Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 383

Show 383 – May 26, 2021

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings 

Story 1 ~  

MS Telstra, Optus, and Aldi Mobile warned by ACMA for not verifying new customer info

ZDNet reports ~ ACMA states it is ‘cracking down’ on telcos leaving customers vulnerable to identity theft, with Telstra, Aldi Mobile, and Optus in the firing line.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued formal notices to a trio of telcos after finding each had failed to validate customer details when moving between carriers.

Medion Mobile, which powers Aldi Mobile and is owned by Lenovo, was caught out on 53 occasions, Telstra was found to have breached its obligations 52 times, and Optus was pinged for one violation.

“Historically it has been too easy to transfer phone numbers from one telco to another. All a scammer needed to hijack a mobile number and access personal information like bank details was a name, address and date of birth,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“We are cracking down on telcos that don’t follow the rules and leave customers vulnerable to identity theft.”

ACMA said those who experienced mobile number fraud typically lost more than AU$10,000, and struggle to “regain control of their identities for long periods of time”.

Since new rules on validating customer information came into effect early last year, the regulator said some telcos have reported the practice has stopped.

ACMA said if a person believes they have fallen victim to such an attack, to contact their telco and bank, change passwords, report the act to the police, Scamwatch, and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

As usual with telco rule breaches, the ACMA warned further violations could see a AU$250,000 fine per breach.

Earlier in the week, Lycamobile paid a AU$600,000 fine levelled at it, after ACMA found what it called “prolonged and large-scale customer data failures, which could have put people in danger”.

In its investigation, ACMA found 245,902 instances where the telco failed to pass on information to Telstra so it could maintain the Integrated Public Numbers Database (IPND) used by emergency services when responding to 000 calls, as well as the Emergency Alert Service.

ACMA said there were 5,671 instances where Lycamobile did not upload data to the IPND for “between three days and nine years” after gaining a customer. It also did not upload complete and accurate information for 240,231 customers, with over 210,000 customers being listed as connected in the IPND when they were disconnected.



Story 2 ~

ZK Google Photos unlimited free photos ends June 1 — what to do now

Tom’s Guide reports ~ Google Photos will limit free cloud storage options next month

Google Photos’ free storage ride is coming to an end, as the company is making sweeping changes to its cloud storage policy, resulting in a tiered system that’s similar to Apple’s iCloud. Users will still get up to 15 GB for free that’s shared throughout their Google accounts. Come June 1, however, they won’t be able to partake in the unlimited storage option without paying a premium. 

Originally, Google gave users 15GB of storage for their Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos for free. Photos and videos that were saved at lower qualities — High or Express — were given unlimited space at no cost. This set up quickly became popular thanks to an easy-to-use UI and suite of family sharing and smart display features. But now that users have become hooked on Google Photos’ interface, the search company is telling users to either pay up, or move their photos elsewhere.

Google Photos will be easier to organise

In the days when Google Photos storage was unlimited, you had the option to backup all your photos without worrying if they were actually worth keeping. From June 1, that won’t be the case. So there’s a brand new storage management tool designed to help you track down and delete particularly troublesome snaps.

Specifically Google Photos will round up all the screenshots, large files, and blurry shots you’ve backed up, as well as images that came from other apps. That way you can see exactly how much space they’re taking up, and scroll through a dedicated feed to pick and choose which ones should be deleted.

The tool has already started rolling out, and should be available to use in the coming days. Google Photos will also give you a personalised estimate on how long it should take to fill up your 15GB free storage allocation. 



Story 3 ~

MS TikTok takes down hundreds of Australian videos in misinformation crackdown

The Guardian reports ~ False Covid claims, including that Scott Morrison faked getting his vaccine, among the content removed from the popular platform.

False claims about Covid vaccines – including that the Australian prime minister faked getting his jab – were among some of the hundreds of Australian videos TikTok removed from its platform as part of a misinformation crackdown.

In February, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Redbubble, Apple, Adobe and TikTok signed on to a new voluntary industry code aimed at combating misinformation and disinformation online.

On Saturday, the organisation representing the companies, Digi, released the first annual reports on how the tech giants are implementing the code’s obligations.

