Archive for Apple

So What Is This Security Flaw In iOS 13 That Everyone Is Talking About? Here Are The Details.

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 20, 2019 by itnerd

Last night I wrote that Apple had released iOS 13 despite the fact that a security flaw was present and unpatched that allowed someone with physical access to the phone to bypass the lock screen and get access to contact info on an iPhone. What’s worse was that this was reported in July but Apple didn’t bother fixing it in iOS 13 before it shipped yesterday. But the only good news is that it is fixed in iOS 13.1 which is due for release next Tuesday. Which every user of iOS should immediately update to the second that it becomes available.

So, how do you pull this off? Here’s a video that shows the process:

In short, what this guy did is start a FaceTime call and then accessed the voiceover feature from Siri to enable access to the contact list. You can then obtain email addresses, phone numbers, address information, and more from the list of contacts. I have replicated this on an iPhone running iOS 13 and it is very easy to do.

It’s also very easy to protect yourself. You just need to go to Face ID & Passcode settings -> Allow access when locked and toggle off the Reply with Message option. If you’ve already updated to iOS 13, you should go do that now to protect yourself. As in right now.


If You Haven’t Updated To iOS 13 Yet, DON’T UPDATE

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 20, 2019 by itnerd

I’ll get to the point. iOS 13 which was released yesterday is a hot mess. While it is typical for new software releases to have issues, the scale and breadth of issues found in iOS 13 is above and beyond anything that iOS users are used to. And then there’s that security issue that Apple never bothered to fix in iOS 13 despite knowing about it in July.

The major issues that are being reported are:

  • In Mail the name of whoever sent a message is replaced by the words “No Sender.” That can usually be fixed by restarting your iOS device.
  • Apps crashing on launch
  • AirDrop working sporadically
  • Cell signal problems

But there are others. This is one that I discovered:

And that is on top of the fact that Apple pulled promised features from iOS 13 such as automation functionality and the Maps ETA functionality.  I could go on, but I think you get the point. Apple clearly rushed iOS 13 out the door. Likely so that they can make the ship date for the iPhone 11 which goes on sale today.

That would never have happened under Steve Jobs.

Thus my advice is that unless you really need to upgrade to iOS 13, wait until next Tuesday for iOS 13.1. That according to those I know who run the public betas as well as the developer betas is far more stable than iOS 13 which one developer that I know described it at “lacking the polish of typical Apple betas.” That tells you all you need to know.

Mark your calendars for next Tuesday at 1PM EST/10AM PST.

iOS 13 Gets Released…. And If You Upgraded You Could Get Pwned

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 19, 2019 by itnerd

iOS 13 was released today. And before the release I put up a post that said this:

One other thing before I go, Apple has announced that iOS 13.1 will be released two weeks from today. Early reports from beta testers say that it has additional features and significant bug fixes and stability improvements versus what is in iOS 13. Thus you may want to consider not upgrading to iOS 13 and instead wait for iOS 13.1 to hit the streets before you upgrade.

Well, it seems that iOS 13.1 will be out next Tuesday, and here’s why

A flaw in iOS 13, the new iPhone operating system Apple released Thursday, exposes contact details stored in iPhones without requiring a passcode or biometric identification. And Apple (AAPL) has known about the flaw since July, a person who reported the bug to Apple told CNN Business.

A hacker would need physical access to a target’s phone to complete the hack — but once it is in their possession they could bypass Apple’s standard security features like facial I.D. Once they have done so, they can access the phone’s address book and see information for contacts stored on the phone, as well as indications of the most recent contacts with whom the phone’s owner had been communicating.

This flaw, which is pretty bad, is on top of the fact that iOS 13 is as expected, buggy. And Apple didn’t fix this so the guy who found this went public.


But the good news is that iOS 13.1 which is far more stable and doesn’t have this flaw is being released on Tuesday. But Apple should have fixed it in iOS 13 given that they had two months to do it. You have to wonder if Apple really takes software quality and security seriously because it seems that they don’t and haven’t taken it seriously for a while.

