Microsoft is working to make your and your family’s online experience safer. Today the company is launching its new Defender security dashboard for 365 subscribers. Users on iPhone, Mac, Windows, and Android devices have access to the Microsoft Defender security app that utilizes existing antivirus software or other protections.
Microsoft Defender is simplified online security that meets you and your family where you are by bringing multiple protections together into a single dashboard. It provides online protection across the devices you and your family use. It offers tips and recommendations to strengthen your protection further. And, as you grow your digital footprint by adding family members and devices, Defender grows with you and keeps your defenses up-to-date using trusted technology.
According to The Verge, Microsoft Defender’s features will vary by which platform. For instance, on iPhone and iPad, Microsoft Defender users won’t have antivirus protection. However, they’ll have some phishing protections alongside their dashboard that features alerts for their other devices.
Additionally, the new app includes security alerts for your devices to ensure maximum protection. While not on iPhone, you can also view Microsoft Defender’s cybersecurity tips on your Mac or Windows computer.
This is just the start. As we look forward, we will continue to bring more protections together under a single dashboard, including features like identity theft protection and secure online connection. Microsoft Defender is simplified online security that grows with you and your family to help keep you safe.
One day after seeding iOS 15.6 beta 1 to developers, Apple is now releasing the public beta version to users enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program. Alongside the first public beta of iOS 15.6, Apple is also making available the new versions of tvOS 15.6, macOS 12.5, and watchOS 8.7.
Today’s iOS 15.6 beta 1 build is 19G5027e. Different from past versions, Apple hasn’t made available any important features so far. This will likely be the latest iOS 15 major update before the release of iOS 16 later in the fall.
Here’s what Apple announced with iOS 15.5 early this week:
Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
Fixes an issue where home automation, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail.
Alongside iOS 15.6 beta 1, Apple is also seeding macOS 12.5 beta 1 (build 21G5027d), tvOS 15.6 beta 1(build 19M5027c), and watchOS 8.7 beta 1 (build 19U5027c) to public testers.
In a few weeks from now, Apple will hold its WWDC 2022 event, where the company will announce the next milestone for iOS, macOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Rumors so far believe iOS 16 will bring nice improvements.
According to recent rumors, iOS 16 is expected to bring significant improvements to notifications as well as a new interface for iPadOS multitasking. Reported earlier this year that Apple has been working on adding expanded settings for Focus Mode in iOS 16.
Headlined by new Face ID improvements while wearing masks and Universal Control on iPadOS, iOS 15.4 beta 1 is a noteworthy update that will surely catch the interest of even casual iPhone users. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we explore some of the best iOS 15.4 beta 1 changes and features.
What’s new in iOS 15.4 beta 1?
Face ID while wearing a mask
One of the most frustrating aspects of using an iPhone during the COVID-19 era involves authenticating with Face ID. Apple tried to address this issue by implementing support for Apple Watch unlock, but not everyone owns an Apple Watch, and the implementation wasn’t as fast or as capable as regular Face ID. Hands-down, the most practical change to appear in iOS 15.4 beta 1 is the ability to unlock your iPhone using Face ID while wearing a mask, no Apple Watch required.
iOS 15.4 beta 1 addresses the mask issue by ushering in periocular support for Face ID. Instead of relying on the whole face for authentication, which hindered Face ID’s capabilities while wearing a mask, new periocular support authenticates using the area surrounding your eyes.
After the initial face scan, a new Use Face ID With a Mask splash screen appears. There, you’ll find two primary options: Use Face ID With a Mask and Don’t Use Face ID With a Mask. If you opt to skip using Face ID with a mask, the initial scan is all that’s needed, and you’ll receive a message that Face ID is now set up.
If you select the option to use Face ID with a mask, you’ll be asked to scan your face for a second time. If you’re wearing a mask during this step, iOS will ask to remove the mask when you’re in a safe area to continue setting up Face ID.
Once the second scan is completed, the Face ID setup process is finished… unless you happen to be wearing glasses. If you’re wearing glasses, iOS will ask you to remove your glasses and perform a third scan before the process completes. You can also add additional scans for different pairs of glasses in the Face ID & Passcode preferences.
Unlike the Apple Watch unlock feature in previous versions of iOS, which didn’t work with Apple Pay or third-party apps, mask compatibility in iOS 15.4 provides users with the full Face ID experience. In iOS 15.4 you can make purchases with Apple Pay, or unlock apps like 1Password while wearing a mask.
