New version compatible with OS X System Integrity Protection
Developer BinaryFruithas announced announce the release of DriveDx 1.4.1, its solution for SSD and hard drive health diagnostics and monitoring. The new version brings external drive enclosure SMART diagnostic testing on OS X El Capitan (10.11) -- all previous solutions are incompatible with new OS X System Integrity Protection (SIP) functionality.
One More Thing rolls on for its seventh episode
Nobody has ever thought this before when they typed a filename ending in 007. Nobody. Please join the roguishly handsome William Gallagher –– oh, you're never going to check –– and suave Malcolm Owen as they get down into OS X El Capitan in earnest. Then there is the sheer sea of news from Adobe that Malcolm's going to explain and Tim Cook's visibility award that he, William and you are going to applaud.
Teething problems abound, like any new major OS release
As predicted, every release of Apple's mac operating system brings user trials and tribulations. El Capitan has its share. While overall, we're very pleased with the update here at MacNN and have already discussed five reasons to jump to El Capitan, there are nonetheless perfectly good reasons to wait for the imminent ".1" update (which is already in beta testing). As a partial counterpoint to our five reasons to immediately jump to El Capitan, here are five reasons to wait.
You're busy, it takes time, but you'll be glad
There's is no doubt that you have at least a little interest in your Mac and OS X, or you wouldn't have read to the end of this sentence. Yet, it's equally sure that you're busy, it's certainly sure that updating will take longer than you think, and for once it is less obviously sure that you should do it. Trust us on this one, though: the upgrade is worth your time.
We thought of the title first!
Hand on heart, we started with the episode title and tried to work backwards but failed. This week's episode does indeed feature the new OS X with the daft name but it also features some Android thing with a sillier one. Unless Google has named its next Android operating system Marshmallow as a nod to Veronica Mars: we'd respect that.
Apple already working on patch, potential mischief would be limited in scope
A security researcher planning a presentation at the Virus Bulletin Conference in Prague on Thursday has revealed that he has discovered a relatively simple way to bypass OS X's Gatekeeper security feature, potentially allowing a malicious file buried within a trusted application free reign to run unobstructed. The exploit could be used to steal passwords by modifying a legitimate app that already has Gatekeeper approval, for example. Apple is already aware of the issue and working on a fix.
No new details or changes listed in latest update, public release possible
Apple on Tuesday posted a second beta of OS X El Capitan (10.11.1) on the eve of the release of the 10.11 version to consumers. The new beta is currently developer-only, but may be followed up with a public beta version for pre-registered public testers. Those with developer accounts can get the new beta through Software Update or the Apple Developer Center, but no new features, changes, or specific bugs fixed from the previous beta have been listed yet. The new beta comes 11 days after the first one.
Updates policies on News, ad-supported services, iOS 9, OS X services
Some questions to ask yourself before upgrading to El Capitan
As a reminder, tomorrow is the day that Apple rolls out OS X 10.11 El Capitan to the masses. The day will be filled with Internet hue and cry of slammed servers, botched installs, and failed upgrades. A small quantity of the ones who succeeded will gloat about it, with the vast majority remaining silent. It's going to be a crazy day, but it doesn't have to be so painful! Join MacNN as we talk about a quick checklist to do before the upgrade process even begins, and a brief discussion if you should upgrade tomorrow at all.
Apple A9 SoC as fast as Intel Core M, opens up possibility of OS X on iPhone
Early benchmarks show that the third-generation, 64-bit ARM-based Apple A9 SoC powering the new iPhone 6s offers performance in line with the x86-based Intel Core M processor used in the 12-inch Retina MacBook. This is not surprising, as the second-gen 64-bit Apple A8X that was the heart of the iPad 2 was not far behind in our GeekBench 3 cross-platform benchmark testing as part of our 12-inch Retina MacBook review from earlier this year. What this means is that the iPhone 6s is capable of running Apple's full OS X, which powers its Macs -- but just because it can, should Apple release mobile devices powered by OS X?
