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.
Widely beta-tested, each brings new features to devices
With today's release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, Apple is officially releasing its iPhoto replacement program Photos for the Mac. While the program has already been in use on iOS for some time, the new program sits alongside existing iPhoto or Aperture libraries with its own copy, and adds new abilities and features we have previously reported on. The update, leaked earlier today, also brings a non-beta version of iCloud Photo Library and new emoji, while the iOS 8.3 release shares the emoji improvements and adds wireless CarPlay support, along with new Siri accents and languages.
Yosemite on older models, Retina screen quality and more
Today in the MacNN forums, Moderator "Thorzdad" started a conversation about what machines can run Yosemite after asking if Yosemite forces older iMacs into 64-bit mode automatically. Yesterday one Fresh-Faced Recruit was asking other forum-goers their thoughts on the Retina screen quality on MacBook Pros as they are considering getting one.
A vitamin pill for the average sluggish Mac
If you have the most powerful Mac Pro that can be made today, if you routinely go through the Apple Store clicking all the upgrade options, laughing like a crazy person, spending someone else's money, then we hate you -- and we want to come round your place to see it. However, invite us soon -- because even that Mac is going to slow down to a crawl, and you wouldn't like us when we giggle. The reason for that is because there are basic elements that determine whether any Mac is going to sing or sink, and these are all things that CleanMyMac 3 is designed to fix. Specifically, it's there to fix them so that you don't have to: it helps stop you running out of space, it helps make sure your RAM isn't used up, and it keeps an eye on the health of key components.
transferring data, benefits of Thunderbolt and more
This week in the MacNN forums, Professional Poster "badidea" was looking for help figuring out what is necessary to merge the data from an old hard drive with a new SSD that they installed on their Mac. Yesterday, one Fresh-Faced Recruit was asking if there was any benefit to getting a Thunderbolt flash drive or Thunderbolt HDD for external storage, or if something without Thunderbolt would be just as good.
Updated version is second this week, hinting at problem fixes
Developers and public testers of the forthcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 release have unexpectedly been notified of a second release this week, this time with build number 14D130a. Normally spaced a week apart, the last update came on Monday with 14D127a -- suggesting that the company is zeroing in on fixes for certain known issues, and perhaps planning a public release in the near future. Testers are cautioned to keep backups current while testing the new beta.
strange Safari behavior, remote App woes and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Moderator "Thorzdad" reported some strange behavior with the way that Safari was displaying webpages, noting that it doesn't look like pages are being saved in the cache properly. Late last week, forum-members tried to assist "The Final Dakar" with figuring out why his Remote app doesn't see his Apple TV.
Solid, well-made app backs up and copies your hard drives
Nothing digital really exists unless it exists twice. For all that we have these great interconnected cloud services, there is still a hard drive holding on to our data somewhere and all hard drives fail eventually. They're like politicians in that respect: they go on until they fail. Carbon Copy Cloner is a way to make failures annoying rather than fatal to your work. It backs up any or all of your files and it also optionally creates a separate and bootable hard drive.
how to erase and reinstall OS X and more
One Forum Regular turned to the MacNN Forums this week looking for advice on how to erase and reinstall OS X, and found some useful information which might be helpful to anyone else who is trying to do this. One Fresh-Faced Recruit is looking for help trying to access data in an administrator account after their computer froze and was forced to shut down.
Connectivity down globally, but issue resolved by 11:30AM ET
A widespread but apparently brief outage was reported to have affected Apples online digital storefronts this morning, such as the App Store, iTunes Store and Mac App Store. The problem appeared to occur worldwide, but Apple's System Status Page did not acknowledge the issue until hours after it was resolved, which occurred at approximately 8:30AM Pacific. The company suffered a much longer and more severe outage just two weeks ago.
This week in the MacNN forums, Fresh-Faced Recruit "Pootie Tang" raised a red flag over an incident they had with Safari that they believe to be caused by a virus, thought they quickly discovered it was just easily-removable adware. Mac Elite "And.reg" has been having bizarre issues with trying to get iCloud keychain working, and has turned to the forums looking for advice.