New auth screen when invoking Apple Pay before unlocking
Double-pressing the Side button on a locked iPhone would previously reveal items stored in your Apple Wallet in preparation for an Apple Pay transaction. Although you’d still need to authenticate with Face ID or a passcode before completing a transaction, wallet items could still be seen without unlocking.
Apple has fixed this potential privacy issue in iOS 15.4. If you invoke Apple Pay before unlocking your iPhone, you will now be presented with a blank page instructing you to use Face ID or a passcode to open the wallet.
Add notes to keychain passwords
After adding the ability to support two-factor authentication in iOS 15, Apple continues to build on keychain features. When you go to Settings → Passwords in iOS 15.4 beta 1, you’ll find a new feature to add notes to keychain passwords. Not only can you add notes, but the notes strings are searchable using the search box.
Last September we got a preview of the new emoji scheduled to hit our phones, and iOS 15.4 is the version of iOS that implements these new emoji 14.0 changes. In all, iOS 15.4 adds over 37 new emoji characters, such as the new peaking face, heart hands, tears of joy, and many more.
Apple Wallet widget
There’s a new Apple Wallet widget that allows users to add their Apple Card balance, spending power, and spending activity on the Home Screen. The widget has one customizable setting that lets you select between a weekly, monthly, or yearly spending activity graph. As of now, the Apple Wallet widget is for Apple Card users only.
Run Shortcuts Automations without notifications
Finally! Apple is letting us run Shortcuts Personal Automations in the background without requiring a pesky banner notification. A new toggle lets you switch off notifications for Personal Automations in iOS 15.4 beta 1.
To disable notifications for automations, opt out of Ask Before Running when creating your automation, and you’ll see a new Notify When Run Option appear. Disable Notify When Run, and your automation will run without the annoying banner notification. Now I can make it so that my wallpaper changes at random whenever connecting to power without ever receiving a notification!
Select camera in Magnifier app
Eligible iPhone models now gain access to two additional camera modes in the Magnifier app. Users can now toggle between auto, telephoto, macro, and selfie cameras in iOS 15.4.
Reset Safari experimental features
Messing around with the experimental Safari settings buried deep within Safari’s preferences can quickly get out of hand if you don’t know what you’re doing. In iOS 15.4, it’s now possible to reset the experimental settings back to default with the tap of a button. Go to Settings → Safari → Advanced → Experimental Features, and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the handy new Reset All to Defaults button.
Configure App Store notifications
A new Notifications panel can be found in the App Store after tapping your avatar in the upper right-hand corner. Inside of the Notifications Panel, you’ll find a New Features & Updates and Recommendations & Offers switch.
iCloud Mail preferences consolidation
In previous versions of iOS, iCloud preferences featured a Mail toggle switch for enabling or disabling iCloud email. In iOS 15.4, Apple has merged the toggle with iCloud Mail settings, an area previously buried at the bottom of iCloud preferences.
New Custom Email Domain UI in iCloud settings
Apple has begun baking in its iCloud+ custom email domain UI into iCloud Mail settings in iOS. Previously, all such settings were found exclusively on iCloud.com, although Apple still pushes people to iCloud.com to fully configure custom email domains.
Although it doesn’t appear fully operational, Apple has started to lay the groundwork for a provision that will let users disable iCloud.com access for mail, calendar, photos, contacts, notes, reminders, files, and documents. When you visit Settings → iCloud → Password & Security, you’ll see a new Access iCloud Data on Web toggle at the bottom of the page. When you disable the toggle, a panel appears with a Don’t Access button to confirm your decision, but the button doesn’t currently do anything.
Notes and Reminders get Live Text integration
A new Scan Text option appears directly in the Notes and Reminders app, allowing you to quickly add text directly from an image to a note or reminder.
New AirPods Pro accessibility glyph
Instead of a generic headphone glyph, the Accessibility preferences for the AirPods now come with a proper AirPods Pro glyph. It’s all in the details…
Updated AirPods status
When opening AirPods or AirPods Pro near your iPhone, the status window now shows a redesigned (L)/(R) indicator when both buds and case are being shown
TV app Up Next Display
Users can now choose between a still frame or poster art for the Up Next watchlist in the TV app.
Tighter SharePlay integration
SharePlay from ShareSheet
SharePlay albums and songs directly from Music app
Developers can use the new API in iOS 15.4 to initiate FaceTime calls directly from their apps
Not to be left out, iPadOS gets several updates, including the most-anticipated public beta arrival of Universal Control.
Notes preferences Corner Gestures
The Notes app preferences gain the same Corner Gestures panel normally found in Settings → General → Gestures. It is here where you can toggle iPadOS corner gestures, which allow you to invoke a screenshot or a Quick Note by swiping diagonally from the bottom-left or right corner of the screen.
