How to stop Mac and iOS apps stealing your data

Two fists in a Mac

Be careful what you install an app for, c/o Flickr

Popular Mac App Store apps have been secretly gathering sensitive user dataand uploading it to servers in China and elsewhere, building vast troves of data in places that may not provide the same level of protection as we expect. This is a Very Bad Thing.

What are they doing with this data?

We don’t know what is happening with this data once it is collected. It’s conceivable that this information could be analysed alongside other collections of data to provide insights into a person’s identity, online activity, or even political beliefs. Cambridge Analytica and other dodgy behavioural modification companies taught us this.

The fact is we don’t know what is happening to the data that is being exfiltrated in this way. And in most cases we are not even aware this is taking place.

The only reason we know Continue reading “How to stop Mac and iOS apps stealing your data”

This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins

Engadget has been around for 14 years and counting, which means our archives contain a veritable treasure trove of technology history. From notable reviews and news to the more mundane or ridiculous finds from across the internet, there’s a lot to explore here. “This Day in Engadget History” will take you on a historical voyage as we look at what made the headlines in years past. Join us, won’t you?

It’s definitely been a while since anyone seriously needed to jailbreak their iPhone. While undoubtedly some people still do, it seems like there’s little need now that we’ve seen the tenth anniversary of the iOS App Store. There are plenty of apps these days and a whole different OS (Google’s Android) for those who want something a little more customizable.

Finding and Banishing Problematic Apps on Your iOS device

Having a bad app or two on your iOS device can really affect your relationship with your iPhone or iPad. If an app is poorly written or buggy, it can reduce battery life, take up more local storage than necessary, and even cause your device to crash or lock up frequently. Today we’ll look at how you can identify those troublesome apps so that you can look for a newer — and hopefully less buggy — version or a replacement for the broken app.

Battery Usage
One of the primary factors indicating that an app just isn’t playing well with iOS and your hardware is battery usage. To see just how much of your battery each app is using, launch the Settings app and scroll down to Battery. How each app has performed during the last 24 hour or 7 days is listed in terms of how much power it’s used,

"Using
"Settings
A close look at how a single app is utilizing storage
System Status Pro's graph displays CPU, memory, storage and battery usage over time

Continue reading “Finding and Banishing Problematic Apps on Your iOS device”

Apple’s iOS App Store changed the way we think about software

Ten years ago today, Apple officially launched the iOS App Store and — for better or worse — it helped rewrite the rules of society. The iPhone, which debuted about a year prior, came with just north of 12 built-in apps to start. But with the coming of iOS 2.0 and the App Store, the sort of functionality you could squeeze out of Apple’s smartphone was only constrained by a developer’s imagination … and how much storage you had left.

10 years of the App Store in 10+ facts

Apple has a big anniversary coming – the App Store will be ten-years old on July 10.

“We could not be more proud of what developers have created and what the next 10 years have in store,” said VP, Phil Schiller, in an Apple release celebrating this looming anniversary.

I thought it might be good to find 10 interesting facts about the store as it celebrates its tenth anniversary.

Steve Jobs knew how to listen

Steve Jobs wasn’t keen on launching an App Store at first, he was concerned third-party apps could damage device or network performance or attract viruses.

Not for the first time, Jobs listened to what people said and changed his mind.

Apple launched the App Store alongside the iPhone 3G in 2008. This is what he said when he announced the store in March 2008: “…You’re a developer and you’ve just spent two weeks or maybe a

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs: Insanely Great
Apple iPhone SE 16 GB Factory Unlocked, Space Gray (Certified Refurbished)
Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made
Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company
Apple MMEF2AM/A AirPods Wireless Bluetooth Headset for iPhones with iOS 10 or Later White

Continue reading “10 years of the App Store in 10+ facts”

The new Mac App Store is inspired by iOS

Apple has revealed a redesigned Mac App Store at WWDC 2018, which takes clear design cues from the iOS version of the shop. You’ll notice right away that it now looks a lot like the one on your iPhone and iPad, featuring a “Discover” tab that will highlight a wide range of curated content, anything from “best apps” lists to tutorials and behind-the-scenes stories from developers. Ratings and reviews of applications are now front and center, too, while video previews are making its debut on the Mac App Store for the first time — that’s a feature that launched on iOS in 2014.