Version is identical to new update for Appleseed testers
On Monday, Apple issued the fifth beta version of OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite to developers. The latest version, which comes on the heels of the previous fourth release that was aimed solely at new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro users, is also being released to registered public beta users as the second such version. The forthcoming Photos app has been updated (though it still has some known issues), as well as Yosemite's recovery tools.
iCloud keychain issues, Office 2016 for Mac and more
Yesterday in the MacNN Forums, members discussed bizarre issues with trying to get iCloud keychain working in a thread started by Mac Elite "And.reg," who was baffled about "what the heck is going on." "What do you think of Office 2016 for Mac?" asks Mac Elite "schalliol," who is looking for opinions about Office, and not looking for alternatives.
Fantastical 2 for Mac arriving March 25, only hint is revised Yosemite look
The well-regarded calendaring program, Fantastical for Mac, is about to receive a major upgrade. Version 2.0 will be launched on March 25, and will feature a revised look more in line with the Yosemite aesthetic. The company isn't saying anything about what, if any, new features the update will include, but has indicated that while there will be no upgrade pricing for existing users, a limited-time launch sale price will act to fill that role.
CEO vows to improve quality, says collaboration is why Apple is better
Following an excerpt from the forthcoming biography called Becoming Steve Jobs about the mercurial co-founder and former CEO of Apple, the company's current leader Tim Cook was interviewed by Fast Company about what has changed -- and what has stayed the same -- since Jobs' untimely death in 2011. In the wide-ranging conversation, Cook owns up to some growing pains, but says the spirit of Jobs lives on.
Email not always working between GMail, iCloud accounts
Some users are having issues with iCloud-based accounts, such as those ending with @me.com or @icloud.com not receiving messages from GMail, an issue that Apple is aware of and is working to fix. The problem is inconsistent in nature, but most often marked by a timeout message from Apple's servers that blames "too many rejections" and encourages users to try again later.
anti-reflective coating wear and more
Today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "And.reg" started a thread discussing the anti-reflective coating on MacBook Pro models, stating that he is considering getting a 2015 model, but is concerned the coating will wear off. Senior User "RobOnTheCape" is looking for a way to use Photos to reduced the size of a batch of images.
MacBook Returns, home network bugs and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discussed the new MacBook, home networking and more. One of this week's most popular topics was the news that Apple will be bringing back the "MacBook" name for their next notebook computer. Yesterday, Mac Elite "Helmling" was trying to figure out what was going on with his home network, as computers appear to be replicating in the Network settings.
Save your friends and family from confusion, even long-distance
Today's Pointers column is aimed squarely that the guy or girl who is pretty good -- or at least vaguely fluent -- with Macs, and has thus suddenly been branded a tech "guru" by their Apple-illiterate or tech-unfriendly family, friends, long-lost relatives, or strangers in the street. You want to help, but they don't live with you, or perhaps a continent away. Nevertheless, you can be their knight in silicon armor. Read on to find out how.
Outage may have cost apple up to $8 million in lost media sales
After nearly a 12-hour downtime, Apple's Internet-facing services such as the iTunes Music Store, iOS App Store, iBookstore and Mac App Store have returned. Apple calls the issue related to an "internal DNS" problem, and with estimates of hourly revenue at about $1 million an hour, this may be the most costly Internet service outage ever.
Storage on Watch limited to 2GB for music, 75MB for photos
Some further details on Apple's new Watch device have come out that were not mentioned during the public presentation on Monday, one of which is a detail that further points out how unlike most technology devices the Apple Watch really is: the device actually has very little room for standalone storage. As we reported prior to the event, the Apple Watch (all versions) has just 8GB of independent storage, with only 2GB available for music and just 75MB allocated for photos. The rest, presumably, is for the operating system and apps.
MacBook Returns, Force Touch, Apple Watch
Yesterday, Apple made announcements ranging from CarPlay to the return of the MacBook, and readers can discuss what the future of Apple holds this week in the MacNN Forums. Junior Member "Kensington" started a thread titled MacBook Returns, stating that he is "stoked" about it, and wants to get it in gold to match his grille. Forum-goers discuss the latest update to the trackpad, called "Force Touch" in the thread by the same name.
AppleCare now handling support for Beats Music, Apple Pay for Business
Apple will now handle support for Beats Music customers, along with businesses offering Apple Pay, through its AppleCare division, according to reports. Previously, Beats Music support was handled by an outsourced firm, but has now been moved in-house after the company was acquired by Apple last year. The move to offer support to businesses implementing Apple Pay will encourage more companies to do so. There is also a specific Merchants support hotline for Apple Pay for those already using the system.