Keyboard brightness control toggle
Magic Keyboard users will appreciate having a new Keyboard Brightness shortcut available in Control Center. Once added, you can use the brightness slider to adjust the brightness of the Magic Keyboard. Keep in mind that brightness controls will not be available unless your iPad is in a dark environment, causing the automatic backlight to engage.
Last, but certainly not least, there is Universal Control, which can be enabled via Settings → General → AirPlay & Handoff. In the iPadOS 15.4 beta, Apple refers to Universal Control as Cursor and Keyboard (Beta). Note: You will need to be running the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta as well.
As its name states, Universal Control is all about control. It lets you control your iPad with the same mouse and keyboard that you use for your Mac. Indeed, using the same mouse and keyboard that I use to navigate Final Cut Pro on my MacBook Pro, I can scroll through my Tweetbot timeline or Apollo on my iPad Pro.
Universal Control is all about controlling two or more separate devices with the same input hardware. Thus, it doesn’t cause your iPad to function as an external display, where you can move a Mac app to your iPad, and vice versa, although the iPad is capable of doing that as well with Sidecar. But Universal Control does allow you to drag and drop files between macOS and iPad OS, which can prove to be handy in some circumstances.
iOS 15.3 arrived with crucial security updates, but relatively little in the way of user-facing features. iOS 15.4 is the substantial mid-cycle software update for iPhone that we’ve been waiting for, and it doesn’t disappoint. Practical features, like Face ID support while wearing masks, will appeal to the masses, but smaller updates, like the ability to silence notifications for shortcuts automation, will surely please a sizable swath of iPhone power users.
But if there’s one feature that worth’s upgrading for, it’s Universal Control. Similar to Apple SVP Craig Federighi’s demo back at WWDC, Universal Control is dead-simple to use, and that’s one of the things that makes it brilliant.
With the latest version of macOS, dubbed Monterey, one of the apps that saw a handful of upgrades was Reminders. A once rather basic task and to-do application, Reminders is now a powerhouse application with new features include Smart List, tags, and more. Head below for a deeper look at these new features.
The new features in Reminders
First off, the Reminders app in macOS Monterey is the first version to support tags. As the name implies, tags allow you to organize and categorize your reminders and tasks. This means you can tag tasks with bits of information to help you keep track of categories, groups, and more.
Tags are a fast and flexible way to organize your reminders. Add one or more tags, like #errands, to your reminders to make them easy to search and filter for across your Reminders lists.
In macOS Monterey, you can add tags to your tasks when you create them. Simply look for the “Add Tags” field when creating a new reminder.
But while tags themselves are a notable addition to the Reminders application, they are really powerful when combined with Smart Lists.
Without a doubt, the biggest new addition to the Reminders app in macOS Monterey is a new feature that Apple is calling Smart Lists. Essentially, Smart Lists are a way to create custom lists that include reminders that meet certain criteria.
Here’s how Apple explains the feature:
Create your own Smart Lists to automatically include reminders that matter most to you by selecting for tags, dates, times, locations, flags, and priority. Choose more than one tag (such as #gardening and #errands) and combine them with other setting filters for more specific lists.
So how does this work in practice? It’s actually not as complex as it might sound. In the Reminders app on your Mac, you can start by clicking the “Add List” button, just like you would for creating any sort of to-do list. While you’re creating your list, look for the “Make into Smart List” checkbox.
Once you select this checkbox, you can select criteria for your Smart List. The criteria can be different tags, the due date for the task, the time, the priority, the location, and whether or not the task is flagged. Once you’ve done this, the Reminders will automatically create a Smart List of the tasks that meet your defined criteria.
Once you’ve created a custom Smart List in the Reminders app, it will sync to your other Apple devices and be added to the app’s sidebar. In the sidebar, it will be denoted with a small gear icon in the bottom-right corner, indicating that it is a Smart List.
And while Smart Lists and tags are the top new features of the Reminders app in macOS Monterey, there’s more to try out:
A Tag Browser in the sidebar lets you click any tag or combination of tags to quickly view tagged reminders.
Access quick options to easily delete your completed reminders.
Choose tags, flags, priority, and people you message with from the Quick Toolbar when creating a reminder.
Type more advanced phrases to create reminder settings. Try something like “Jog every other morning” for a specific, recurring reminder.
Apple has officially unveiled the next-generation Apple Silicon chip. Dubbed the M1 Pro and M1 Max, the Apple says that these chips were created for the next-generation MacBook Pro by scaling up M1’s architecture to create a “far more powerful chip.”