Final public version of 10.11 expected to arrive on September 30
In a confusing move, Apple has released the first public beta version of OS X 10.11.1 El Capitan to pre-registered developer and public beta testers -- nine days ahead of the expected public release of OS X 10.11. The public beta follows the first developer version by less than a week, and includes a revamped Mission Control, support for Split View, new emoji characters (including a much-requested "middle finger" icon), a vastly-improved Notes application, and other features.
Update beta appears ahead of official launch of next OS X upgrade
On Thursday, amidst a number of other releases, Apple launched its first beta for the first update of its yet-to-be-released OS X 10.11 El Capitan upgrade. Known as 10.11.1 and with a build number of 15B17c, the beta is for registered developers only and focuses on improving the "stability, compatibility, and security" of the Mac. A "golden master" (final) candidate of OS X 10.11 was issued last week, well ahead of the official September 30 launch date.
Clear the decks, batten the hatches, its going to be a moderate-to-very bumpy ride
As it is coming round once again to the time when major OS X and iOS upgrades are due (iOS 9 out now, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan is coming at the end of the month -- watchOS 2 has been slightly delayed due to the last-minute discovery of a showstopper bug), it seems like a good time to review tips on how to smoothly transition from one version of an Apple OS to the next without undue pain and gnashing of teeth.
Improves VoiceOver support, adds two-factor iTunes authentication, more
In addition to iOS 9, Apple has updated its iTunes program for OS X to version 12.3 to support the new iOS release, tweak some aspects of the "love" rating, improve iTunes accessibility with VoiceOver, and add support for two-factor authentication for Apple IDs -- along with the usual "improvements to overall stability and performance." While any changes or fixes to the paid Apple Music service or its relationship to iTunes Match are not mentioned, fixes for Up Next and Recently Played are included.
First beta version of iOS 9.1 also distributed to developers
Following its media event in San Francisco, Apple also released a slew of final betas for its three leading operating systems: iOS 9, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and watchOS 2. The iOS 9 "golden master," which will be identical to the released code unless major bugs are found, also includes the first developer beta of iOS 9.1. In addition, Apple has notified developers that they may obtain the revamped Apple TV units in advance of the general public for testing the new tvOS and features of the device.
Does no harm, but could be used by others to gain access to password database
The latest version of the adware toolbar malware known as Genieo now has the ability to access the OS X Keychain without user knowledge, thanks to privileges gained during the initial install where the user willingly uses their admin password. Though the program itself does not use the technique to cause any malicious harm on its own, the trick will likely be copied and used by others to possibly compromise the security of the OS X password manager. The technique exploits no hack or flaw, but abuses existing privileges.
Free upgrade is expected later this fall, may be announced at September 9 event
On Monday, Apple updated both its developer and public betas of the next major upgrade of OS X, 10.11 El Capitan, with identical build releases, continuing a recent pattern of making the developer and public betas the same. The new build, 15A279b, comes 11 days after the last release, and just 10 days prior to Apple's September 9 media event, though El Capitan may not see a release at that event.
Public version was briefly released on Tuesday before being pulled
On Wednesday, Apple re-released a fifth public beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan for registered public testers, and debuted a slightly different built as the seventh developer beta of the forthcoming OS X upgrade. Public testers got build number 15A262e, while developers received 15A263e -- suggesting that the new public beta version is identical to the one accidentally released -- and then pulled -- on Tuesday.
Updates of iOS, watchOS may follow; latest version currently developer-only
On Tuesday, Apple released a fifth beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan for public beta testers, then quickly pulled it. The new release came exactly two weeks after the previous one, but was curiously not preceded by a similar seventh developer beta, which may be part of the reason the update was removed. A developer beta, along with a public-tester version, will likely be re-released soon. Currently, El Capitan is expected to be released sometime in September, alongside the latest iPhones, iPads, and iOS 9.
Update follows sixth developer beta released yesterday, minor tweaks noticed
As reported yesterday, the sixth developer beta for OS X 10.11 El Capitan has given way to a fourth public beta, available to pre-registered testers who signed up through the Appleseed program. Both of the recent betas, which share the build number 15A244d, are said to have very minor tweaks and under-the-hood fixes, including a new General icon in System Preferences, and at least one new wallpaper. Some notable flaws remain unaddressed, however.
