Latest OS X version offers preliminary support for third-party drives
Although many are celebrating the long-awaited arrival of Trim support for third-party SSD storage that can be enabled by users, Apple's implementation of it should be considered preliminary, and comes with an unusual and strongly-worded warning that offers no support if the user should experience problems. In addition, some popular SSD models, notably Samsung's 840 and 850 lines, may be subject to a data-destroying bug if Trim is activated.
Matched music downloaded as DRM-locked files, iOS music Home Sharing dead
The heralded Apple Music service launch has accompanied a merger of iTunes Match with Apple's new streaming service. However, possibly to appease record labels, some significant changes have been made to iTunes functionality, including the removal of Home Sharing for music on the iPhone and iPad, as well as substituting iTunes Matched songs downloaded to a device with DRM-laden versions.
Lack of update preventing Apple Music from arriving on Macs
[Update: iTunes 12.2 now released at 6PM ET] While iOS users are experiencing changes related to Apple Music, Mac users are also seeing things fall into place, but at a far slower pace. Before Mac users will be able to use Apple Music and listen to Beats 1, they will have to upgrade iTunes from the current version 12.1.2 to version 12.2 -- an update which is currently unavailable to download by users, and is conspicuous by its absence on a day when Apple has overloaded it servers with a plethora of major, minor, and security updates.
iMac only boots to safe mode, login issues and more
This week in the MacNN Forums, members assist Posting Junkie "sek929" with trying to get to the bottom of a problem he is having with an iMac that will only boot into safe mode. Today "ibook_steve" had some questions about logging into Apple Discussions and turned to the forums for answers.
Virtual music storage locker hit with problems; workaround revealed
The launch on Tuesday of Apple Music appears to be wreaking havoc with existing users of iTunes Match, the company's virtual music cloud storage service. Reports beginning yesterday and worsening today indicate that users who have not or are unable to currently update their iOS version to the just-released 8.4, as well as Apple TV users, are seeing issues including duplicate entries for artists and playlists, inaccurate album art, and a general inability to download or stream songs.
The downward spiral of the music business, a 5K iMac giveaway, and more
Episode 21 of The MacNN Podcast is now available! Join us for a very speedy hour as we talk about a great new contest where you can win a 5K Retina 27-inch iMac, the licensing kerfuffle with Apple Music that features a happy ending, more troubles for MacKeeper, the plaudits and perils of e-publishing, the trauma of having to send in a Mac for repair, and our picks for App(s) of the Week! Show notes after the jump.
monitor troubles, save preferences and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss topics including monitor troubles and save preferences. One Fresh-Faced Recruit has turned to the forums this week expressing frustration with an external monitor that keeps displaying a "No Signal" message, and so far a solution has yet to be found. Mac Elite "rotuts" is trying to figure out how to save files to folders other than the default "documents" folder.
What happens when Apple recalls your Mac
If you've got a 27-inch iMac that you bought between December of 2012 and September of 2013, go check out whether Apple wants it back. As MacNN reported, Apple has a new replacement program running to fix hard drive problems in some unspecified number of those machines. Do it now: it doesn't matter if your warranty or AppleCare is finished but you must do it now because the program will not last. You'll need your Mac's serial number and you'll need to head to this Apple support page. We did –– and right now, our precious iMac is off on a courier's van.
Issue may be caused by bad carrier update file, no clear solution yet
T-Mobile customers with some of the latest iPhone models are reporting instances of frequent restarts on their devices running iOS 8. Because the problem appears to be limited to only T-Mobile, the likely culprit is a bad carrier update that is typically pushed to devices "silently," meaning with no user notification. Users have taken to social media sites, as well as T-Mobile help forums and support lines to complain about the issue.
Apple recalls, in-depth E3 game announcement coverage, more
As you might expect from a podcast with our title, most episode tend to lean heavily on the Apple-related news of the week, though we generally make sure to spend at least a little time on other big tech stories outside Apple's sphere. To celebrate our 20th episode, and because the big event was this week, we spend the majority of our time on the E3 gaming conference and its many announcements. Fear not, regular listeners, there's still Apple news a-plenty!
Range of discovered vulnerabilities made it possible to intercept data between apps
Apple announced on Friday that it had implemented a server-side partial security update earlier this week to help protect Mac and iOS users against a "series of high-impact security weaknesses" discovered by researchers now collectively known as XARA vulnerabilities, that could potentially be used to obtain data being passed between sandboxed applications, such as passwords. No known cases of the exploits have been seen "in the wild," and Apple says it is working with researchers on a longer-term fix.