Here are the specs of the M1 Pro, as announced by Apple’s Johnny Srouji during today’s event:
200GB/s memory bandwidth
Up to 32GB of unified memory
2x more transistors than M1
70% faster than M1
Up to 10-core CPU
Up to 16-core GPU
Support for up to 2 external displays
And for the M1 Max:
400GB/s memory bandwidth
57 billion transistors
Up to 64GB of unified memory
Up to 70% less power consumption
Support for up to four external displays
Apple says that these new chips will power the future of the “Pro” lineup among the Mac…still waiting for details on that, though.
Is there an old out-of-date Mac that you desperately miss using? Well, you’re in luck because it’s incredibly easy to install a modern version of Chrome OS on old Intel Macs for free. CloudReady isn’t a new product by any stretch, but I had always been itching to try it out. Just last year, Google acquired Neverware, the company behind CloudReady. This means that Google offers an officially sanctioned way of reviving old computers with Chrome OS. Here’s how to get CloudReady up and running on an old Mac.
I was able to get CloudReady running on a 2014 Mac mini and a 2012 13″ MacBook Pro. Both of these machines have run-of-the-mill specs for their time. Each of these Macs had 4GB of RAM and much older Intel processors. Neither run recent versions of macOS particularly well, and they certainly aren’t good for power-hungry tasks. The MacBook Pro model that I used for this experiment only runs macOS up to Catalina, so it’s already out-of-date. The Mac mini that I used can run Big Sur, but it’s severely underpowered, being seven years old and not physically upgradeable.
You can install CloudReady on virtually any Intel Mac from 2007 on. CloudReady will not work on PowerPC Macs, so sadly, you can’t revive your sunflower iMac G4 or your blueberry iBook. Compatibility with CloudReady technically begins with Macs from 2006, but it’s not recommended. CloudReady has officially only certified 11 Mac models, but it’s likely you’ll be able to get the OS up and running on non-certified Intel machines as well. CloudReady requires at least 2GB of RAM, at least 16GB of storage, and graphics components made during or after 2007. There are a few specific Intel graphics cards that don’t play nicely with CloudReady, including the GMA 500, 600, 3600 and 3650.
MacBook Air 6,1 (13″ Core i5 or Core i7 Mid 2013-Early 2014)
MacBook Pro 5,5 (13″ Core 2 Duo Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro 9,2 (13″ Core i5 or Core i7 Mid 2012)
Macs that should work with CloudReady but aren’t officially certified include:
Any aluminum iMac from mid 2007 with more than 2GB of RAM
Any white or silver Mac mini from mid 2007 with more than 2GB of RAM
Any white or black MacBook from mid 2007 with more than 2GB of RAM
Any non-unibody or unibody MacBook Pro from mid 2007 with more than 2GB of RAM
Any MacBook Air model (all models have at least 2GB of RAM)
Any tower or trash can Mac Pro from mid 2007 with more than 2GB of RAM
What you’ll need
You may need to upgrade the RAM on a particularly old model before installing CloudReady. Luckily that’s quite easy on old Mac models. I upgraded my 2012 MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and a new 240GB SSD for around $70. But getting at least 2GB of RAM is quite cheap these days.
Once you’ve got the Mac you want to install CloudReady on, good to go, you’ll need a flash drive with at least 8GB of storage on it. Make sure not to use a Sandisk flash drive; Neverware says that they don’t work properly with the installer.
The application is only around 48MB and will help you turn your flash drive into a CloudReady installer. You can create the physical installer with any computer; it doesn’t have to be the one you plan to put CloudReady on. I built my CloudReady flash drive with a Windows 11 PC, for example.
2. Connect your flash drive to your selected Mac, then press and hold option as you turn it on
Your Mac will ask you which drive you want to boot from. Choose the CloudReady flash drive that you created. It’s likely going to be represented by an orange drive. The name can vary.
3. Boot into CloudReady
Once you select CloudReady, it will boot into the Chrome OS set up system.
4. Install Chrome OS on your Mac
Click on the clock in the lower right corner and select “Install OS” from the menu that pops up. This will launch the installer and allow you to replace your existing system with CloudReady. Keep in mind that if you choose to install CloudReady on your Mac, it will erase macOS and anything else on the drive. If you don’t want to do that, you can run CloudReady off of the flash drive. Just continue through the setup process without installing the operating system.
Once CloudReady is installed on your Mac, you are good to go. You can connect to wifi or ethernet, sign in to your Google account, and you are up and running. Chrome OS runs incredibly well on old Macs and frankly breathes new life into them.