How You Can Prepare For The Release Of watchOS 6 Which Is Coming Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 19, 2019 by itnerd

So besides iOS 13 hitting the streets today, Apple is releasing watchOS 6 to the public today. It is a major release that includes new watch faces, more health apps, and a calculator which is something that has been missing in watchOS. You can get a full list of features here.

watchOS 6 will run on the following devices…. But there’s a catch which I will get to in a moment:

  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5

Here’s the catch: watchOS 6 is being released today for the Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches. For Series 2 or 1 Apple Watch owners, they’ll have to wait until “later this fall” to get watchOS 6 as per the tiny text at the bottom of this Apple press release. Original Apple Watch owners need not apply and the Apple Watch Series 5 will come with watchOS 6 out of the box. 

So what do you need to do to prepare for watchOS 6? Well, there’s not a whole lot that you need to do. For example when it comes to backing up which is what I normally suggest that you do before doing an operating system upgrade, this is largely taken care of for you according to this Apple Support article which states that every time your iPhone is backed up to iCloud or iTunes, the Apple Watch data gets backed up too. So since I recommended in my previous article that you back up your iPhone before iOS 13, and you absolutely need iOS 13 to be installed before watchOS 6 shows up in the Apple Watch app, then you are covered for the most part. The only other thing I would suggest is that you should ensure that the apps on the iOS 13 iDevice are up to date as that will update the associated Apple Watch app. That way you can ensure that everything works fine post upgrade. Finally, as for the upgrade itself, it is important that you closely follow these directions from Apple as updating an Apple Watch is currently not a trivial process which if done wrong has the potential of bricking your Apple Watch. The good news is that as part of watchOS 6, the ability to update independently of your iPhone is going to be available which should reduce the risk level significantly going forward.

How You Can Prepare For The Release Of iOS 13 Which Is Coming Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 19, 2019 by itnerd

At 1PM EST, Apple will release iOS 13. As long as you have a supported device, it will bring you new features and improvements to your iDevice experience including the long awaited dark mode. If you want to see a full feature set, click here.

Speaking of supported devices, here’s what iOS 13 will run on

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

If your phone isn’t on this list, then it’s not supported. And the following phones will come with iOS 13 out of the box:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

If you are wondering why there are no iPads on the list, that’s because Apple has spun off the iPads into a separate OS called iPadOS which is due out in a couple of weeks.

Now, since this is a major upgrade there is always a chance, no matter how remote that something can go sideways. To make sure that you’re not caught out by something unexpected, here’s what you can do:

1. Update your Apps: Make sure that all your apps are up to date before upgrading by opening the App Store app and seeing if any updates are required. This is important because it is possible that the changes that Apple has made on areas like privacy and performance could break an app that you rely on. Thus I find that it is always a good idea to check for updates and install them before a new version of iOS hits the streets.

2. Dump any uneeded photos, videos or apps: iOS updates tend to need a fair amount of free space to allow for a successful installation. Thus if you have anything less than 5GB of free space, consider deleting unused apps or photos/videos. In terms of the photos and videos you want to keep, you can move them to the cloud or a computer so that they’re safely stored without taking up space on your iPhone. I personally use iCloud myself, but Google Photos is another option.

3. Backup your iDevice: If you value the data on your iDevice, backing it up is a must. You have two options for backing up your iDevice: iCloud or iTunes. Follow this guide to backing up your iPhone using iCloud or iTunes.

At this point you should be good to go to upgrade to iOS 13. Key word being SHOULD. Upgrading an operating system isn’t a trivial process. But if you take these steps beforehand, you should reduce the risk of any issues that you might encounter.

One other thing before I go, Apple has announced that iOS 13.1 will be released two weeks from today. Early reports from beta testers say that it has additional features and significant bug fixes and stability improvements versus what is in iOS 13. Thus you may want to consider not upgrading to iOS 13 and instead wait for iOS 13.1 to hit the streets before you upgrade.

Should You Upgrade To The Apple Watch Series 5? Well…. That Depends….

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 13, 2019 by itnerd

Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 5 earlier this week. And I’ve been asked a few times if the Apple Watch Series 5 is worth buying. Thus I figured that I would take a few minutes to put some random thoughts together on that topic.

If you are a Series 3/2/1/0 owner: The Series 5 is worth buying. You’ll get a faster, much more capable Apple Watch. You’ll get all the enhancements that the Series 4 brought such as the bigger screens, better audio, ECG, etc. Not to mention the faster processor.  Plus all the new features like the always on display, the compass, the new case materials, and the emergency calling without an iPhone in most places on Earth.

