First Look at Apple News+

One of the new services that Apple announced on March 25 is Apple News+. Building on a free platform that the company debuted in 2017 with iOS 9, Apple has added magazines, newspapers, and premium websites to create a subscription-based service.

Unlike the other services that Apple announced on Monday, Apple News+ is available now, with the latest updates to iOS (12.2) and macOS (10.14.4). You can check it out in the News app by clicking News+ in the sidebar, and you can sign up for a one-month free trial.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Your AirPods Probably Have Terrible Battery Life – The Atlantic

Two years ago, Desmond Hughes heard so many of his favorite podcasters extolling AirPods, Apple’s tiny, futuristic $170 wireless headphones, that he decided they were worth the splurge. He quickly became a convert.

Hughes is still listening to podcasters talk about their AirPods, but now they’re complaining. The battery can no longer hold a charge, they say, rendering them functionally useless.

[…]

Hughes, who is 35 and lives in Newport News, Virginia, has noticed a similar thing about his own set: At first, their charge lasted five hours, but now they sometimes last only half an hour. He frequently listens to one while charging the other—not optimal conditions for expensive headphones.

[…]

The lithium-ion batteries that power AirPods are everywhere. One industry report forecast that sales would grow to $109.72 billion by 2026, from $36.2 billion in 2018. They charge faster, last longer, and pack more power into a small space than other types of batteries do. But they die faster, too, often after just a few years, because every time you charge them, they degrade a little. They can also catch fire or explode if they become damaged, so technology companies make them difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to replace themselves.

The result: A lot of barely chargeable AirPods and wireless mice and Bluetooth speakers are ending up in the trash as consumers go through products—even expensive ones—faster than ever.

This is quite disappointing. I bought mine when they were released, in December 2016. I don’t use them a lot; I use them for phone calls (I work at home, and I prefer making phone calls with headphones), and to listen to music and podcasts when I walk. But that is, on average, less than one hour a day, and sometimes I don’t use them for several days.

Nevertheless, I find that they don’t connect to my iPhone reliably any more, and they don’t last as long as they used to. I’m not in a situation where they need replacing yet, especially given the cost, but that headphone jack is looking a lot better now in hindsight.

Source: Your AirPods Probably Have Terrible Battery Life – The Atlantic

Learn How to Use Siri in the New Book Take Control of Siri

Tc siriWhen Take Control Books ran a customer survey last summer, asking which Apple software products people would most like to read about, Siri got the most votes. In keeping with their theme of giving you what you’ve asked for, they are delighted to announce our latest book, Take Control of Siri by former Macworld editor Scholle McFarland! This book is the definitive guide to Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant across all platforms—iOS, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and even HomePod. If you own any Apple device with Siri support, this book will tell you everything you need to know about being more productive, saving time and effort, and having fun with Siri. And you may be surprised at how powerful Siri has become since its early days!

This book is a terrific resource. Here’s just a tiny sampling of what’s in this 138-page book:

  • The numerous ways to activate Siri (by touch or by voice)
  • How to personalize Siri by telling it about yourself, your contacts, and more
  • How to use Siri with AirPods, wired earbuds, or third-party headphones—or in your car
  • How to ask Siri about sports, math and conversions, time, food, movies, people, stocks, the weather, jokes, and random facts (including follow-up questions)
  • How to control music (on any device, with or without an Apple Music subscription)
  • Techniques for using Siri to get directions, set reminders and appointments, send messages and email, and take notes
  • Ways to use Siri to search for files on your Mac
  • What Siri can and can’t do for you on an Apple TV or HomePod
  • How to make and use Siri Shortcuts on an iOS device or Apple Watch
  • Everything you need to know about your privacy where Siri is involved

In addition, Scholle has made a series of videos to go with the book, showing you exactly what happens as you use Siri. (Two are ready right now, and eight more will be available in the coming days.) You’ll get to see and hear how to make the most of Siri (as well as its sense of humor).

Get Take Control of Siri now.

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication for Your Apple Developer Account

Last week, Apple informed people who have Apple developer accounts that they need to set up two-factor authentication for those accounts. They sent the following email:

In an effort to keep your account more secure, two-factor authentication will be required to sign in to your Apple Developer account and Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles starting February 27, 2019. This extra layer of security for your Apple ID helps ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account. If you haven’t already enabled two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, please learn more and update your security settings.

This two-week warning was a bit surprising, but even more so because many people use a separate Apple ID for their developer accounts; some even manage multiple developer accounts for clients. Since Apple’s method of using two-factor authentication is device-specific – it sends codes to trusted devices – this can be problematic.

Fortunately, there is a workaround.

Start by creating a new user account on a Mac. Sign into iCloud with that account using your developer account Apple ID. You will be asked if you want to turn on two-factor authentication; go ahead.

You’ll be asked to give a phone number on which you can receive a code via SMS. Give the number of your iPhone, or whatever phone you use. When you get the code, enter it to complete the setup.

Go to the Apple developer website and log in using your developer Apple ID and password. You’ll be asked to enter a code that was sent to your device; this will be the Mac where you set up the new user account.

2FA1

Ignore that code and click Didn’t get a verification code? You’ll see the following:

2FA2

Click Text Me to get a six-digit code sent to your phone. Enter that code and you’re in.

Once you’ve done this, you can delete the user account you created.

It’s a shame that Apple doesn’t offer the ability to use an authenticator app to generate codes. I know a lot of developers – including myself – who were a bit confused by the email saying they had to turn on two-factor authentication, because your individual devices are used for the verification, and the same device cannot be used for multiple accounts.

And the other problem is for people who manage multiple developer accounts. Having to go through this process for each one is time-consuming. Yet another reason why Apple’s Apple ID system needs to be rethought.

Apple to Remove “Do Not Track” Feature from Safari

Apple is planning to remove the Do Not Track feature from the Safari web browser with the next major updates of macOS Mojave and iOS. With versions 10.14.4 and 12.2 of these operating systems, respectively, the Do Not Track feature will no longer be available.

Introduced in 2014, Do Not Track was added to Apple’s browsers and told websites that you didn’t want to be tracked, or have your web browsing followed across multiple sites. According to Apple, “it’s up to the website to honor this request.”

Do Not Track has proved to be essentially useless, as most websites simply ignore it. And, the existence of this feature can help trackers create a fingerprint of your web browser. This fingerprinting uses a number of variables in your browser and operating system to create what can be a unique profile capable of identifying you.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 67: FaceTime, Facebook, Google, Shortcuts, Steganography, and More

Apple had a mean FaceTime bug; then they slapped down Facebook, and Google, for some underhanded app distribution. There are security risks using iOS Shortcuts, and there’s new malware using steganography.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.