Limitations of Neverware’s version of Chrome OS
Neverware’s variant of Chrome OS has a few limitations that you should keep in mind. It is based on Chromium rather than Chrome. That’s why you’ll see blue icons rather than Googley multi-colored ones. You cannot install Android apps on CloudReady like you can on an official Chrome OS computer. It can only run Chrome apps, progressive web apps, and websites. CloudReady does come with a few other native apps like a simple files app and wallpaper picker, but that’s about it. Another thing to keep in mind is how often you’ll get updates. CloudReady doesn’t get updated in tandem with the shipping version of Chrome OS. However, it does get regular updates and runs a secure version of Chrome OS that supports the modern web.
Once you have CloudReady installed, you can use it as you would a Chromebook. You can set a custom wallpaper or choose one from Google’s excellent collection of pre-installed ones. The shelf at the bottom of the screen can be customized with only the apps and sites you use frequently. You can also click on the circle button in the far left corner to see everything installed on your device or search its contents.
You can head over to the Chrome web store to find Chrome apps for your device, although many apps aren’t up-to-date and likely won’t be supported much longer. To get services you want to use installed on your computer, head over to their websites. Let’s say you want to install Slack as an app. Just go to the Slack website, sign in to your workspace, click the three dots in the top right corner of the window, select tools, and then select install or add shortcut. You’ll then get an icon in the launcher that you can add to your shelf. If you right-click the icon, you can change the website to open in a dedicated window rather than a new tab.
There are lots of beloved old Mac models that we’d love to bring back from the dead. CloudReady makes it possible to use old Macs today with modern websites and web apps. It also performs great even on low-powered machines with mediocre specs.
You can ensure your data remains safe through erasure.
One of the most powerful features added years ago to macOS and iOS was Find My iPhone—and iPad and Mac. The iCloud-connected service lets you track an accidentally misplaced item and potentially recover a stolen one. With the service active on a device, you can use Find My for macOS, iOS, or iPadOS or via iCloud.com to erase your computer, phone, or tablet or to queue an erasure signal for the next time the device is on the Internet. iPhones and iPads with a Secure Enclave and Macs with FileVault enabled simply delete the encryption keys for storage. This renders the data irretrievable. (It doesn’t affect your local or iCloud backups, so don’t worry.) On a Mac with a T2 Security Chip or M1 Apple silicon, disk encryption is always enabled even if FileVault isn’t, allowing Secure Enclave to destroy the disk encryption keys instantly even with FileVault disabled. Pre-Secure Enclave iPhones and iPads and Macs that predate the T2 Security chip and have FileVault disabled take longer to delete files, as each byte of data has to be overwritten. If you’re not sure whether your iPhone, iPad, or Intel Mac has a Secure Enclave, consult the list Apple provides here. You can determine if FileVault is enabled by going to the Security & Privacy preference pane’s FileVault tab.
How to erase a device
Apple warns you about the consequences when you’re about to erase your Mac remotely.
Apple’s tweaked the process slightly for its native apps but left iCloud.com virtually untouched for years. In macOS, iOS, or iPadOS, launch the Find My app. Tap the Devices tab and then tap your hardware. (If you have Family Sharing enabled, you can also see the devices of family members.) On an iPhone or iPad, tap Erase This Device and follow the prompts. On a Mac, right-click the device and select Erase This Device.
With iCloud.com, log in to your account and click the Find iPhone link—no “My” in there. Enter your iCloud password again if prompted. Click the All Devices menu and select your hardware:
For a Mac, click Erase Mac and follow prompts; you’ll note the text says it “may take up to a day to complete,” the worst-case example for a hard-drive-equipped Mac without FileVault enabled and neither a T2 nor M1 chip.
For an iPhone or iPad, just click Erase iPhone or Erase iPad.
If the device is connected to the internet via whatever method it has at its disposal—Wi-Fi, cellular, tethering, a…dial-up modem—erasure begins immediately after the Mac receives the signal relayed via Apple’s servers. In the cases noted above, the drive or flash storage almost instantly becomes irretrievable.
The erase command is queued by Apple, so if the device ever is briefly back on the internet, it erases itself. Once your device starts wiping its data, finding its location via Find My is no longer possible.
For devices that ne’er-do-wells have taken offline or put in a metal box, they may never return online to receive an erase command. But for iPhones, iPads, and Macs with a Secure Enclave, the stored data can’t be interacted with unless someone also obtained the password. (For a running Mac, there might be cracks that work, but it’s unlikely; if powered down and FileVault is enabled, effectively impossible.)