What to expect at WWDC 2018

It’s officially June now, which means it’s time for us to pack our bags, get on a plane to California and take in the second major developer conference of the season: Apple’s WWDC. We’ll be on the ground at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center next week scrounging up insights from as many presentations and developer sessions as we can crash. But as always, the show’s focal point is the Monday keynote where Apple lays out its future in software. Be sure to keep your browser locked on our liveblog when the keynote begins on Monday, June 4 at 10AM PT/1PM ET — until then, read on for a primer on all the things we expect see once the keynote unfolds.

YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music but won’t kill user uploads

Enlarge / The home screen of the revamped YouTube Music app, running on an iPad. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Google has confirmed that its revamped YouTube Music streaming service will eventually support key features of its Google Play Music app, including the ability for users to upload music files that may not exist in the service’s streaming catalog.

Google announced an overhaul for YouTube Music last week alongside a price bump for its YouTube Red service. It then began a “soft” rollout of the app for select users on Tuesday.

But the announcement of a revamped YouTube Music app has caused some confusion among those who subscribe to Google Play Music, a streaming music service Google launched in 2011 but has struggled to attract subscribers on the level of category leaders Spotify and Apple Music.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The revamped Google News app is now available on iPhones and iPads

Jeff Dunn

Google detailed an overhaul of the Google News app at its I/O developer conference last week, and on Wednesday that redesign officially became available to download on iOS devices. It replaces the previous Google Play Newsstand app.

The new app arrived on Android devices shortly after Google’s initial announcement. Google says the app is available in 127 countries.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple is reportedly pulling apps that share location data

Apple has reportedly started enforcing an App Store rule regarding location data more stringently. According 9to5mac, the tech giant has already removed a number of apps from the Store that share users’ location to third parties without their explicit consent. In the letter it sent to the affected developers, Apple told them their applications didn’t comply with Legal sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines. Those sections state that apps must not transmit “user location data to third parties without explicit consent from the user and for unapproved purposes.”

Source: 9to5mac

Lame Google Play apps that attack users with Windows malware is still a thing

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Last year, researchers discovered 132 Android apps in the Google Play market that lamely attempted to infect users with… Windows malware. On Wednesday, researchers with a different security company reported finding 150 more.

The latest batch of apps, like the ones 12 months ago, were spawned from a variety of different developers. The common thread among all the apps: their code was written on programming platforms infected with malware known as Ramnit. Although the Ramnit botnet of 3.2 million computers was dismantled in 2015, infections on local machines live on.

The malware adds malicious iframes to every HTML file stored on an infected computer. Those iframes then got appended to files that were included in the Android apps. Researchers at security firm Zscaler said almost all of the 150 infected apps were detected using common antivirus engines.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

8 productivity apps your iPad will love you for

Apple’s iPads are becoming powerful productivity tools, enabling us to do more and more things we used to need a computer to achieve on mobile devices we can take anywhere.

I put together this short list of some of the best productivity apps that every iPad user should think about installing.

iPad gets more like a computer

Microsoft’s apps just became even more effective on an iPad

Microsoft Office

The suite that defines enterprise productivity is also available for iOS. Do you use Office on your Mac? If you do, it’s likely you already subscribe to some flavour of Office 365, and this allows you to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint on your iPad, and provides you with 1TB of free OneDrive storage.

Microsoft recently published an excellent update to the suite, introducing support for drag-&-drop on iPad and Files in iOS 11, and much improved document collaboration. This makes Office an even more invaluable iPad companion,

The office anywhere
Check what's changed
Zip on iPad

Continue reading “8 productivity apps your iPad will love you for”

Alienware revamps its Command Center app with a centralized game hub

Enlarge / The revamped Alienware Command Center’s home screen, with its game library on the right. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Another quick update out of CES: Gaming PC maker Alienware is refreshing the Command Center software that comes paired with its line of notebooks and desktops. The overhauled settings app will first arrive in February on a slightly updated version of the company’s Area 51 desktop, which loses a front USB port, adds a couple more fans and U.2 SSD support, and supports a wider breadth of LED colors on its chassis. The software will then come pre-installed on new Alienware devices going forward. Unfortunately, it won’t be available for the Dell subsidiary’s existing machines.

