Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 380

Show 380 – May 5, 2021

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael                  


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings 

Story 1 ~  

MS Apple devices under attack — update your Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch now

Exploited flaws threaten most of Apple’s most recent devices

Tom’s Guide reports ~ Apple on Monday (May 3) pushed out emergency patches to macOS, iPadOS, watchOS and two different versions of iOS to fix four flaws in WebKit, the rendering engine that underlies the Safari web browser.

Macs are pushed up to macOS Big Sur 11.3.1. Apple Watch goes up to watchOS 7.4.1. Newer iPhones and iPads get iOS/iPadOS 14.5.1, while older iPhones and iPads (going back to 2013’s iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini 2) get iOS 12.5.3.

Install these updates when you receive them, because for each flaw, the company states that “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

In each case, Apple says, “processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution.” In plain English, that means web pages could be built to remotely hack your Mac, iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.

Three of the four flaws — had to do with improper handling of running memory.

The fourth vulnerability — is described only as an “integer overflow.” 

The iOS 12.5.3 update patches all four of the flaws. The other updates patch only CVE-2021-30663 & 30665, the remaining two flaws presumably having been fixed by previous system updates.

Apple normally doesn’t give much in the way of details about security flaws until well after most users have installed the fixes. 



Story 2 ~

ZK 10,000 apps have already enabled App Tracking Transparency; most of them are games

9TO5Mac reports ~ According to the analyst firm, about 10,000 apps available in the App Store have already been updated with support for the new App Tracking Transparency option introduced with iOS 14.5. What is more interesting, however, is the fact that most of the apps already updated with ATT support are games, by a BIG margin.

Among the apps that have now included the new App Tracking Transparency API, more than 20% of them are games. The utilities category comes in second but much further away from the games category, with only 6%. At the same time, this does not mean that users are enabling tracking for these apps.

AppFigures believes that slightly more than half of the users prompted about App Tracking Transparency will keep the option off for most apps, which may indeed affect the business model of some companies that are primarily based on advertisements.

The report shows that while some developers do not properly explain how the data will be used if the user chooses to be tracked, there are also some apps that are falsely trying to convince users to click the Allow button.

“Thanks for being a fan of our app! To keep supporting us, please click “Allow” on the next step so we can bring you personalised advertising,” says the message in a game. Practices like this are not allowed according to the App Store guidelines, but still, there are some developers breaking the rules.

Since the feature was introduced, companies such as Facebook and Alibaba have expressed concern about the App Tracking Transparency option. Those companies have been thinking of ways to preserve their revenue as users are gradually updating to iOS 14.5. However, it seems that there’s not much that can be done.



Story 3 ~

MS Clips adds immersive new AR Spaces

Clips version 3.1 lets users scan a space using the LiDAR Scanner on iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models to apply fun, engaging video effects that transform their world

Clips, Apple’s easy-to-use video creation app for iPhone and iPad, gives users even more fun options to record captivating videos. With all-new AR Spaces powered by LiDAR on iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models, creators can transform a space by adding immersive visual effects that map to the contours of a room, and can be easily shared with anyone. AR Spaces in the Clips app leverage Apple’s unique combination of hardware and software, offering another inventive way for users to engage with and delight friends and family, or share playful, eye-catching videos on social media. Clips is also expanding creative options with monthly content releases containing new filters, stickers, and more.

Transform a Room with New AR Spaces

First introduced on iPad Pro last year, the state-of-the-art LiDAR Scanner on select iPhone and iPad models enables cutting-edge depth-sensing capabilities, never before possible on a mobile device.

This breakthrough technology measures light distance and uses pixel depth information of a scene to deliver faster and more realistic augmented reality (AR) experiences. Combined with the tight integration of Apple’s hardware and software, Clips 3.1 now enables users to record amazing videos with magical effects that map to the shape of a room and the objects within it.

With AR Spaces in Clips 3.1, users can easily scan a room and see a live preview of effects that bring dynamic lighting, falling objects, and immersive scenes to life. 

Using the rear camera on a supported iPhone or iPad,2 users will see effects appear on walls, floors, surfaces, furniture, and objects.

Continue playback of video: AR Spaces: Disco 

AR Spaces come to life using the LiDAR Scanner on iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models, offering seven effects, including Prism, Confetti, Disco, Dance Floor, Sparkles, Stardust, and Hearts.