Oh and then there’s this:

What I am talking about above is Apple’s upcoming requirement to build Apple Watch apps with the watchOS 6 SDK (Software development kit) and support the Series 4 or later. The Series 4 part is important because it sounds like Apple is going to be transitioning to only supporting the 64 bit processors found in the Series 4 or later. Which would mean that anyone who owns a Series 3 or earlier may be orphaned at some point. Keep in mind that Apple did something similar with the iPhone when iOS 11 appeared. And Apple is doing this right now with macOS Mojave being the last version that supports 32 bit apps before macOS Catalina ships in October. Thus it cannot be a shock that the Apple Watch will eventually go through the same process. Given that, it means that now might be a good time to make the jump to a Series 5.

If you are a Series 4 owner: My answer is don’t buy it. Unless of course you REALLY need the always on display. Or you REALLY need the compass, or you REALLY need 32GB of storage which is up from 16GB in the Series 4 for music or pictures, or you REALLY want the new ceramic or titanium case materials, or you REALLY need the ability for it to call for help in most places on the planet. I own a Series 4 and so does my wife and none of that really entices us to make the jump to the Series 5 as the Series 5 seems to us to be just an incremental improvement unlike the Series 4 which was a huge leap forward. Thus we’ll wait and see what Apple comes out with next year. And I recommend that other Series 4 owners do the same.

What if you don’t have an Apple Watch at all?: You should at least look at the Series 5 as it is a very capable smartwatch. Hands down. But you may want to consider the Apple Watch Series 3 if you have to keep the cost down as Apple has priced it at $199 USD to start which must be causing Fitbit to freak out. I say that because Apple was already the dominant smartwatch brand on the planet. But that move may take that market dominance to the next level at Fitbit’s expense. But having said that. But the Series 5 should be your first option for the reasons that I mentioned in the Series 3/2/1/0 section above.

What about the Series 4? Isn’t that an option?: Yes it is. And a very good one as you can likely find one that is discounted now that the Series 5 is out. Plus you’ll get an Apple Watch that does 85% of what the Series 5 does (in other words you don’t get the always on display, the compass, the new case materials, and the emergency calling without an iPhone in most places on Earth). You likely won’t find any at the Apple Store, but check around independent Apple Retailers or online to see what deals exist.

Hopefully that clarifies some things on the Apple Watch front. But if it doesn’t, drop me a note and I will happily help you out.

So What Did Apple Announce At Their 2019 iPhone Event?