Find My lets you see all your devices and select among them for several purposes—including erasure.
It can be wiped, which securely removes your data—and then Activation Lock kicks, a part of Find My. (Macs have a few additional requirements.) Activation Lock prevents an erased device from being set up again without knowing the iCloud password associated with the account that turned on Find My on it.
Criminal groups have apparently figured out ways to bypass Activation Lock in at least some cases, but those methods still require erasing the device, so your data remains inaccessible.
A future of remote erasure?
I can imagine a future in which the Find My Network could be used to trigger erasure, too. Right now, the system is used entirely as a passive relay: an AirTag tracker and most Apple devices can broadcast their position over Bluetooth in a carefully encrypted manner. Nearby Macs, iPhones, and iPads with Find My Network enabled relay this data via Apple so you can get updates about location without the party relaying it knowing who you are or which device is transmitting.
But AirTags point the way to a potential two-way process. If Apple determines an AirTag has been traveling with you and you’re not the owner of it, you’re presented with a dialog on an iPhone or iPad that lets you play a sound. That command is passed via Bluetooth.
An iPhone that spots an unknown AirTag traveling with it over time can send a signal to prompt an action on the AirTag.
that preserves privacy and yet could be turned to device erasure, too. In Apple and Google’s joint notification system, your smartphone recorded all specially formatted Bluetooth signals around you and retained for those a period of time; this is quite similar to the signals emitted for the Find My Network by Apple devices.
If someone who had been near you receives a COVID diagnosis and enters a code into their smartphone provided by their healthcare provider, the encrypted Bluetooth IDs associated would then be uploaded to a database that all devices in your region or country regularly downloaded and compared to stored IDs.
Now, consider this: what if you could report your device as stolen and that you wanted it erased. That signal would then be distributed in encrypted form across all Apple hardware in your area or an expanded region. If any of those devices picked up an encrypted Bluetooth signal that matched, they could transmit a similarly encrypted erasure instruction. Thieves try to disable all the wireless on a device, but Bluetooth is often harder to block than Wi-Fi or cellular.
The safeguards around this would have to be strong, but it’s not far-fetched—just far-reaching!
Following the announcement of the new M1 iPad Pro and M1 iMac on Tuesday, Apple executives John Ternus and Greg Joswiak have sat down with the Independent for an in-depth interview. The two Apple executives spoke in the interview about Apple’s plans for the iPad and Mac, the new features of the 2021 iPad Pro, and more.
On merging the iPad and Mac
The most notable comments during the interview came from Joswiak, who serves as Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. When asked about the future of the iPad and Mac, as the lines start to blur in terms of power, Joswiak explained that Apple has no plans to merge the two platforms.
“There’s two conflicting stories people like to tell about the iPad and Mac,” says Joz, as he starts on a clarification that will lead him at one point to apologise for his passion. “On the one hand, people say that they are in conflict with each other. That somebody has to decide whether they want a Mac, or they want an iPad.
“Or people say that we’re merging them into one: that there’s really this grand conspiracy we have, to eliminate the two categories and make them one.
“And the reality is neither is true. We’re quite proud of the fact that we work really, really hard to create the best products in their respective category.”
(Joz, however, is reluctant to name the category he’s talking about: he jokes that he “can’t even stand using” the word, because the “iPad is better than tablets”. “I hate to diminish it by calling it the category name,” he says.)
Ternus, who is Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, echoed Joswiak’s sentiment. He explained that Apple does not look at things with the lens limiting what one device can do in order to note “step on the toes” of another device.
“But we’re just going to keep making them better. And we’re not going to get all caught up in, you know, theories around merging or anything like that.”
“We don’t think about well, we’re going to limit what this device can do because we don’t want to step on the toes of this [other] one or anything like that,” he says. “We’re pushing to make the best Mac we can make; we’re pushing to make the best iPad we can make. And people choose.
“A lot of people have run both. And they have workflows that span both – some people, for a particular task, prefer one versus the other.
On the new iPad Pro’s M1 chip
When asked about the M1 processor in the new iPad Pro and the software part of that story, Joswiak explained that Apple has “provided that performance even before the need was there.”
“It needs to exist first, right? You can’t have an app that requires more performance than the system’s capable of – then it doesn’t work. So you need to have the system be ahead of the apps.
Joswiak went on to list examples of powerful third-party apps from companies like Adobe and Affinity, but he wouldn’t say whether Apple was working on its own ways to tap into the new power of the M1:
(When asked again, the morning after the reveal, whether Apple is one of those developers that is planning to take advantage of the extra headroom with its professional app, Joz jokes that he’s not going to let something like that slip out.)