Clips 3.1 includes seven new AR Spaces effects to choose from:

      • Prism: Ribbons of rainbow light scan the walls, floors, and objects in a room.
      • Confetti: Celebratory bursts of confetti fall and accumulate on flat surfaces.
      • Disco: Shining lights reflect off the disco ball that hangs from the ceiling of the space.
      • Dance Floor: Colorful tiles of light dance in patterns across the floor.
      • Sparkles: Golden sparkle emoji and white glitter fill the space.
      • Stardust: Magical trails of starlight encircle and follow a person in the video.
      • Hearts: Floating heart balloons bubble up within the space.

Using AR segmentation and occlusion, Clips recognises people in the video and projects the AR Spaces effects in front of and behind them, making it feel as if the effects are all around the space and subjects. AR Spaces can also be combined with all of the animated stickers, text labels, and emoji overlays — and can be recorded in all aspect ratios in Clips, including 9:16 vertical, 16:9 horizontal, and square.

 Continue playback of video: AR Spaces: Prism 

Users have the flexibility to record videos with AR Spaces in all aspect ratios available in the Clips app, and combine them with animated stickers, emoji, and text labels.

Monthly Content Releases for More Creative Options

Clips now offers even more creative content options with monthly updates. Users can expect regular updates to the Clips library of filters, Live Titles, text, stickers, and posters related to seasonal events and cultural trends. And, in Clips 3.1, opt-in notifications are now available to keep users up to date when new content is available.



Three’s is a great brain teaser. I had loads of fun playing this game each time trying to beat my previous score. 

It was just good old fashioned 



#1 ~ MS

Apple Original comedy “Mr. Corman,” created by, directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to make global debut Friday, Aug. 6 on Apple TV+

“Mr. Corman,” the highly anticipated 10-episode Apple Original comedy series created by, directed by and starring Emmy and SAG Award winner Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also executive produces, is set to premiere globally on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 on Apple TV+. The series will debut with the first three episodes, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday.

“Mr. Corman” follows the days and nights of Josh Corman, played by Gordon-Levitt, an artist at heart but not by trade. A career in music hasn’t panned out, and he teaches fifth grade at a public school in the San Fernando Valley. His ex-fiancé Megan has moved out and his high school buddy Victor has moved in.

He knows he has a lot to be thankful for, but finds himself struggling nevertheless through anxiety, loneliness and a sinking suspicion that he sucks as a person. Darkly funny, oddly beautiful and deeply heartfelt, this relatable dramedy speaks for our contemporary generation of 30-somethings – rich with good intentions, poor with student loans and yearning to become real grown-ups sometime before they die.

In addition to Gordon-Levitt, “Mr. Corman” stars Arturo Castro, Debra Winger, Bobby Hall a.k.a. Logic, Alexander Jo, Juno Temple, Jamie Chung, Shannon Woodward and Hector Hernandez.

The series marks a return to TV for Gordon-Levitt, who grew up on the small screen with roles on multiple series, most notably his co-starring turn on the long-running NBC comedy “3rd Rock from the Sun.”



Story 4 ~

ZK Someone mailed an AirTag to themselves to see if they could track its route

You’ll never guess what happened next. 

iMore reports ~ Apple’s AirTag item tracker is now on sale and people are already putting them through their paces. But just how accurate is the tracking capability of the little plastic pucks?

That’s something Dutch YouTuber AirtagAlex wanted to find out, so they mailed an AirTag to themselves and watched it work its way through the Dutch mail service.

Turns out, with the exception of a couple of errant reports, AirTag tracking actually works. Who knew?

Check out the video and see for yourself. It’s in English, so no worries there.

Using iPhones as a sort of mesh network, AirTag should be more accurate than competing products from the likes of Tile and this test suggests that is indeed the case.

I’d love to know what caused the AirTag to get confused once or twice, but that could simply be early Find My teething troubles. We’ll know more when AirtagAlex posts the AirTag to another country, as he promises to do.




Story 5 ~ 

MS Facebook and Instagram have already begun to test Apple’s patience with new practices

Pocket now reports ~ Facebook is trying to goad users into accepting ad tracking by telling them that it’s essential to keeping the app free.

