Google is ever on the quest to improve the general perception of security and privacy on its mobile operating system. The latest effort is called “Protected by Android” and that branding looks set for a broader rollout.
The Android YouTube channel today uploaded a 50-second video about how the OS “is all about keeping you and your information safe so you can focus on what matters most.” Still images of people using smartphones – presumably Android-powered ones, but we’re pretty sure there’s one of an iPhone 8 Plus at 0:05 – with short captions are used throughout:
From detecting and defeating bad apps to helping you control your personal information, you’re always protected by Android.
A slick animation sees the green Android head morphs into a checkmarked shield: “Whatever you’re up to, you’ve got peace of mind when you’re protected by Android.” Highlighted platform and ecosystem features include:
Verified by Play Protect: “You’re safe from malware and harmful apps”
Monthly security updates: “Defended by non-stop security”
Location access permissions: “And in control of your personal information”
Besides this ad, Google at I/O 2022 showed off Android 13’s upcoming unified “Security & privacy” settings page. Underneath the prominent “Scan device” button there’s the same “Protected by Android” branding and shield.
The page will be anchored by new action cards that notify you of critical steps you should take to address any safety risks. In addition to notifications to warn you about issues, we’ll also provide timely recommendations on how to enhance your privacy.
After over a month of beta testing, Apple has released iOS 15.5 RC to developers and public beta users. This suggests that the updates could be released to the public as soon as sometime next week. Head below for the full release notes…
iOS 15.5 new features
Apple says that iOS 15.5 makes enhancements to Apple Cash, with support for more easily requesting and sending money from the Apple Cash card in the Wallet app. There’s also a new feature in Apple Podcasts to help preserve your iPhone’s storage space and some bug fixes for HomeKit.
Here are the full release notes for iOS 15.5 according to Apple:
iOS 15.5 includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
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 automations, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail
As a reminder, the “Release Candidate” name usually indicates that this will be the final beta of iOS 15.5 before it’s released to everyone. This is why Apple also concurrently publishes the full release notes of the update.
Here are some other changes in iOS 15.5 we’ve spotted so far, not mentioned in Apple’s release notes:
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature [Video]
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases
iOS 15.5 hints at Bancomat and Bancontact on Apple Pay
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature
Apple released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 beta to developers, and it’s likely that the public beta release isn’t far behind. While not packed with new features and changes like iOS 15.4, this latest beta release comes with a modest amount of updates and enhancements.
What’s new in iOS 15.5 beta 1?
New Request and Send buttons for Apple Cash in Wallet app.
Physical Apple Card now called ‘Titanium Card’ in Wallet settings.
Apple Pay has been rebranded as ‘Apple Cash’ Messages app.
Rebrand of iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app.
New Wi-Fi signal bars for HomePod connectivity in Home app.
Home app now features a permissions notification for Critical Alerts.
Universal Control on iPadOS 15.5 requires all devices to be updated to latest betas.
Video: iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features
iOS 15.5 is largely focused on Wallet app-related enhancements and changes, so there are no huge standout user-facing features to be found here. However, having Wi-Fi signal strength indicators within the Home app for HomePods is a nice improvement. This change could make it easier to decide on how best to arrange a physical network and corresponding HomePod devices scattered around a home. It can also help with troubleshooting HomePods that aren’t properly connecting to the network.
Even if your HomePod is running 15.4, and not the latest 15.5 beta, you can still see the Wi-Fi signal strength within the Home app. Previously, the Wi-Fi network section of the HomePod preferences only showed the SSID. For HomePods in a stereo pair, you’ll have to venture into the Speakers panel to access the settings for each individual HomePod. If there are any connectivity issues, that will be reflected by an exclamation point on the Wi-Fi signal indicator, as shown below.
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases to satisfy regulators, code confirms
Apple was recently required to let developers redirect users to third-party payment platforms instead of using the App Store’s in-app purchases system.
The latest beta version of Apple’s operating system has full support for the new entitlement used by apps to indicate that they let users make external purchases. For instance, if the user deletes an app that offers external purchases, iOS will show an alert saying that it is not possible to manage purchases and subscriptions through the App Store.
While the App Store lets users manage all their purchases in a single place, Apple has no control over what users buy outside of its platform – so it’s important to have a reminder to users.
External purchases from [app’s name] may still exist. You cannot manage or cancel any external purchases through the App Store. For more information, contact the developer.
Apple is implementing another alert that will show up when the user opens an app that offers external purchases for the first time. However, it’s worth noting that this feature won’t be available for every app.
The App Store guidelines make it clear that “External Link Account Entitlement” is only available for “Reader apps,” which are apps that offer digital content such as magazines, books, songs, or video. Another requirement is that the app can’t offer in-app purchases using Apple’s platform. Still, each request must be approved by Apple.