Latest build may not have any notable changes beyond bug fixes
Exactly one week after the last developer beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple has issued another update to the forthcoming OS X upgrade, which is scheduled to appear this fall, and likely to debut some time in September. The previous beta, 15A235d, did not list any significant changes or fixes, but focused primarily on small UI tweaks and bug fixes. The new beta, build 15A244d, is likely to have followed the same path.
Vox straddles the thin line between brilliant and unusable
This is the most beautiful, even mesmerising app and where you always want to shout loudly about great software, we wanted to stand on desks and bellow that Vox 2.5.1 is a gorgeous music player and service. Unfortunately, we more stood by desks arguing over it. It was 50/50 between one side of MacNN saying it is stunning with some problems and the other half saying those problems were just too much. Both sides are right: we long to recommend this to you but if we do, we have to prepare you for frustrations.
Follows same two-week schedule as iOS 8.4.1, release date unknown
Following an earlier release of a second beta of iOS 8.4.1 for developers, Apple late on Thursday released both the second developer beta and a public beta version of the next minor update to OS X Yosemite, 10.10.5. The new build, 14F19a, comes two weeks after the first beta, and has no new information on the usual assortment of tweaks and bug fixes such releases usually entail. The final version of the update is expected ahead of the next major release, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which should appear in September.
Release is modeled on fifth developer beta, issued on Monday
About 48 hours after offering a fifth developer beta of this fall's OS X 10.11 upgrade, Apple has made a "public beta" version available to registered testers, just a week after the last public beta, suggesting that more-or-less weekly updates will continue to appear through the testing process, a significant increase from the Yosemite public beta releases. The latest beta has the same focus areas as the previous beta.
Releases follow latest developer betas, still have plenty of issues
As predicted yesterday, Apple has created public beta versions from the latest developer betas of OS X 10.11 El Capitan and iOS 9 for testing with registered testers. The betas are the second public incarnation, but are actually based on the fourth developer betas. Both upgrades, available to the public for free this fall, are still in early stages, and still have a long list of problem areas and issues. Testers are strongly cautioned to heed Apple's warnings about beta software.
No new changes listed at present, bug fixes and tweaks continue
Apple on Tuesday released new betas for the next updates to the present iOS and OS X versions, even as it concurrently tests its next major upgrades to both. The updates, iOS 8.4.1 and OS X 10.10.5, are likely to arrive before the major grades OS X 10.11 and iOS 9, which are anticipated for the fall. The new betas, intended only for developers, do not list any new changes, but the seed notes for 10.10.5 suggest it "improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac."
Thousands of Macs can be managed from central software server
Parallels today unveiled Parallels Mac Management 4.0 for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which extends Microsoft SCCM functionality to manage and control Mac computers. The new version of Parallels Mac Management adds the capability for IT administrators to create OS X images which can be customized via Microsoft SCCM, or deploy a single OS X image to all users universally.
Revision corrects issues, crashing with 32-bit applications
One day after releasing the first public beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple has issued a supplemental update to fix a problem that caused crashes and instability with 32-bit apps. For most users, the instability issues introduced in older apps by the public beta was among the worst problem encountered in initial use. Apple has promised to quickly fix the flaw yesterday.
Public beta begins despite long list of issues, problems
Apple has made available public betas for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, according to reports. The new software, based on the issue-laden third developer beta released yesterday, is available to users previously registered with the company's Beta Software Program. While the company normally waits until there is a fairly stable developer beta existing before issuing the first public beta, today's releases are fraught with issues and missing functionality.
New version brings Time Machine fixes, Profile Manager update
Hidden inside Apple's flood of releases last week, the Cupertino manufacturer released a point update to OS X Server for OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite. The server package that adds functionality to the base OS X "client" has been incremented to version 4.1.3, and brings security fixes, stability improvements, and importantly improved reliability of Time Machine backups and restores.