Covers all affected iMacs regardless of warranty status
Users who purchased a 27-inch iMac between December of 2012 and September of 2013 may experience hard drive or Fusion Drive failure "under certain conditions" due to problem with the hard drive component. Apple has now announced a replacement program that largely covers the "late 2012" 27-inch iMac (though it may also include some early mid-2013 iMacs), and will contact registered owners of the affected units to offer a free swap out of the drives, regardless of warranty status.
Sixth developer beta comes less than a week following previous release
On Tuesday, Apple made available for registered OS X public beta testers the same sixth beta of 10.10.4 released on Monday to developers. The build, 14E36b, came less than a week after the fifth beta, which debuted at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) -- suggesting that the update could be nearing release.
tilted keys, unresponsive Finder and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "And.reg" was wondering if any other fellow forum-goers had advice on how to fix tilted keys on a MacBook Pro, as some of the keys on both his MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are tilted. Professional Poster "mindwaves" turned to the forums a couple of days ago, looking for help with a non-responsive Finder.
Not just the betas, but what's going on behind them, plus Oculus Rift VR
WWDC has come and gone for another year, and with it a plethora of new announcements and betas. Despite our fairly abysmal "wild guess" record, we did come up 90 percent right on our list of things we "knew" would happen (Tim Cook skipped his usual run-through of how great Apple is doing just to spite us). This time, we look at what actually happened at WWDC, in the larger tech industry, Apple Music, and what it all might mean.
Changes intended to allow more developers access to app building without fees
The just-released Xcode 7 beta makes a change to permissions needed to build and run apps on local devices in an effort to reduce the financial burden on first-time or open-source developers -- but Apple may have inadvertently opened a door to allowing code to be compiled and installed on any iOS device, bypassing the App Store. That ability, known as "side-loading," could create issues and headaches for the company, depending on how its handled.
Apple quietly announces ResearchKit 1.1 on developer list, adds iPad support
Late on Tuesday, an Apple representative on the Apple ResearchKit developer mailing list announced the availability of ResearchKit 1.1, which adds multiple new tasks and other enhancements, including iPad support and improved slider support. Following an internal review for accessibility and localization in all OS X-supported languages, new audiometry and reaction-time active tasks have been added, along with a navigable ordered task option.
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.
best MacBook for college and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members offered their opinions on what the best laptop for college would be, and for anyone who might be wondering the same thing, this thread could be very useful. Mac Elite "rotuts" is having trouble getting Firefox's "download and install" to work and has turned to the forums looking for some advice.
Longer disruption follows series of selected iCloud, store downtimes
Following a series of short but widespread iCloud and online storefront-related outages, Apple's Game Center has been down since early Tuesday afternoon (Pacific TIme), and as of late Tuesday has still not yet been resolved. According to the company's system status page, every area of Apple's online services saw some level of outage on Tuesday, with a morning disruption of Siri, Apple Pay, storefront, and iCloud services followed by a second disruption of the online stores in the early evening.
Mavericks sharing preferences and more
Late last week in the MacNN forums, Fresh-Faced Recruit "JB1000" had some questions about the sharing preferences in Mavericks, but has yet to find a solution. Today, "andi*pandi" has been trying to figure out how to sync SMS messages across iPhone and iPad, assuming that they would sync automatically after upgrading to 8.3.
Apple not yet acknowledging connection issues with iCloud.com for some users
[Updated with new information] Although the system status page for Apple's services continues to report no issues, some users are experiencing issues with iCloud.com, the App Store and other aspects of the service. General syncing seems to be working, but developers are also reporting issues with CloudKit Dashboard. Some users, including MacNN staffers, have reported problems with app updates and iCloud mail accounts as well.
Five people injured at Apple data center due to likely water treatment incident
While details are sparse, five people were injured in a chlorine leak that occurred at the Apple data center in Maiden, North Carolina on Monday, according to local news reports. The leak was reported about 2:30PM ET, and may have been connected to a water purification system. The 183-acre facility, which Apple has run since 2010, is one of the largest data centers -- and renewable energy farms -- in the United States.
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.
MacBook Air strange issues and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members help each other troubleshoot MacBook Air problems, storage issues and more. Mac Elite "And.reg" is still trying to figure out what is going on with his MacBook Air after reporting strange issues months ago. Forum goers continue to assist Mac Elite "jeff k" with trying to figure out why his notebook is telling him he has no more room on his hard drive to update the OS.