In the Netherlands, dating apps can continue to use Apple’s in-app purchases system along with a third-party payment system or an external link due to a requirement from the Dutch regulator.
iOS 15.5 beta 2 hints at Apple Pay support for Bancomat and Bancontact networks
Apple released the second beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t bring any significant new features, it does hint at some changes Apple has been working on under the hood.
For those unfamiliar, Bancomat (an Italian company) and Bancontact (from Belgium) are interbank networks similar to Mastercard and Visa. Right now, cards issued by these networks are not compatible with Apple Pay, but it seems that this is about to change.
Internal codes from iOS 15.5 beta 2 reveal that Apple is working with both networks to make their cards compatible with Apple Pay, which is Apple’s digital payments platform. It’s unclear when exactly support for these cards will be announced to the public, but we assume it will happen sometime after the release of iOS 15.5.
Apple is also working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card.” This card will be shown in the Wallet app with the balance on the user’s Apple ID, and it can be used for purchases in the Apple Store, App Store, and app subscriptions.
With today’s beta, more code related to the Apple Account Card has been added to the system, which corroborates that this feature will also be introduced soon.
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
Apple has just released the first beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while we’re still looking for what’s new in today’s update, Apple has been working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app with iOS 15.5.
If you buy an Apple Gift Card or add money to your Apple ID, the balance can be used to buy products in the Apple Store as well as apps, songs, movies, and subscriptions.
Currently, users can check this balance by going to the App Store or by adding the iTunes Pass to the Wallet app. At the same time, this pass has a QR Code that can be used to purchase products in Apple Retail Stores. With iOS 15.5, Apple is finally revamping the iTunes Pass.
iTunes Pass will become a new card called “Apple Account.” This card will be displayed in the Wallet app just like the Apple Card and the Apple Cash card. This way, instead of having to show the QR Code when shopping at an Apple Store, the user will be able to complete the purchase using Apple Pay.
Your account balance can be used to buy products, accessories, apps, games and more online or in store with Apple Pay.
Interestingly, the Apple Account card will have a parallax effect in the Wallet app, just like the Apple Card and Apple Cash card. The feature is currently disabled even for beta users, but it will likely be officially announced with the public release of iOS 15.5.
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
Apple released the third beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t seem to have any significant changes, Apple has made an interesting tweak to its native Photos app. The system will now block “Sensitive Locations” for Memories in the Photos app.
For those unfamiliar, Memories is a feature of the Photos app on iOS and macOS that recognizes people, places, and events in your photo library to automatically create “curated collections” with a slideshow. Since this feature is entirely based on machine learning, Apple has now made some changes to the app to avoid creating some unwanted memories.
The Photos app now has a list of “Sensitive Locations,” so that any photos taken there will never be added to a memory. Interestingly, all the places banned in this version are related to the Holocaust.
Here’s the list of places that are blocked from the Memories feature in the Photos app with iOS 15.5 beta 3:
Yad Vashem Memorial
Dachau concentration camp
US Holocaust Museum
Majdanek concentration camp
Berlin Holocaust Memorial
Belzec extermination camp
Anne Frank House
Sobibor extermination camp
Treblinka extermination camp
Chelmno-Kulmhof extermination camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp
Each location has latitude, longitude, and radius assigned, so that the Photos app will ignore images taken at these locations when creating new memories. Of course, Apple can update this list with new places with future iOS updates.
iOS 15.5 beta also brings changes to the Wallet app and reveals upcoming changes to Apple Pay.
OnePlus promises to deliver regular system updates for its wide array of smartphones for at least two years and in some cases much longer for flagship models, but how is the April 2022 security update being handled?
OnePlus April 2022 security update — What’s new?
At the start of April, Google added the security patch as the fifth post-Android 12 update for all eligible Pixel devices after the previous addition of a substantial Feature Drop and version 12.1/12L upgrade. This OTA included a number of new tweaks to improve the experience on larger displays while simultaneously tuning the base Android 12 experience for devices.
Moving forward, this will be the basis for third-party OEM builds, but it’s still unclear when OnePlus phones will see it. It might be enveloped into the full Android 13 release at some point in future. Unlike Samsung, OnePlus is not quite as fast out of the blocks when it comes to Android updates. It took until April 20 before the latest security patch arrived on eligible handsets.
Late March saw the release of the OnePlus 10 Pro, which is likely to be given priority for future patches. That said, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have been supported very well since launch given that updates are often served on a bimonthly basis.
At this point in time, the April 2022 security patch has only arrived on a few OnePlus devices, but we expect that to change over the coming days and weeks. The April 2022 security update for OnePlus devices patches the DirtyPipe exploit, as this predominantly affected Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
OnePlus devices with the April 2022 update
OnePlus 9 series
Although superseded by the recent OnePlus 10 Pro, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are running a newer security patch courtesy of the OxygenOS C.48 update. This patch includes some system stability improvements and the latest patch but very little else.