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2019 by itnerd

Today was Apple’s latest event where products such as the new iPhone and Apple Watch (though I did put some cold water on that) were due to be announced. So what did get announced? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Apple spoke about Apple Arcade. They demoed games from game makers Capcom, Annapurna Interactive, and Konami. Most importantly, it will be $4.99 USD a month for a family subscription starting on September 19th. 150 countries around the world will get it, and more than 100 games in the launch catalog.
  • Over to Apple TV+. Apple shared the trailer for See which is one of the shows that Apple is developing and stars Jason Momoa (AKA Aquaman from Justice League). The first shows will be available on November 1st in over 100 countries. And it will cost $4.99 US a month for a family subscription. Plus if you buy a MacBook or iDevice starting today, you get Apple TO+ for free for one year. Take that Netflix and Disney+. Though those two services have way more content.
  • In a bit of a surprise, the next stop was the iPad. Apple announced the 7th Generation iPad with a 10.2″ retina display. There’s a A10 Fusion chip powering it which isn’t exactly new. It will start $329 USD and can be ordered today. Educational customers pay $299 USD. It will start shipping on September 30.
  • Apple Watch was next. There are three new studies that Apple will be participating in via the Apple Watch Research app which is coming later this year. The three studies are the Apple Hearing Study to study the effects of sound noises. Apple Heart & Movement Study, and the Apple Women’s Health study. As for the watch itself, we now have the Series 5. It now comes with an always on display retina display using a LPTO display. Yet it still has an 18 hour battery life. It also has a compass on board complete with a compass app. The Series 5 cellular models support International emergency calling. And as expected, titanium and ceramic finishes along with recycled aluminum finishes. Apple Watch Nike models, with sport bands and reflective sport loops. New Hermes models with color blocked bands are on the table along with Hermes models in black, with space black stainless cases with black noir leather bands. Apple Watch Nike models, with sport bands and reflective sport loops. New Hermes models with color blocked bands. Series 5 GPS models start at $399 USD for the WiFi version and $499 USD for GPS + Cellular and are available to order today. Series 3 pricing drops to $199 USD.
  • Next up was the iPhone 11. It has an anodized aluminum and glass design. And the claimed toughest glass ever in a smartphone on front and back. There are six new colors, with new purple, white, yellow, green, black, and Product (RED). It has a 6.1″ Liquid Retina display, True Tone, wide color, Tap to wake, and Haptic Touch. Spatial audio, with immersive theater-like experience. Dolby Atmos. A 12MP TrueDepth front camera has wider sensor with 4k video on front camera is on board. A dual camera system with 12MP wide camera. 12MP Ultra Wide Camera with 120-degree field of view. Updated image pipeline. Added semantic rendering, to help people look even better. Next-gen smart HDR. Multi-scale tone mapping to treat highlights different in different parts of the image. There’s new portrait mode and night mode on board too. Video can switch between the lenses in 4K 60 FPS. And QuickTake is back! Simply tap and hold the shutter button when taking a picture to take a video. Oh yeah, there’s a A13 Bionic processor running the show which Apple says is the fastest GPU and CPU in a smart phone ever. It also has 1 hour more battery life than the iPhone XR. Apple must have figured out that price that they were asking for the previous XR was too expensive. Thus the price now starts at $699 USD.
  • Next up was the Phone 11 Pro and Pro Max. For the record, I hate that Pro Max name. It comes with surgical grade stainless steel. The back is a single piece of machined glass. It has a matte textured finish. It comes in Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, Gold. It still comes with a 1200 nit OLED display (5.8″ and 6.5″) that is claimed to be 15% more energy efficient. It only has haptic touch though. You get HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos. All that is now called the Super Retina XDR display. You get the A13 Bionic processor too. iPhone 11 Pro lasts 4 hours longer than iPhone Xs. And Apple joins the 21st century by including an fast charge 18-watt adapter in the box. It has three cameras. A 12MP wide camera with f/1.9 aperture. 12MP with f/2.0 aperture. Ultra wide f/2.4 and 120 field of view. It also shoots video at 4k60fps XDR video. WiFi 6 is on board as well. Face ID is faster and works from more angles. iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 USD. iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1099 USD. Pre orders start Friday at 5AM PDT / 8AM EDT and shipping starts September 20. Sticking around are the iPhone XR at $599 USD and iPhone 8 at $449 USD. There are new cases as well.
  • Apple Retail was next. You can now pair any Apple Watch with any band in store or online. Apple now offers low monthly payments and trade in options. Oh, and if you are in NYC, the 5th Avenue store will reopen on September 20th.

That’s it. That was quite a bit. But not quite what I was expecting given the scale of the rumors that were floating around such as a Tile like device or sleep tracking. I’ll be checking to see if anything else appears so stay tuned to this page for updates.


UPDATE #2: MacRumors is reporting that watchOS 6 will be out for Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches on September 19. Other Apple Watches will get it later this fall. Whatever that means. MacRumors is also reporting that macOS Catalina will be out in October. Whatever that means.

UPDATE #3: 9to5mac has specs on the new Apple Watches. It’s intresting reading. Specifically this part:

While it wasn’t mentioned in the keynote, the new Apple Watch Series 5 indeed runs on a new Apple S5 chip inside: 64-bit dual-core S5 processor, up to 2x faster than S3 processor (includes W3 wireless chip)

That seems a bit odd. Last year the Series 4 promised that it was the S4 chip was 2x faster as per this cached webpage. Here are screenshots as proof of this:




Does that mean that the Series 5 is not any faster than the Series 4? I’d love for someone to serve up that answer. Because if it’s not any faster, and with no groundbreaking feature like ECG was last year, I’m not feeling a reason to upgrade from my Series 4.

But I’ve also noted something else. If you go to this page on and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see this:


Apple does not appear to be selling the Series 4 anymore. That’s weird. I’d say get one while you can and hopefully it will be discounted.

UPDATE #4: I found something else. Apple made a big deal about the LPTO display in the Apple Watch Series 5 that allows the display to be always on. The thing is that I found this in this cached webpage for the Series 4:


It too has an LPTO display. So… Unless this is a new version of this display, it kind of implies that Apple could have made the Series 4 to be always on. I guess we’ll have to wait until someone like iFixit does a teardown to discover if this is the same display or not. If it is, expect the class action lawsuit from ticked off Series 4 owners to be inbound.