In social video platform TikTok’s report, the company revealed it had removed 651 videos mentioning Covid-19 or coronavirus between October 2020 and March 2021 for violating the company’s misinformation policy. A further 222 videos were removed for posting medical misinformation.

Some of the false claims being made included that the prime minister, Scott Morrison, “faked” the Pfizer vaccination despite clear vision of him receiving the shot; a false claim the health minister Greg Hunt’s cellulitis diagnosis was due to receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine; and a false claim the AstraZeneca vaccine had caused “80%” of the members of the Australian navy “severe side effects”.

TikTok works with Agence France-Presse (AFP) to fact-check claims made about Covid-19, and passes on those fact-checked claims to the company’s moderators.

Close to 20,000 Australian videos in that time also had a Covid-19 information label added to them, directing users to health sources. In instances where a video’s claims have been reviewed but not yet substantiated, users will get a pop-up warning suggesting not to share the video.



Story 4 ~

ZK Spotify Apple Watch offline playback is finally here: How to download music

SLASHGEAR reports ~ Spotify is at long last bringing offline playback to the Apple Watch, allowing wearers to download playlists, albums, and podcasts to their wrist and then listen later without either a data connection or their iPhone nearby. Apple Watch owners could until now access their music from the smartwatch, but offline support was limited to the paired smartphone.

Controlling which content is synchronised to the Apple Watch is done through Spotify’s iPhone app. Hitting the three dots icon (…) next to a playlist, album, or podcast will bring up a new “Download to Apple Watch option”: tapping that will select if for offline playback.

There’s a Downloads section in the Apple Watch app, in which the current progress of each offline sync is shown. As in the iPhone app, the Spotify Apple Watch app will show a small green arrow icon next to content that supports offline playback. After that it’s a matter of pairing your Bluetooth headphones or earbuds to the smartwatch, and hitting play.

There are a few provisos, as you might expect. The most significant is that you’ll need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber, since only that tier gets offline playback in the first place.

All Spotify users can control music playback from the Apple Watch controls. If you’re playing music via Spotify Connect on a TV, smart speaker, or another device, you’ll be able to control that too. Assuming you do have a data connection, you can ask Siri to play songs, artists, playlists, albums, or podcasts; it’s also possible to use Apple’s assistant on the Apple Watch to “like” music, adjust volume, and skip through tracks.

Spotify isn’t the first to support offline playback on the wearable, of course. Apple Music has had that functionality for some time now, as has Pandora. Spotify has long promised its introduction, but the streaming service certainly took its time to actually deliver.

Still, now Spotify says the download support will be added for Apple Watch users globally, and will be rolling out over the coming weeks.



Story 5 ~ 


Apple has unveiled the lineup for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, including keynote and Platforms State of the Union timing, and shared more information on how developers will be able to learn about the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Free for all developers, WWDC21 will bring together the global Apple developer community and provide them with new insights into the technologies, tools, and frameworks they rely on. The conference will offer developers the opportunity to engage with one another, and directly with Apple engineers for guidance on building innovative and platform-differentiating apps and games.

Apple Keynote

June 7, 10 a.m. PDT

WWDC21 kicks off with the unveiling of exciting new updates coming to all Apple platforms later this year. Streamed directly from Apple Park, the keynote address will be available via, the Apple Developer app, the Apple TV app, and YouTube, with on-demand playback available after the conclusion of the stream.

Platforms State of the Union

June 7, 2 p.m. PDT

Take a deeper dive into the new tools, technologies, and advances across Apple platforms that will help Apple developers create even better apps. Platforms State of the Union will stream via the Apple Developer app and the Apple Developer website.

Apple Design Awards

June 10, 2 p.m. PDT

Every year, the Apple Design Awards celebrate the creative artistry, craftsmanship, and technical achievement of Apple developers. The Apple Design Awards will stream via the Apple Developer app and the Apple Developer website.

On June 1, Apple will celebrate student developers from all over the world with the announcement of winners in the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for students of all ages to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground.