OnePlus 7T series
Although almost identical to the OnePlus 7 Pro with very similar internals and external design, the OxygenOS 220.127.116.11 update is now available for the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro. This patch includes the April 2022 security update and some general software stability improvements for the OnePlus duo.
The first device to actually get the latest April patch was, in fact, the OnePlus Nord 2. This upgraded follow-up to the original Nord is starting to see OxygenOS A.20, which includes the April 2022 security patch and some other tweaks as part of the update.
OxygenOS 11.0.6 is now rolling out for the most affordable Nord series handset. The Nord N100 might not be a powerful or “stacked” smartphone but it is getting the April security patch (via XDA). The update should be rolling out over the coming days to eligible handsets.
Devices still awaiting the April patch
While we’re seeing a very small pool of devices get the latest patch, a larger selection of the OnePlus hardware lineup is still updated with older 2022 security patches — with all devices noted below. As patches are often served on a bi-monthly cadence, you may see some devices skipped ahead of a wider rollout of an upcoming patch.
It’s also important to note that OnePlus has officially confirmed that the 6 and 6T series will no longer be updated or supported over the coming months. The 2018 flagship duo received a surprise update in mid-November and now will only be supported via third-party unofficial means moving forward.
OnePlus 10 series
OnePlus 10 Pro (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus 9 series
OnePlus 9 (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus 9 Pro (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus 9R (November 2021 patch)
OnePlus 9RT (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus 8 series
OnePlus 8 (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus 8 Pro (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus 8T (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus 7 series
OnePlus 7 (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus 7 Pro (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus 7T (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus 7T Pro (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus Nord series
OnePlus Nord (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus Nord CE (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus Nord 2 (December 2021 patch)
OnePlus Nord CE 2 (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus Nord N10 5G (March 2022 patch)
OnePlus Nord N100 (February 2022 patch)
OnePlus Nord N200 5G (March 2022 patch)
How can I get the April 2022 security patch on my OnePlus device?
OnePlus has a habit of rolling out updates for devices in a staged manner. That means that the initial release and subsequent confirmation on the OnePlus Forums don’t always indicate when you’ll be able to grab an OTA file and get your device updated/patched.
Our advice is to use a third-party application to get updates in a timely manner. The community-run Oxygen Updater allows you to sideload official update .zip files as soon as they are available publicly. While this will ensure you get updates right away, if you encounter problems, you may need to revert to an older build. This may require a device reset if problems are major.
Following the release of iOS 15.2.1 earlier this month, Apple on Thursday stopped signing iOS 15.2 for all iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad models. This means that users can no longer downgrade their devices to iOS 15.2.
iOS 15.2 was released to the public on December 13, 2021, with a few notable changes, which include Apple Music Voice Plan, new App Privacy Report in the Settings, safety alerts for children using Messages, Digital Legacy, and more.
iOS 15.2.1 came a month later on January 20 to fix a CarPlay bug and also a security exploit found in HomeKit that could cause iPhone or iPad to repeatedly crash.
Reverting to older iOS builds is often used by those who jailbreak their iPhones. Restoring an iPhone or iPad to a previous version of iOS can also sometimes be helpful for users who experience significant bugs after upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
If you have experienced any serious issues with iOS 15.2.1, unfortunately, you’ll now have to wait until a future update rather than downgrading to iOS 15.2. Users running the iOS 15.3 beta can no longer downgrade to iOS 15.2 either.
Apple confirms it is ramping up efforts to get more iOS 14 users to update to iOS 15 [U]
Update:Apple reached out and pointed out a support page from September 2021 saying the company intended to offer “important security updates” for iOS and iPadOS 14 users for “a period of time.”
Last week, reported that Apple wasn’t letting users stay on iOS 14 with security updates as it had removed the ability to update to iOS 14.8.1. Now, the company confirmed its efforts to make the iPhone userbase update to iOS 15 instead.
While it was once rumored that it could be a bug, Apple told Ars Technica that it didn’t intend to let users stay forever on iOS 14. In fact, the company wanted this to be only a “temporary” option.
Apple told Ars that it always intended the iOS 14 security update option to be temporary. Essentially, people could have a short grace period while Apple worked out the worst of the new operating system’s early bugs, but you would always eventually have to upgrade to stay patched.
This statement from Apple is very different from what we heard during WWDC21. At the time, the company was very serious about giving users the option to stay in an old version of iOS while still giving users occasional security patches.
As a matter of fact, this was the first time Apple had spoken about continuing to support an old version of its iPhone operating system, as the company had released security patches for iOS 12 and even older software versions every now and then.