Apple once again top global brand, with 'brand value' at $247 billion
With a staggering "brand value" growth rate over the last decade of 1,446 percent, Apple was again awarded the "top global brand" for the fourth time in the last five years in the latest BrandZ brand value report by marketers Millward Brown. Google had captured the top spot away from Apple last year, but the iPhone maker's stellar sales performance over the past year saw its "brand value" rise 67 percent to $247 billion, compared to an overall brand value rise of 14 percent in 2015, and 126 percent over the last 10 years.
Flaw already being used as an attack vector, workarounds possible
A new iOS bug has manifested itself, allowing for malicious senders to remotely crash an iPhone. A very specific string of Arabic text can be used, which triggers a flaw in unicode handling, which will lock up Messages, induce phone restarts if locked, and can cause Springboard to crash.
hard drive full? hide the toolbar? and more
Early today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "jeff k" was trying to do an OS update on his Mac, and was informed that he didn't have enough space left to do that. After examining the situation, he believes he does have the space, but can't figure out why his computer thinks otherwise. A few days ago, Mac Elite "rotuts" was looking for a way to change all folders to "hide toolbar", and received some useful advice.
15-inch MBP updates, wireless mouse problems and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discussed the recent updates to the 15-inch MBP in a thread started by Moderator "P," in which he points out some of the changes that have been made. Today, Mac Elite "rotuts" turned to the forums looking for help figuring out why his Logitech mouse is not working with his new iMac.
Sales at 2.5 million units, estimated sales of 30,000 per day, says Slice Intelligence
Figures extrapolated from some 14,000 online shoppers who use Slice Intelligence's services suggests that the Apple Watch is selling approximately 30,000 units a day, following an unsurprising initial rush of over 2.5 million pre-orders. While some analysts will inevitably portray this as a slump, the drop-off is typical of new products, and puts the Apple Watch on pace to have outsold all existing smartwatches on its first day or two of pre-ordering, and outselling the early days of the iPhone and iPad.
Worldwide issue disrupting most areas of iCloud services, slowing response time
[Update: Apple says all services now restored as of 9:30AM ET] Some of Apple's iCloud services have been suffering a global, widespread slowdown or outage, beginning around 2:30AM Eastern time and continuing into mid-Thursday morning. The problems have reached into 11 services from Apple's online cloud offering, including iCloud Drive, iCloud Keychain syncing, iCloud Mail syncing, Documents in the Cloud, iCloud Backup, Back to My Mac, Photos, Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/Mac, iMovie Theater, iCloud sign-in, and the iWork for iCloud beta.
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.
No foul play suspected; organic peroxide spill at FedEx facility ruined package
Four Apple retail workers at the Del Monte store in Monterey, California were hospitalized on Wednesday after a package intended for delivery to the store was contaminated at a FedEx depot with a high level of organic peroxide in what appears to be an accidental spill. The odor, rather than any direct contact, caused the workers to become ill, and forced the evacuation of the Apple Store and several nearby areas. A dozen people in total, mostly Apple workers, were nauseated by the chemical.
MacBook vs. MacBook Air
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to discuss the differences between the new MacBook and the MacBook Air with members trying to figure out which option is really a better ownership proposition. Forum Regular "imdipped" is "tired of waiting for Apple to make Pages equal to or better than Pages '09" and wonders if there are any alternatives that are easy to use.
Only owners of Monochrom Typ 246 affected; company recommends Lightroom for now
A bug in the DNG files created by the B&W camera the Leica Monochrom Typ 246 can cause the new Photos app from Apple to crash and corrupt the existing Photos library, potentially putting every photo in that library at risk. Any attempt to load the DNG-formatted RAW files from the camera will cause the Photo library to "crash continuously on loading," said the company in a service advisory. Until the fix for the issue is released, Leica is suggesting users use Adobe Lightroom instead.
This week in the MacNN Forums, members try to assist one Fresh-Faced Recruit with getting to the bottom of a problem they are having with Yosemite hogging up resources and becoming slow. Today Forum Regular "porrid" wanted to know what the last version of the MacBook Pro can run Snow Leopard.
Discoveryd issues, Apple Watch giveaway, Origin PC review, more
It's time for episode 14 of The MacNN Podcast, which this week includes a new guest: Bradley, our music provider for the show, who is also a keen reviewer of Bluetooth Speakers and, now, the Origin PC gaming computer. We also do our usual thing of going over the big tech stories of the week, cracking some terrible jokes, talk about some new features on the site, make gratuitous pop-culture references, and even squeeze in an overview of Apple Watch third-party apps.
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.