Apple will allow apps built from templates

Apple has revised its App Store guidelines to allow apps built using templates and other app-generation services. The decision — a one-eighty on its previous policy that banned such apps in the name of preserving quality — is supposed to make it easier for small businesses and non-profits to offer their own apps without the expense or expertise of building their own. But it’s Apple, so there are of course some caveats.

Via: Techcrunch

Source: Apple

Microsoft is forcing users to install a critically flawed password manager

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is quietly forcing some Windows 10 computers to install a password manager that contains a critical vulnerability disclosed 16 months ago that allows websites to steal passwords, a researcher said Friday.

Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy said in a blog post that the Keeper Password Manager came pre-installed on a newly built Windows 10 system derived directly from the Microsoft Developer Network. When he tested the unwanted app, he soon found it contained a critical flaw he had found in August 2016 in the non-bundled version of Keeper. The bug, he said, represents “a complete compromise of Keeper security, allowing any website to steal any password.”

With only basic changes to “selectors,” the old proof-of-concept exploit worked on the version installed without notice or permission on his Windows 10 system. Ormandy’s post linked to this publicly available proof-of-concept exploit, which steals an end

Continue reading “Microsoft is forcing users to install a critically flawed password manager”

Apple turns on app preorders in App Store

Enlarge / iOS 11, which will ship with the iPhone 8, has a renovated app store.

Apps are just as highly anticipated as other forms of entertainment now, and Apple’s newest update to its app stores let customers call dibs on their favorites before they’re even released. An update to the iTunes Connect resources page states that developers can now open up their apps for preorder on all Apple platforms before the program is officially released. This allows developers to see the product page before anyone can download the app, and customers can tap a new “Pre-Order” button to secure their download before it becomes available on the designated release date.

Developers can choose never-before-published apps from their My Apps page to make available for preorder. They must choose an official release date before the preorder page goes live, and that date must be at least two days, but no

Continue reading “Apple turns on app preorders in App Store”

You can now pre-order apps for Apple devices

Apple has launched a simple new feature that makes it even easier to get the apps you’ve been waiting for. The company announced a new pre-order function that lets developers make their future releases available on the App Store up to 90 days in the future and have them automatically download to devices when they launch.

Source: Apple

Mac and iOS Drone Apps to Get You Flying

Image via DJI.com

(Image via DJI.com.)

Drones — those remotely-piloted multi-rotor “copters” or airplanes that usually carry a camera — are becoming more and more popular, so there may be a good chance that you either have one or are thinking about buying one for the upcoming holidays. Whether you’re flying for pleasure or you’ve decided to take on a new job as a commercial drone pilot with an FAA Part 107 certificate, there are a number of apps available to Apple users to help you get in the air and hone your skills when you’re not flying.


Mac Apps:

There are a lot of iOS apps for potential and existing drone pilots, but we’ll start off with some notable Mac apps.

Zephyr Sim provides realistic drone flight conditions including weather

(Zephyr Sim for Mac provides realistic drone flight conditions including weather.)

Zephyr Drone Simulator
Want to build and maintain flying skills without crashing an expensive drone? Zephyr Drone Simulator is

Learn to understand the fast-paced jargon of pilots and controllers with LiveATC
Green = Go! UAV Forecast gives a complete weather briefing at a glance.
For automating aerial mapping, DroneDeploy is the way to go

Continue reading “Mac and iOS Drone Apps to Get You Flying”

Apple and Google ditch shady trading apps with Australia’s help

It’s no secret that Google and even Apple have an abundance of sketchy applications on their app stores. Some of those called binary options trading apps have alarmed the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) so much that it helped the tech titans remove over 330 of them. According to Bloomberg, the regulator staged an intervention after getting numerous cases of fraud filed against the apps’ operators, who turned out to be unlicensed. ASIC said it managed to get Apple to remove the fraudulent apps from its stores worldwide, but it didn’t specify whether Google deleted them from the Australian store only.

Source: Bloomberg, ASIC