Archive for the ‘MacOS’ Category

Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

February 20th, 2019
Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

A new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests that Apple is serious about combining apps across the iOS and macOS App Stores. The iPhone make is reportedly planning on expanding Project Marzipan, a multistep initiative that will allow developers to create an app only once and have it work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. Apple may reveal the first steps of this program as early as June 2019 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

We first heard about Marzipan back in 2017, but this is the first hint of Apple's tentative schedule for its rollout and application. The company may debut an SDK later this year that will allow developers to port iPad apps to Mac computers. While they will still have to submit two separate apps to the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store, the SDK reportedly makes it so developers only have to write the underlying code once.

By next year, Apple plans to expand the SDK to include iPhone apps, meaning developers could port iPhone apps to Macs in the same way. By 2021, developers may be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, creating one application that works across all of those Apple devices (what the report calls a "single binary"). At this stage, developers will not have to submit multiple versions of apps to different app stores—and Apple may be able to merge its separate stores into one, all-encompassing app store.

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Posted in apple, iOS, ios apps, ipad, iphone, Mac, Mac Pro, MacOS, project marzipan, Tech | Comments (0)

Clever trick uses Windows executable file to install malicious payload on Macs

February 11th, 2019
A laptop monitor warns of an impending encounter with malware.

Enlarge (credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr)

Malware pushers are experimenting with a novel way to infect Mac users that runs executable files that normally execute only on Windows computers.

The files and folders found inside a DMG file that promised to install Little Snitch.

The files and folders found inside a DMG file that promised to install Little Snitch. (credit: Trend Micro)

Researchers from antivirus provider Trend Micro made that discovery after analyzing an app available on a Torrent site that promised to install Little Snitch, a firewall application for macOS. Stashed inside the DMG file was an EXE file that delivered a hidden payload. The researchers suspect the routine is designed to bypass Gatekeeper, a security feature built into macOS that requires apps to be code-signed before they can be installed. EXE files don’t undergo this verification, because Gatekeeper only inspects native macOS files.

“We suspect that this specific malware can be used as an evasion technique for other attack or infection attempts to bypass some built-in safeguards such as digital certification checks, since it is an unsupported binary executable in Mac systems by design,” Trend Micro researchers Don Ladores and Luis Magisa wrote. “We think that the cybercriminals are still studying the development and opportunities from this malware bundled in apps and available in torrent sites, and therefore we will continue investigating how cybercriminals can use this information and routine.”

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Posted in Biz & IT, GateKeeper, MacOS, malware, trojans, windows executables | Comments (0)

Apple pushes fix for “FacePalm,” possibly its creepiest vulnerability ever

February 7th, 2019
Apple pushes fix for “FacePalm,” possibly its creepiest vulnerability ever

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple has patched one of its creepiest vulnerabilities ever—a flaw in its FaceTime messenger app that made it possible for people to eavesdrop on audio and video captured by iPhones and Macs.

The bug in Group FaceTime, a feature that allows conference-call-style chats, made it trivial for someone to eavesdrop on someone else simply by initiating a FaceTime call, swiping up and choosing “add person,” and entering their own number to add themselves as a participant in a Group FaceTime call. While people on the receiving end would see a call was coming through, they would have no idea that the person trying to connect could already hear nearby audio and, in many cases, see video.

Apple security under the microscope

Privacy advocates and ordinary users were shocked when details of the eavesdropping vulnerability first broke 10 days ago. When it emerged that the bug was discovered by a 14-year-old and that Apple had failed to act following multiple emails sent by the teen’s mother, people demanded answers. Since then, New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched a probe into the incident, according to Reuters. Some critics now refer to the bug as FacePalm.

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Posted in apple, Biz & IT, eavesdropping, FaceTime, iOS, MacOS, vulnerabilities | Comments (0)

Apple releases macOS 10.14.3, iOS 12.1.3, watchOS 5.1.3, and tvOS 12.1.2

January 22nd, 2019
A software update in macOS Mojave.