Apple released iOS 14.5 last week, introducing a host of features such as new Siri voices, unlocking an iPhone with your Apple Watch, and AirTags support among others.

However, one change in particular that will have the biggest impact was the arrival of AppTracking Transparency framework, which has far-reaching implications for user privacy and how developers pitch ads. 

Facebook was not too happy about it, and has now started showing a notification to users that Apple might not take very kindly. 

Spotted first by reporter Ashkan Soltani, Facebook and Instagram apps for iOS have started showing a prompt that tells users to accept ad-tracking, because that’s what helps keep these apps free.

The message appears on the prompt notification where Apple allows developers to explain why they want to track their activity across apps and websites.

This is necessary because apps now have to explicitly ask users for their permission to collect identifying data for showing them targeted ads. Of course, users can choose to reject it, and that will be the end of the story. 

A scare tactic that might backfire for Facebook?

Facebook is calling the prompt Educational Screen, in case you were wondering. However, telling users that this tracking is necessary for keeping Facebook and Instagram free is nothing short of a scare tactic into making users believe that they might possibly have to pay for using these services if they choose to disable ad tracking.

Apple clearly mentions on the support page that the system prompt must explain why a developer would like to track users. Scaring them into believing that their days of using Facebook and Instagram for free are numbered is definitely not a good move.

But that’s not all. It could also land Facebook in a regulatory pickle over misleading advertising. Until 2019, Facebook used to openly advertise that it is, and will always be, free.

Of course, the company later removed that line quietly from its advertising campaign, while CEO Mark Zuckerberg also hinted at the possibility of a paid version of Facebook.

But what about users who signed up for Facebook primarily due to the allure of the service being free forever?  



Story 6 ~

MS Apple Reports Second Quarter Results

Revenue up 54 percent to new March quarter record 

Services and Mac revenue reach new all-time high

To put this in perspective. Apples best quarters are the holiday quarters.  Holiday 2020 then holiday 2019 then this one ~ not a holiday quarter.

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2021 second quarter ended March 27, 2021. The Company posted a March quarter record revenue of $89.6 billion, up 54 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.40. International sales accounted for 67 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“This quarter reflects both the enduring ways our products have helped our users meet this moment in their own lives, as well as the optimism consumers seem to feel about better days ahead for all of us,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“Apple is in a period of sweeping innovation across our product lineup, and we’re keeping focus on how we can help our teams and the communities where we work emerge from this pandemic into a better world. That certainly begins with products like the all-new iMac and iPad Pro, but it extends to efforts like the 8 gigawatts of new clean energy we’ll help bring onto the grid and our $430 billion investment in the United States over the next 5 years.”

“We are proud of our March quarter performance, which included revenue records in each of our geographic segments and strong double-digit growth in each of our product categories, driving our installed base of active devices to an all-time high,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. 

“These results allowed us to generate operating cash flow of $24 billion and return nearly $23 billion to shareholders during the quarter. We are confident in our future and continue to make significant investments to support our long-term plans and enrich our customers’ lives.”

Apple’s board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.22 per share of the Company’s common stock, an increase of 7 percent. The dividend is payable on May 13, 2021 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 10, 2021. The board of directors has also authorised an increase of $90 billion to the existing share repurchase program.



How To ~ 


How to update AirPods

Macworld UK helps us ~ To keep these audio accoutrements in tip-top condition, you’ll want to ensure that their software stays up to date. But doing this isn’t as obvious as it may seem, so here’s our quick guide to updating your AirPods.

How to update AirPods on iPhone

One of the reasons it can be hard to know what to do when updating AirPods is the process is all handled automatically in the background. There are a few things you need to ensure, though, if you want to keep you AirPods on the latest software version.

      1. 1.Place the AirPods in their charging case.
      2. 2.Ensure the charging case is receiving power.
      3. 3.Position the iOS device that’s linked to the AirPods next to the charging case.
      4. 4.Leave them there for 10 or 15 minutes.

Now your AirPods should automatically update their software, aided by your iPhone. If you don’t want to be without either for any length of time, then you can just do this when you’re going to bed and allow the process to work its magic while you sleep.



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Over to Zarn for the sign off

ZK The now infamous “Sign Off”

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