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 synch sms messages across iPhone and iPad, assuming that they would synch 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.
Apple loves video software, Apple hates video software
It's Day Two of The Feature Thief, the mini-series of columns examining just what in the world was in Apple's mind when it abandons years of development in favor of a shiny new application nobody likes. To be fair, though, it's also examining how sometimes that move was necessary, and often how it works out rather well or even superbly in the end. Once the furor has died down, and especially once Apple has put back some features it's dropped, we can often say that the new applications are better. Whether it's worth the ride getting there is a different question –– and whether you should jump ship to rival companies' products is another.
OS X, iOS betas open to registered beta testers, but no focus areas listed
In addition to the company's fiscal second quarter results released on Monday, the second betas of OS X, iOS, and Xcode were all released as well. Although each is the second beta offered to developers, in the case of iOS and OS X the release is the first offered to pre-registered beta testers -- though as with the first beta, no release notes indicating focus areas or known issues were released. The OS X and iOS betas come one and two weeks, respectively, after the most recent release.
Apple's office software gets a rebuild, with the previous one still functioning
Welcome to The Feature Thief, a mini-series of columns where we take a look at some of Apple's rollercoaster of change when it comes to software -- from apps that got a makeover to a sex change, or even some that just got tossed out entirely. Each day this week, we'll take a fairly recent example of each of the three types of sometimes-painful change users have been subjected to when Apple gets a new idea, what to do about it, and where to look for alternatives if necessary.
They've sent it, but you can't read it
Perhaps you haven't personally come across one yet, but there are one or two iPhones in the world. Yet despite their ubiquity, there are still people who don't have them, and who do email you attachments that iOS can't fathom. We don't mean the times when they send you a document made in an iOS application you don't happen to have. Often, you will need to get that app -- but if they send you an Excel file, for instance, and you haven't got that, then iOS 8 offers to open it in Numbers. Your iPhone works hard, but still there are attachments that stymie it.
New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more
Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Harvey" explained some troubling behavior with his eight-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today, one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit JPEG files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use.
Recent models could freeze when viewing large JPEG files in Finder, Preview
Apple has issued an update for selected 2013 and later model iMacs that fixes a graphics issue that caused the machines to freeze after viewing large JPEG files in either Finder or Preview under OS X 10.10.3. The problem specifically affects the late-2013 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, as well as the late 2014 27-inch 5K Retina iMac. The problem could, in some circumstances, trigger kernel panics or force a restart.
Engineering chief invented modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto
As if on cue, Apple on Thursday announced a bug-fix update to its consumer video-editing program, iMovie, on the same day that the head of Apple's photo and video software teams, Randy Ubillos, announced his retirement. Ubillos, who has been with Apple for the past 20 years, has been the key engineer behind the modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, and Aperture -- and before joining Apple, was one of the team that created the Premiere video editing suite for Adobe.
Retina 12-inch MacBook can hang during first setup, workaround posted
A new tech note from Apple details a flaw that can occur during the initial setup of the new 12-inch Retina MacBook that causes the process to stop temporarily -- sometimes for a prolonged period -- before finishing. According to the new tech note, Apple recommends that if users experience the issue they can restart the initial setup process by restarting, and can opt to disconnect from the Internet in order to allow the setup to proceed, and then connect to the Internet afterwards. The problem appears to center around Apple ID setup or iCloud account creation.
the new MacBook, disk rattling and more
With the new MacBook arriving in stores and in people's homes, MacNN forum-goers have been giving their first impressions of this latest addition to the Mac family in the thread titled "MacBook Returns." Late last week, one Fresh-Faced recruit was looking for some help figuring out the cause of rattling noise they hear in their startup disk when they boot up.
Recently-fixed AFNetworking library requires app update to close security hole
A flaw in a popular older version of an open-source networking library used by a number of iOS apps could create an exploitable vulnerability, particularly for users who do not keep their apps up-to-date. The issue could allow a hacker to bypass HTTPS security and conceivably steal passwords or other personal data. While the library in question was patched to address the problem three weeks ago, apps which include the older library are still vulnerable. According to SourceDNA, at least 1,500 iOS apps are currently exposed.
TechTool Pro 8 diagnostic utility can test more than 100 electrical, temperature sensors
Micromat has launched the eighth version of its Mac troubleshooting utility, adding more functionality to the software. TechTool Pro 8 builds upon the previous version's ability to test core components of the Mac's motherboard, by increasing the array of testable components to include more than 100 electrical and temperature sensors on some Mac systems.
OSX compatibility, iPhone screen replacements and more
This week in the MacNN Forums, Moderator "andi*pandi&" recently scored a white MacBook and discovered they are able to upgrade the OS for free, but wonders if 10.10 would "run like a dead horse" on that machine, or if it would be all right. Yesterday, one Dedicated MacNNer announced the breaking of his wife's iPhone 4 screen, and has a few questions about buying a replacement.
New beta comes on heels of 10.10.3 release, no change log yet available
Just a week after the official release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 and days after the first beta of iOS 8.4, Apple has posted the first 10.10.4 beta for developers and testers, though it is has not been (and is not likely to be) made available to public beta testers until future builds are released. The sparse announcement of the new beta says only that the update focuses on "stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac," which suggests it will build on the improvements made in 10.10.3.
Not all users affected, but caused kernel panics, startup issues in some machines
On Thursday, Apple released a rare supplemental update to OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 that resolves a bug in a video driver that was causing some Mac owners to report startup issues or even full-blown kernel panics "when running certain apps that capture video," said the company. Users were reported longer-than-normal startup times or crashes. Not fixed by the new update are scattered reports of problems opening large JPEG files using Preview of QuickLook, but this is again not a universal issue.
Tapered batteries, soldered components both improve reliability and frustrate upgraders
A pair of new teardowns from iFixit and Laptopultra have revealed few surprises, and conclude that while the machines are easily openable, they are not easily repairable -- a factor that is likely to be very low-priority among potential buyers, given that the lack of moving parts in the unit also greatly improves reliability. While the new MacBook is completely un-upgradeable internally, the included USB Type C port will offer growing flexibility for any needed external connectivity or expandability.
Safari troubles, Mighty Mouse programming and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss problems they have been having recently with the copy bounding box in Safari on the iPhone as it seems to be broken at the moment. One Mac Elite who is new to OS X and the Mighty Mouse is wondering how to program the Mighty Mouse to work different.
new Photos App and more
This week in the MacNN Forums, members discuss the new Photos app, weird issues with Airport Time Capsule and more. In the thread titled "Photos new Mac App from Apple" Dedicated MacNNer "Eden Aurora" highlights some problems that they are having with this new version of Photos. Yesterday, Grizzled Veteran "Walker" turned to the forums looking for help figuring out a problem with Time Capsule.
Reviews generally positive, with caveats on some teething issues
Reviews are starting to come in on the Apple Watch, but the overall consensus is what might have been predicted: that it is, by far, the best smartwatch in the world; that it redefines the bar for smartwatches in the same way that the iPhone did for mobile smartphones in 2007; that it makes nearly all other smartwatches look like toys. However -- much like the initial iPad reviews -- there is a lingering question of how much need there is for it.
Latest version of Java required to install additional GarageBand sounds
If you're a musician with lots of experience or a budding musician with little experience, Apple's GarageBand is a marquee music making application. For some, GarageBand is a key factor in choosing a Mac with many graduating to Apple's pro-audio suite Logic. As affordable as Logic is, the best part about GarageBand is that is completely free when buying a Mac. Regardless, when you run into a seemingly intractable sound file installation bug with GarageBand, it can cool the ardor for the free package. We've got a solution.