Story 6 ~

MS Apple previews powerful software updates designed for people with disabilities

New SignTime service launches Thursday, May 20, to connect Apple Store and Apple Support customers with on-demand sign language interpreters

Apple has announced powerful software features designed for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. These next-generation technologies showcase Apple’s belief that accessibility is a human right and advance the company’s long history of delivering industry-leading features that make Apple products customisable for all users.

Later this year, with software updates across all of Apple’s operating systems, people with limb differences will be able to navigate Apple Watch using AssistiveTouch; iPad will support third-party eye-tracking hardware for easier control; and for blind and low vision communities, Apple’s industry-leading VoiceOver screen reader will get even smarter using on-device intelligence to explore objects within images. In support of neurodiversity, Apple is introducing new background sounds to help minimise distractions, and for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Made for iPhone (MFi) will soon support new bi-directional hearing aids.

Apple is also launching a new service on Thursday, May 20, called SignTime.

This enables customers to communicate with AppleCare and Retail Customer Care by using American Sign Language (ASL) in the US, British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK, or French Sign Language (LSF) in France, right in their web browsers. Customers visiting Apple Store locations can also use SignTime to remotely access a sign language interpreter without booking ahead of time. SignTime will initially launch in the US, UK, and France, with plans to expand to additional countries in the future. For more information, visit

“At Apple, we’ve long felt that the world’s best technology should respond to everyone’s needs, and our teams work relentlessly to build accessibility into everything we make,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives. “With these new features, we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation with next-generation technologies that bring the fun and function of Apple technology to even more people — and we can’t wait to share them with our users.”


AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch

To support users with limited mobility, Apple is introducing a revolutionary new accessibility feature for Apple Watch.

AssistiveTouch for watchOS allows users with upper body limb differences to enjoy the benefits of Apple Watch without ever having to touch the display or controls. Using built-in motion sensors like the gyroscope and accelerometer, along with the optical heart rate sensor and on-device machine learning, Apple Watch can detect subtle differences in muscle movement and tendon activity, which lets users navigate a cursor on the display through a series of hand gestures, like a pinch or a clench. 

AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch enables customers who have limb differences to more easily answer incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer, and access Notification Centre, Control Centre, and more.


Explore Images with VoiceOver

Apple is introducing new features for VoiceOver, an industry‑leading screen reader for blind and low vision communities. Building on recent updates that brought Image Descriptions to VoiceOver, users can now explore even more details about the people, text, table data, and other objects within images.

Users can navigate a photo of a receipt like a table: by row and column, complete with table headers. VoiceOver can also describe a person’s position along with other objects within images — so people can relive memories in detail, and with Markup, users can add their own image descriptions to personalise family photos.



How To ~ 

MS How to Password-Protect Your Google Search History and More

Gizmodo helps us with ~ Google’s added a new way to keep other people’s prying eyes out of your search history, YouTube faves, and more. As first spotted by Android Police, the company has started prompting users to password-protect their Web and Activity page, which shows off a person’s history across a slew of Google services.

This added password protection is just one of the privacy buffs that Google’s been rolling out after this month’s Google I/O event. This includes a new optional locked folder you can add to your Google Photos account and a new quick-delete toggle that lets you automatically scrub the last 15 minutes of your Google search history.

What does my Google Activity page show, anyway?

If you’ve never checked your Activity page, you might be shocked at just how many Google services you probably end up using on the regular. The page doesn’t only store your history across Chrome and YouTube, it also stores your location history across Google Maps, your recent voice commands made to your Google-powered smart speaker, and any calls or messages you might have made using Google Voice or Google Fi.

Why would I want to password-protect my Google searches?

If you happen to leave yourself logged into your Google account on a shared computer, then that means just about anyone can hop on and see how you use these services—unless you turn on this extra verification step.

      1. 1.Thankfully, it’s a snap to activate these added protections. Here are the steps.
      1. 2.Simply go to the Web and App Activity tab under
      2. 3.Tap the “Manage My Activity verification” button. 
      3. 4.Choose “require extra verification,” and Google will start prompting you to re-enter your account password before letting you browse through your account history. 
      4. 5.If you’re extra nervous about your history leaking out, you might also want to consider manually deleting your activity history, or setting up pre-scheduled deletions to automatically wipe your digital footprint for you.



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