the section “Log In with 2FA by SMS or Voice Call”).

Posted by Glenn Fleishman (Permalink)

Playing Mother-May-I in Mojave’s Security & Privacy Preference Pane

Have you noticed the occasional—or frequent—dialog in Mojave, asking for permission for some app to take some action? Dialogs I’ve seen include Skype wanting to use my camera and microphone, SuperDuper! requesting Full Disk Access, and Keyboard Maestro asking to control BBEdit. These requests are caused by enhancements in Mojave aimed at improving your privacy. In some cases, when you see a dialog like this, you can simply click OK to allow access, but in other cases, you must go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Privacy, unlock the pane using the lock icon at the lower left of the pane, select the desired category in the left-hand list, and then enable the app at the right.

Here’s info about a few of the privacy categories, listed in the order they appear in the Privacy sub-pane:

  • Location Services isn’t a new category, but just like in iOS, for an app to know where your Mac is, that app must have permission. (If you’re running an app-like service within a Web browser, like Yelp, the Web browser needs permission!)

  • Accessibility is for utilities that need to control your Mac in some way, such as by expanding text, running a macro, launching an app, or managing windows.

  • Full Disk Access is for apps that need special access to your drive, such as many backup utilities and syncing services; certain Apple apps, including Home, Mail, Messages, and Safari; and even Terminal. (For more about Terminal, see OSXDaily’s article Fix Terminal “Operation not permitted” Error in MacOS Mojave.) There’s a special procedure for adding an app to this category: unlock the Privacy sub-pane, select the Full Disk Access category from the left-hand list, click the + button under the list of allowed apps, and then navigate to the app you want to allow. (Alternatively, drag the app’s icon from the Finder to the Full Disk Access list.)

  • Automation allows an app to control certain other apps. You’ll most likely encounter it with macro-making utilities like Keyboard Maestro.

That’s all folks! Of course, if you download a game from a developer you’ve never heard of before and the game requests Full Disk Access, you should click Deny. Or if an app wants to use your camera but you don’t know why, you should click Deny. But, if it’s an app you expect making a sensible request, like Skype wanting access to your microphone, or it’s an app from a developer whose reputation you are confident of, then you’ll want to allow access so the app can work properly.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

macOS Updates Now Happen in System Preferences

In previous recent versions of macOS—such as 10.12 Sierra and 10.13 High Sierra—to configure how your Mac would handle downloading and installing updated software from Apple’s App Store, you’d go to System Preferences > App Store. And, to actually install an update, you’d open the App Store app, select Updates in the toolbar, view a list of pending updates, and install them as desired. (A quick way to open the App Store app is to choose it from the Apple menu.) This worked for both macOS updates and individual app updates.

Mojave handles updates slightly differently. The App Store system preference pane has been replaced with a new pane, called Software Update. Software Update offers the same customization options that were previously available in the App Store pane. Software Update is also where you now go to install macOS updates, such as updating from Mojave 10.14.1 to 10.14.2. But to install an app update from the App Store in Mojave, you’ll work in the App Store app—in the App Store app, click Updates in the left-hand sidebar to begin.

Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)