Developers frustrated as iTunes Connect, TestFlight experience lengthy downtimes
On the heels of a long period on Wednesday where iTunes Connect, the portal for developers to monitor, modify, manage, and upload apps to the App Stores, Apple's beta-testing platform for iOS, TestFlight, has been down for more than 12 hours. Oddly, Apple has not modified its Developer System Status page to reflect the problems, nor is there any indication when the problems might be fixed. While service to iTunes Connect was restored yesterday, the TestFlight problems continue.
A widely reported bug in new Apple hardware and software remains unfixed
Through all of Apple's patches for OS X 10.10.3, and the accompanying iOS 8 versions, one core networking service remains problematic, it has been discovered. At the heart of Apple's networking is the "discoveryd" routine, introduced in the latest versions of the OS, which drives how OS X and iOS 8 locates and resolves network connections to other devices. However, the new iteration (replacing a much older service) is causing problems with Bonjour, fouling DNS resolution, and generating a host of other problems for many users, which can in some cases be exacerbated by the number of modern OS X and iOS devices on a network, making it a major problem for Apple faithful.
Mac is slow, iTunes questions and more
Today in the MacNN forums, members attempt to assist Junior Member "donaldkepler" with trying to figure out why his Mac is slow. Games Meister "The Final Dakar" noticed that non-downloaded podcasts are marked as "played" in iTunes, and wonders "what's up with that?" but no one has responded.
Bill would suspend mass-collection efforts, require legal justifications
The USA Freedom Act (PDF file) was reintroduced in the US House of Representatives recently. It proposes to curtail the mass collection of the telephone records of US citizens under section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, , and force intelligence agencies to justify selective acquisition -- more in accordance with the principles laid out in the US Constitution. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 25-2.
Apple poaching more BBC Radio 1 producers for upgrade to Beats Music, iTunes Radio
Following the hiring of influential former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe in February as part of both iTunes Radio and a speculated revamp of the Beats Music service, a trade magazine for the music industry has reported that as many as four other top producers for Radio 1 are leaving to join Lowe to work on the revamped subscription service at Apple, which could be announced as early as June's Worldwide Developer Conference.
choppy video playback
This week in the MacNN forums, one Fresh-Faced Recruit is looking for answers as to why they are getting choppy video playback in all their video players except for VLC video player. Today Mac Elite "rotuts" was looking for a way to open folders in the same way that they were able to when using older operating systems such as 10.6, and so far has yet to find an answer.
Ship times for 42mm Sport and Watch models fall into July
Shipping estimates for certain models of the Apple Watch -- specifically the 42mm size of both the aluminum-based Sport edition and stainless steel Watch version -- are now in short supply around the world, from China to the UK as well as parts of Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and the US. The smaller 38mm version of the same models are still listed as shipping in June, and not all countries have pushed back the 42mm.
Apple forced to scrap finished units after breakdown tendency revealed in testing
A serious quality control issue that turned up just prior to the launch of the Apple Watch forced the company to scrap completed units, possibly in high volumes -- resulting in fewer devices available than had been previously planned at launch, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. A motor needed to power the haptic feedback engine in the Apple Watch that came from one Hong Kong-based supplier proved to be defective.
Fast, detailed hard disk monitoring utility
There's nothing better than checking out the state of your hard disk, and we've all spent many happy hours twiddling with a drive instead of getting on with our work. Yet those disks that we forget about will go wrong just about as certainly as they will fill up. Maybe they won't go wrong today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. Usually that's the reason why you should have backups, and it still is, but it's now also a good reason to try out Disk Sensei. It's a quick and thorough utility that reports on the current health of your drives, as well as then taking steps to keep them running well.
Unknown flaw or attack causes chart app used by pilots to shut down tablets
[Updated with further explanation of issue following investigation] A software bug that is suddenly causing iPads, used as "electronic flight bags" (EFBs) by pilots for American Airlines, to shut down and become unresponsive is causing delays and groundings of "several dozen" flights on the airline as experts scramble to identify the issue. One passenger on one of today's affected flights, which was delayed for more than two hours, said that the pilot had claimed the entire 737 fleet on American was affected by the issue.
Dark, solid colors using metal-based inks may disable or exaggerate some features
Potential Apple Watch buyers who have dark, solid-colored tattoos on their wrist may want to hold off for a while -- reports from early adopters have indicated that certain kinds of wrist or "sleeve" tattoos may interfere with some of the functions of the Watch, including accurate heart rate detection, skin contact verification (needed for Apple Pay using the Watch), and some rumored future features like blood oxygen detection.
boot iMac from external HD
Today in the MacNN Forums, Mac Elite "rotuts" is asking fellow forum goers if it is possible to boot their iMac from an external hard drive. Clinically Insane member of the forums "subego" has invited fellow members to post screenshots of their iPhone home screens.