Are iOS Apps Spying On Your Location?

The New York Times published an article this week about how apps are recording your location and selling the data to companies that “sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds seeking insights into consumer behavior.” This $21 billion market depends on the fact that most users allow apps to access their location, even if they don’t need to do this.

While this is more common on Android than on iOS, you may have apps on your iPhone or iPad that are accessing and selling your location data without you being aware. In this article, I’m going to show you how to adjust which apps can access your location.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 58: New Security Features in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

We take a close look at the great new security features in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. We also answer a few reader questions, about the Activity Monitor app, about when to upgrade hardware, and whether “free” media sites are safe.

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.

New Security and Privacy Features in iOS 12

iOS 12 has brought many new features to your iPhone and iPad as we discussed here. But beyond the more obvious changes – new notifications, Screen Time, Shortcuts and others – iOS 12 has delivered a bushel of new security features. Most of these features revolve around passwords and iCloud Keychain, but there are a few other features that make your devices more secure. Here’s an overview of what’s new in iOS 12 security.

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

Use iOS Shortcuts to Automate Tasks on Your iPhone or iPad

One of the new features of iOS 12 that hasn’t gotten much attention is shortcuts. Shortcuts are automation routines that you can run on your iPhone or iPad, making complex tasks as easy as tapping a button or giving a command to Siri. Shortcuts aren’t that simple to create, but you can find many pre-made shortcuts and use them as is or adapt them to your needs. Here’s a primer on using shortcuts for iOS.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 49: What iOS 12 Means for You

We take a look at some of the new features in iOS 12, released early this week. We also talk about some issues with Safari 12 and extensions, and follow up on a story we reported about malware in Mac App Store apps from Trend Micro.

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.

Apple’s Measure App and Accuracy

One of the more interesting apps in iOS 12, which Apple released this week, is Measure. It uses augmented reality (AR) to calculate the length, width, and area of items. This is a complex process, which involves having the iPhone or iPad calculate the distance between its camera and the object you are measuring in order to determine the object’s dimensions.

The problem is that it is not very accurate.

I tried measure a number of objects, and two things were apparent. The first is that Measure is not very accurate, and the second is that the same object measured twice can return different dimensions.

Here are some examples:

Measure1

The inside of the frame measures 78 cm x 101cm; the Measure app is off by about 20%.

Measure2

The stool above measures about 38cm x 53cm. The Measure app isn’t that far off, and this would be an acceptable measurement if I were, say, sizing up furniture for my living room, where tolerances don’t need to be precise.

But what is worrisome is the fact that when I’ve measured the same items multiple times, the results differ. Here are two measurements of one of my shakuhachis.

Measure3

Measure4

Ignore Rosalind the Cat; she wanted to see what was going on, but I had completed the measurement before she started checking it out. I took both of these measurements from the same position, with the iPhone at the same height. The shakuhachi is 55cm long; while one might allow for a bit of tolerance because the measure points are not exactly at the ends of the instrument, they do both end up at about the same position on the instrument.

I thought I’d give it another chance today; it’s sunny, and yesterday was a bit overcast. This time it says 57cm.

Measure5

And here’s one last example; I got as close as I could, and it even says on the cover that it’s 21cm x 29.7cm…

IMG 8118

In a Twitter conversation yesterday, some people said they found it very accurate, others not at all (one showed a 38″ MacBook Pro they had measured). I don’t know if this app is better suited for certain types of measurements, such as full rooms and the height of walls, but my tests show that its results are essentially estimates.

The Measure app is a good party toy, but little more, in its current state.

Note that these measures were taken with an iPhone 8+; I’m not sure if it uses the dual cameras, but if so, the parallax of the dual cameras should make it more accurate than a single camera.