Enlarge / A software update in macOS Mojave. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple pushed software updates for macOS and iOS today. They are minor releases that simply offer a few bug fixes and security updates, with no new features—and there are no new features in any of the beta releases for these versions of the operating systems, either.

iOS 12.1.3 fixes a scrolling bug in Messages, an iPad Pro-specific audio bug, and a graphical error in some photos, and it addresses some CarPlay disconnects experienced by owners of the three new iPhone models released in late 2018. It also fixes two minor bugs related to the company's HomePod smart speaker.

Apple's release notes for iOS 12.1.3 are as follows:

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Posted in apple, iOS, iOS 12, iOS 12.1.3, MacOS, macOS 10.14 Mojave, macOS 10.14.3, Tech | Comments (0)

Four months after its debut, sneaky Mac malware went undetected by AV providers

December 21st, 2018
Screenshot of virus-detecting program.

Enlarge / A screenshot of VirusTotal showing only two AV providers detected malware, four weeks after it was outed. (credit: Patrick Wardle)

Four months after a mysterious group was outed for a digital espionage operation that used novel techniques to target Mac users, its macOS malware samples continued to go undetected by most antivirus providers, a security researcher reported on Thursday.

Windshift is what researchers refer to as an APT—short for "advanced persistent threat"—that surveils individuals in the Middle East. The group operated in the shadows for two years until August, when Taha Karim, a researcher at security firm DarkMatter, profiled it at the Hack in the Box conference in Singapore. Slides, a brief description, and a report from Forbes are here, here and here, respectively.

A few things make Windshift stand out among APTs, Karim reported in August. One is how rarely the group infects its targets with malware. Instead, it relies on links inside phishing emails and SMS text messages to track the locations, online habits, and other traits of the targets. Another unusual characteristic: in the extremely rare cases Windshift uses Mac malware to steal documents or take screenshots of targets' desktops, it relies on a novel technique to bypass macOS security defenses. (The above-linked Forbes article has more on how this technique, known as a custom URL scheme, allows attacker-controlled sites to automatically install their malware on targeted Macs.)

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Posted in antivirus, apple, Biz & IT, MacOS, Macs, malware | Comments (0)

Microsoft adds Dark Mode support and more to Office 365 for Mac

December 12th, 2018

Nate Anderson

Microsoft has released version 16.20.18120801 of Office 365 for the Mac platform, bringing support for a couple of key Mac features introduced in September's macOS 10.14 Mojave release, as well as a number of small features and user experience improvements not related to Mojave.

The headline feature is, of course, dark mode support, which requires Mojave to work. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook all support Mojave's dark theme. Also related to Mojave, you can now use Apple's Continuity Camera feature to insert a photo directly from your iPhone's photos to a slide in PowerPoint.

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Posted in MacOS, macOS 10.4 Mojave, microsoft, Mojave, office, Office 365, Tech | Comments (0)

macOS Mojave’s dark mode is coming to Google Chrome

December 11th, 2018
Google Chrome in macOS Mojave.

Enlarge / Google Chrome in macOS Mojave. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple added dark mode to macOS with its Mojave software update on September. Since then, third-party apps have been adding dark themes to go along with it, but there have been a handful of notable outliers, like Slack and Google Chrome. We've now learned that the latter of those will get a formal dark mode in an upcoming release, likely Chrome 73.

As noted on Reddit and reported by MacRumors, a code change was submitted to Chromium on December 5 that lays the groundwork for the future public release. Here are the notes on the change from the Chromium issue page:

Mac: Change dark mode optout logic and respond to system changes

This change hooks up the "DarkMode" feature, allowing for three states
in Mojave:
- --force-dark-mode for dark appearance unconditionally
- --enable-feature=DarkMode to track system dark mode status
- No flags/default state is light appearance unconditionally

Since we build with an SDK < 10.14, we still need the Info.plist
key, but it now must be false.