Sometimes you get the news, sometimes news gets you
Happy post-Fourth of July! We hope you emerged from the holiday unburnt from the sun, the grill, or explosives! Today marks our second iteration of a new column about the stories that entertained us, informed us, or just plain tickled us in the course of the week. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game. Read on for thoughts on the events of the week in the tech world, including a bevy of Apple Music stories, just as many OS X tales, and some goofy stories from around the web.
BlueStacks emulator allows Android apps to be used from Mac desktop
BlueStacks has released a completed version of its BlueStacks for Mac app, allowing for Android apps and games to be played from OS X. Originally launched in 2012 in alpha but only being finalized now, the BlueStacks App Player for Mac emulates the same functionality offered by Android tablets and smartphones, but on the desktop, and without the need for users to own an Android device in the first place.
Next version of Safari, coming in 10.11, will offer new features
Among a storm of major updates, Apple has also issues updated versions of Safari for the three versions of OS X currently supported: Mountain Lion (10.8), Mavericks (10.9), and Yosemite (10.10). In addition to the updated Safari versions (6.2.7, 7.1.7, and 8.0.7 respectively), the company also issued the first developer beta of the forthcoming Safari 9.0, which will accompany the release of OS X 10.11 this fall, and a pair of EFI updates.
New update excises troublesome DiscoveryD service, much more
Make customized B&W images that do more than remove color
Most people who don't work with the medium of black and white (B&W) photography regularly often assume that a B&W photo is simply one in which the color elements have been removed. Nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to being able to change to emphasis and tone of a B&W photo by using color filters, there are as many "looks," styles, film stocks, and manipulations one can make to change the feel of an image in B&W as there are in color. MacPhun's Tonality app is a program that truly "gets" this.
Second betas feature tweaks, but still have numerous bugs, issues
[Updated with new info on watchOS 2 beta, hidden feature in iOS 9 beta] Apple on Tuesday launched the second betas of its next major OS upgrades, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS 2.0. The developer-only betas still have a long list of issues, and do not include any new features compared to the first beta, issued two weeks ago during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. All three betas offer some fixes for issues seen in the first betas, but continue to have problem and non-functional areas.
Sixteen years with cats and Californians
Get this: we're now in the 16th year of OS X, whereas the original Mac operating system that it replaced officially lasted only 15 years. Neither fact is entirely true, as the first OS X was for servers rather than general users like us. Also the old operating system stuck around for quite a while, but look at that. OS X started half the Mac's lifetime ago, and some of us still regard it as the new one.
Releases now set for before launch of Apple Music service on June 30
On Tuesday, Apple released the fourth developer betas of iOS 8.4 and OS X 10.10.4, the next updates for the current versions of iOS and OS X. As with previous releases, the new betas focus on bug fixes and other enhancements for each of the two platforms, while the iOS beta continues to feature the preliminary Apple Music application, which will replace the current Music app but continue its functions with a revamped UI that also includes an optional subscription component. In addition, the company has released its first beta of Xcode 7.
Update will focus on experience, performance gains
As part of the announcements made during the WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple has unveiled both the name and focus of the next OS X version, 10.11, now known as "El Capitan." As previously reported, the focus with the next update, scheduled for release this fall, will focus on improvements to the user experience as well as honing performance from the current 10.10, Yosemite. Although improvements are the focus, a few new features are also included.
The handy, powerful but confusing Finder feature
For 12 years we've had the sidebar: a list of folders at the left of every Finder window we open; you would think we'd understand it by now. Yet, new Mac users think all their music and movies are in every window, and get confused when they try to drag it to a backup. Old hands instinctively realize it's more like a menu, but still we wonder why we sometimes get a new window open that doesn't have the sidebar at all.
Conditions needed to make exploit work are untenable, but possible
A new vulnerability -- albeit one that is extremely unlikely to happen "in the wild" -- has been discovered by security researcher Pedro Vilaca, where a flaw in pre-2014 Macs could conceivably allow an attacker access to a portion of OS X that has access to the Mac's Open Firmware and EFI (what PC users might call the BIOS of the machine) and possibly exploit other vulnerabilities to perhaps overwrite it with malicious firmware.