Joswiak also explained that this gives users more headroom and ensures their new iPad Pro purchase “isn’t going to be immediately obsolete.”
On mini-LED in the new iPad Pro
Terns also provided some interesting detail on the mini-LED display in the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. He explained that one of the biggest undertakings in this process was shrinking the display technology — which is also used in the Pro Display XDR — into the 12.9-inch form factor.
“Shrinking it was a huge undertaking,” says Ternus. “If you just look at the two products, obviously the iPad is a lot thinner than a Pro Display XDR, and the way the architecture works – you have the LED backlight behind the display.
As you shrink it down, you necessarily need to add more LEDs; you need to kind of increase the density, because you don’t have as much room for mixing the light and creating zones.
From the very beginning it was: how do we create a backlight with sufficient density? So we had to design a new LED. We had to to design the process for putting down 10,000 LEDs on this backlight in this incredibly precise manner.”
Ternus and Joswiak also noted that one of the reasons Apple is able to make technological leaps like this is because it develops so much of the technology in-house.
On the new Center Stage front-facing camera technology in the iPad
One of the most interesting new features of the 2021 iPad Pro is something called Center Stage. The new iPad Pros pack a 12MP Ultra Wide camera sensor on the front, and Apple is using this to follow users during video chats to ensure that they are always in the frame.
“One of the things that I found really cool about it is – spending all this time in these meetings, you sit a lot,” says Ternus. “And it’s so liberating to be able to just stand up and stay framed in the image, and stretch and move around and sit down,” he says, noting that it is a neat way to still be able to close rings on the Apple Watch.
“And one of the things I found sometimes is in group scenarios – you may be FaceTiming with your family and be able to get the family in the frame, or those kind of things, I think are going to be really, really big and powerful. It’s certainly an amazing technology for the times we’re in.”
Apple has published its 2021 update to its Platform Security guide today along with refreshing the Apple Platform Security landing page. The latest guide goes in-depth on the new and updated security features that have arrived with iOS 14, macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple Silicon Macs, watchOS 7, and more. Apple has also launched an all-new Security Certifications and Compliance Center website and guide.
Apple has long held that secure software necessitates the foundation of security built into hardware. With the shift to using its own custom Apple Silicon in its first three M1 Macs starting last fall, the company has been able to realize that goal across its entire lineup of devices.
2021 Apple Platform Security guide
Device security is a never-ending mission and the latest Apple Platform Security guide details all the effort and changes Apple has implemented over the last year – highlighted by the guide growing 39 pages with this edition to a total of 196.
This documentation provides details about how security technology and features are implemented within Apple platforms. It also helps organizations combine Apple platform security technology and features with their own policies and procedures to meet their specific security needs.
While there a number of security updates that apply to existing/older devices, Apple Silicon has been notable with the M1 Macs allowing Apple to step up security to new levels when it comes to Data Protection via a rebuilt FileVault, System integrity, password protection, and more.
Another notable change in the last year has been the advanced BlastDoor security for iMessage (not specifically mentioned in the new security guide). While it was just recently discovered as present in iOS 14, we’ve learned Apple has built it into macOS Big Sur as well. It’s a totally under the hood change that users won’t notice, but it’s the biggest security improvement to iMessage since the service got end-to-end encryption.
Check out all the new topics added to the Apple Platform Security guide this year:
Memory safe iBoot implementation
Boot process for a Mac with Apple silicon
Boot modes for a Mac with Apple silicon
Startup Disk security policy control for a Mac with Apple silicon
LocalPolicy signing-key creation and management
Contents of a LocalPolicy file for a Mac with Apple silicon
Signed system volume security in macOS
Apple Security Research Device
Car keys security in iOS
And here are all the security topics that have been updated:
Hardware microphone disconnect
recoveryOS and diagnostics environments for an Intel-based Mac
Direct memory access protections for Mac computers
Apple released iOS 14.5 beta 1 to developers, and as you’ve no doubt heard, it’s quite the update. Headlined by the ability to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a face mask, iOS 14.5 beta 1 brings forth a number of practical improvements and overall enhancements to iPhone. Watch our hands-on commentary as we discuss the top iOS 14.5 beta 1 changes and features.
What’s new in iOS 14.5 beta 1?
Updated Software Update screens
Both the Software Update page in the Settings app and the Watch app have received more informative details regarding updates. Apple now includes a green check mark to indicate that you’re on the latest version of software, along with a message stating that “Your iPhone is up to date with all of the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.” In addition, iOS 14.5 now displays a time stamp that shows the last time you successfully checked for an update.