Some related changes:
- Make Omnibox tint respond to OnNativeThemeChanged
- React immediately to changes in high-contrast mode setting

Chromium is the first stop for changes to Chrome, with more steps along the way like the beta release, before the changes finally make it to the public release. Even in Chromium, the feature requires digging into code to activate, so this is early along. But dark mode is clearly on the way.

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Posted in apple, browser, chrome, dark mode, google, MacOS, macOS Mojave, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple releases iOS 12.1.1, macOS Mojave 10.14.2, and tvOS 12.1.1

December 5th, 2018
The 2018, 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio.

Enlarge / The 2018, 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple simultaneously released minor software updates for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TV boxes today with iOS 12.1.1, macOS Mojave 10.14.2, and tvOS 12.1.1.

The focus is on bug fixes and security, so none of them introduce major new features. But iOS comes closest by expanding the haptic touch feature on iPhone XR to notification previews, making it possible to hide the sidebar in the iPad's news app while in landscape orientation, and by bringing a couple of improvements to FaceTime—namely, the ability to capture Live Photos (those brief animated pictures) from a two-person FaceTime call and a one-tap way to flip between the rear and front cameras during a call.

Just note that to take a Live Photo during a FaceTime call, the person on the other end has to have the feature enabled. The toggle is located in the FaceTime panel in the Settings app.

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Posted in apple, Apple TV, apple tv 4k, iOS, iOS 12.1.1, Mac, MacOS, macOS Mojave, macOS Mojave 10.14.2, operating system, Tech, tvos, tvOS 12.1.1 | Comments (0)

While iPhone sales remain stagnant, Apple services hit $10 billion in revenue

November 1st, 2018
One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

Enlarge / One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event. (credit: Apple)

Apple announced on its earnings call today that it had surpassed its revenue estimates for Q4 2018. The iPhone maker boasted $62.9 billion in revenue, slightly more than the $60-62 billion it previously estimated, as well as $14.1 billion in profit, up from $11.5 billion in the previous quarter.

"We're thrilled to report another record-breaking quarter that caps a tremendous fiscal 2018, the year in which we shipped our two billionth iOS device, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store, and achieved the strongest revenue and earnings in Apple's history,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Apple sold 46.8 million iPhones, 9.6 million iPads, and 5.2 million Macs in the final quarter of 2018. While that represents a 14 percent increase in iPhone sales when compared to last quarter, it's about the same number of iPhones sold this time last year. However, year-over-year revenue from iPhone sales was up by 29 percent, thanks to the increase in iPhone prices.

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Posted in apple, iOS, ipad, iphone, Mac, MacOS, Q4 2018, quarterly earnings, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple to offer MacBook Pros with AMD Vega graphics starting in November

October 31st, 2018
The 2018 MacBook Pro next to the 2017 MacBook Pro

Enlarge / This is the 2018 MacBook Pro next to the 2017 MacBook Pro. Can you tell the difference? Didn't think so. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Amidst the iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini announcements yesterday, Apple also quietly updated its MacBook Pro lineup with more graphics power. Apple will offer new versions of the MacBook Pro with AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics chips, marking the first time Vega GPUs have been used in Apple's premium laptops.

Apple claims the new GPUs will provide up to 60 percent better graphical performance than the existing offerings. Currently, the best GPU available in a MacBook Pro is the Radeon Pro 560X.

Vega 56 and 64 graphics cards are already available in Apple's iMac Pro, a machine designed for creative professionals and power users. Offering Vega graphics cards (like the Vega 16 and 20 CPUs) in the MacBook Pros brings more consistency to the high-end Mac lineup, as well as the graphics power some users need to complete complex and creative projects.

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Posted in AMD Vega, apple, Blackmagic eGPU Pro, Gaming & Culture, GPU, MacBook Pro, MacOS, Tech | Comments (0)