Makes transcribing interviews less painful
We start the day thankful. We're running this Summer Project about researching, writing and publishing books and in looking up a link for you in it, we found that one of our favorite software tools has been seriously updated. We've no clue how we missed it, but we have transcribed so many countless, countless interviews using Transcriptions 0.8.0.1 that we've worn it out. Now we've found Transcriptions 1.1. So thank you for that, and we'll keep a better eye out in future.
Convenient color coding for visual thinkers
Naturally, you have not filled your Mac's desktop with folders. You've done it with files. But from time to time, when you can't see anything any more, you make some temporary folders and move everything into there. Job done. Until you now have millions of folders and unlike files, folders all look identical. Not any more. Not if you buy Folder Color.
Powerful replacement for Apple's Email
It used to be that free trumped everything, especially when that free was something built by Apple or Microsoft. When literally every Mac or Windows user has a particular type of software provided right there with their computer, it used to be that rivals simply died. Now we seem more open to persuasion, or at least to considering alternatives, and for some people Postbox 4 is going to be so ideal they'll wish they bought it two versions ago.
Gain extra utility with lesser-known functionality in the Dock
The Dock is one of the many features of OS X that is taken for granted -- and often underutilized. Sure, a fair number of users eventually figure out that the can take things off the dock -- usually by accident, resulting in some considerable alarm -- but it has come to our attention that shockingly few users really leverage the Dock as Apple intended. In this installment of Pointers, we'll go over some of the "hidden" powers of the Dock that turn it into a real productivity tool.
Stop that toothless grin look in iOS multitasking
Apple's iOS 8 introduced the very handy and surprisingly-controversial feature that when you press the Home button twice to swap between applications, you also see a row of your recent and favorite callers. The controversy is just that some people don't like the idea that anyone can pick up their iPhone and see who they've been talking to. We can help you with that, but we'd much rather sort out the Horrible Gap: the way that if you don't have a photo of a recent caller, iOS 8 displays their initials in a gray circle.
Apple's database of your inventory allows for quick, easy custom views
In the classes I often teach on OS X and iOS devices and how to utilize them, a great deal of confusion comes up about the concept of Smart Folders -- or, as they are known in iPhoto and Photos (and elsewhere) Smart Albums; or as they are known in Mail, Smart Mailboxes; or as they are known in iTunes, Smart Playlists. They certainly sound smart, so what does that say about us that we often can't figure them out? How are they different from regular folders, albums, mailboxes, and playlists? Read this edition of Pointers to find out.
An old friend returns, but you can't always go home again
For veteran Mac users, the mere mention of the name of DiskWarrior often brings stories of multiple bacon-saving incidents or helping in the resurrection of drives and data nearly written off from across the last three decades. There are few Mac programs that have earned genuine "legendary" status, but DiskWarrior, from tiny outfit Alsoft, is one of them. Recently the company released a version 5.0 for modern Macs after a nearly five-year hiatus since version 4.4, but in the meantime much as changed. DW is still awesome at what it does -- but is what it does as relevant now as it once was? Check out our review to find out.
Action rooted in security, but poses issues for jailbroken devices
Continuing with recent custom, Apple has stopped "code-signing" iOS 8.2 for security reasons. The move, intended to protect users, does make downgrading back to earlier versions impossible, and prevents users with jailbroken devices in iOS 8.2 from updating. The code-signing procedure, which applies to both Apple and iOS or OS X developers, is designed to prevent malicious apps from masquerading as legit ones, or for outside parties to inject code into applications.
Free version of Windows development suite heads to other platforms
Microsoft is bringing its Visual Studio suite to more platforms, the company announced at its Build conference keynote today. Visual Studio Code is a lightweight version of the long-standing code editing suite, with the new cross-platform version being made available in preview not only for Windows, but also OS X and Linux systems, and as a free download to developers.