Unlock with Apple Watch
As noted, the biggest feature to come to iOS 14.5 is support for Apple Watch Unlock when Face ID detects a face with a mask. Users must be wearing an unlocked Apple Watch protected by a passcode in order for the feature to work. When attempting to unlock your iPhone using Face ID while wearing a face mask, you’ll feel a vibration on your Apple Watch, along with a notification that your iPhone was unlocked successfully.
Horizontal boot screen iPad
When connected to the Magic Keyboard, iPadOS 14.5 will display the startup Apple logo in horizontal/landscape mode instead of the default portrait orientation. If you restart your iPad when disconnected from the Magic Keyboard, even if you’re holding the device in landscape mode, the startup screen will appear in portrait mode.
As a side note, iPadOS 14.5 now supports emoji search, which iPhone users have been enjoying since iOS 14’s release, but has been inexplicably missing on iPad up until now.
Cellular connectivity updates
One of the biggest changes found in iOS 14.5 is the ability to enable dual SIM functionality while maintaining 5G connectivity. In previous versions of iOS, enabling the iPhone 12’s dual SIM feature would cause cellular connectivity to fall back to standard LTE. With iOS 14.5, users have the option of keeping both connections active simultaneously while still enjoying the benefits of 5G.
In addition to 5G dual SIM support, iOS 14.5 surfaces a new 5G Standalone cellular switch in system settings. Initial 5G implementations piggybacked on existing LTE networks to speed up adoption of 5G, but this method imposes propagation limits based on the LTE limitations. With Standalone (or SA) 5G, the limits of LTE are no longer in play. Keep in mind that your carrier will need to support 5G SA, and Apple warns that enabling SA at this early stage may cause degraded performance.
Apple Music updates
Apple Music gets some noteworthy updates in iOS 14.5, headlined by a new “Made For You” section under the Library tab. Made For You houses all of the algorithmic-curated music suggestions that are normally found within playlists like Favorites Mix, Chill Mix, and New Music Mix within the Listen Now tab.
Another handy feature found in iOS 14.5 is the inclusion of release dates for all music content featured on Apple Music. Prior versions of iOS would showcase release info, but in this latest beta version of iOS, users are treated with the exact release month, day, and year.
Users will also be happy to know that the scrolling metadata view on the Now Playing Lock Screen interface has now returned. This is a big improvement over the truncated metadata view that’s been around in the last few versions.
Reminders app enhancements
It’s crazy that we’ve not been able to sort Reminders based on parameters like modification date or title up until now, but at least we finally receive such features in iOS 14.5. Users can still sort reminder lists manually, but now there are several metadata sorting options, along with ascending and descending preferences.
The ability to directly print a reminders list joins the updated sorting options, allowing users to quickly send a list to a configured AirPrint printer.
Updated Podcast app
The stock Podcasts app gets lots of subtle changes and enhancements alongside a bigger update to the look and feel of the official show page for each podcast. New enhancements include a full-bleed header with color-matched backgrounds and a refreshed Library page with new glyphs.
Apple Fitness+ Workouts AirPlay 2 support
AirPlay 2 compatibility comes to Apple Fitness+ workouts, allowing users to stream workouts directly to an AirPlay 2-compatible set-top box or television. The problem with this method, as opposed to just playing on an Apple TV or iPad, is that you lose on-screen metric support. But that might not be a huge deal since metric details remain readily available on your Apple Watch.
Maps app redesigned guides
Apple has redesigned the Guides feature on the Maps app, which now includes a full-bleed header, redesigned buttons, and beautiful animations when minimizing and maximizing each guide.
PS5 / Xbox Series X controller support
Support for next-generation console controllers, including the Playstation 5 Dual Sense controller and the Xbox Series X controller, is now available in 14.5. Next-gen controller support is a welcome new addition for controller-compatible Apple Arcade games, and for taking advantage of console-centric remote play features.
Dedicated Search tab in News app
Similar to the Search tab in the Music app and TV app, the News app gains a dedicated search interface for quickly finding channels, topics, or stories.
Siri interface updates
Those using the Type to Siri accessibility option will notice an updated interface that no longer opens to a dedicated Siri screen, allowing the user to maintain context of their current position in iOS. This update is similar to the changes first implemented in iOS 14 when invoking Siri using voice. You’ll also find an updated interface that appears when sending iMessages via Siri.
Apple Card updates
Although these updates are not-yet user facing, we’ve also highlighted a couple of forthcoming changes related to Apple Card:
Apple Card Family feature for multi-user accounts
New financial health features coming to the Wallet app