Last year, even before Apple announced the possibility to stay on iOS 14 during WWDC21, 9to5Mac had discovered that the company was planning that during the beta tests of iOS 14.5:
A new section added to the iOS software update menu indicates that Apple will provide standalone security updates for iPhone and iPad users. Users would be able to choose whether they want to install only security updates or full iOS updates.
Although we don’t yet have more details about this change, macOS already offers a similar method of updates. When you have a Mac running an older version of the operating system, such as macOS Mojave, Apple delivers separate security updates so that users can get security patches and bug fixes without having to install the latest macOS version available.
With this change of mind, Apple is pushing users to update to iOS 15, as they can take advantage of security patches and new features, which includes the ability to find the iPhone even when turned off, using Focus Mode settings, and more.
It’s a weird decision Apple has made. Coincidence or not, just last week the company said iOS 15 adoption was lower than usual. According to Apple, iOS 15 is currently installed on 72% of iPhones released in the last four years, which is lower than previous iOS updates.
Here is the current breakdown of iOS adoption among “devices introduced in the last four years,” according to Apple:
72% iOS 15
26% iOS 14
When comparing to iOS 14 numbers shared by the end of 2020, 81% of all iPhones in the last four years were already running the operating system, while, this time, Apple took more time to provide its first update on iOS 15 adopters and with fewer users running the latest software available.
Of course, you can still take advantage of your iPhone with iOS 14, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be as secure as someone running the latest version of iOS 15.
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.
Back in August, Google updated Tasks for Android and iOS with tabs that let you quickly jump between lists. The instance of Google Tasks that exists in the web sidebar of Gmail, Docs, and other Workspace apps now looks to be getting a similar redesign, as well as the ability to favorite items.
A Google blog post about productivity tips this morning includes a screenshot of a new Google Tasks web sidebar UI. The primary difference is that all your lists are displayed in the main feed instead of users only being able to see one at a time and having to manually switch between lists from the top-left dropdown. For the web, it’s a better overall solution than using tabs.
You have the ability to hide the contents of a list to just focus on those that are currently relevant. Additionally, instead of “Add a task” appearing at the very top of this feed, that button appears next to each list name. You also get a prominent “Add a list” shortcut at the bottom, as well as at the very top.
Meanwhile, moving up in the interface, there’s now a second tab to see just a feed of tasks that you have favorited. This feature has not launched in the mobile apps and could be Google’s way to make sure you don’t have to cycle through each list to find your most important tasks.
As of today, this list redesign for Google Tasks on the web has not yet rolled out on personal and Workspace accounts that we checked. It officially remains unannounced.
Left: Upcoming | Right: Current
Google Tasks gets a new icon that matches other Workspace logos [Update: Rolling out]
Over a one-month period that ended in late November, Google rolled out updated logos for the vast majority of Workspace apps. Google Tasks was left off the list, but that’s now being rectified with a new icon.
Update 9/24: The new Google Tasks logo is rolling out right on schedule. On Android, version 2021.09.13.397725854, which is rolling out now via the Play Store, is required. A new release is not yet available on iOS, while Gmail and the other Workspace web apps have yet to be refreshed.
Original 9/15: Like Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and everything else today, the new Google Tasks icon is flat. Previously, the dot and pill that made up the checkmark featured a shadow.
The new logo drops the blue circular background for a ring. There’s a standard, centered checkmark that does break the circle with the overlapped area slightly darker as a result.
We’re updating the Google Tasks logo to better align with products across Google Workspace.
Google says the new Tasks logo will appear across the web (add-on sidebar in Gmail and other services) and on your mobile devices. Calendar technically already has a variant of the updated look.
Meanwhile, there was an update to the Android app today, but it does not bring the upcoming design. Following Gmail, Drive, and Keep, Google Tasks should also be on track to get a Material You revamp that mostly introduces Dynamic Color support (on Pixel) and a new rounded square FAB.
It will begin rolling out on September 23,2021 and be fully available over the coming weeks:
Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
Apple today released iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 beta 5 to developers. These updates don’t include as many changes as the previous betas did, but they do include a handful of smaller tweaks. Head below as we roundup everything knew in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 beta 5.
With the fifth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple is focusing more on refinement than major changes. There are no major changes to the controversial Safari redesign in this beta, unlike the previous releases.
iOS 15 beta 5 features the build number of 19A5318f. Developers can update from beta 4 via the Settings app. Open the Settings app, choose General, then choose Software Update.
iOS 15 is also available to public beta users, but no new beta has been released to those users this week. It’s possible that the next iOS 15 public beta build is released later today or tomorrow, but a release next week is not out of the question. Apple has also not released new betas of macOS Monterey or watchOS 8.
What’s new in iOS 15 beta 5?
The Weather app has a new icon that adds depth, making it similar to the Maps icon in iOS 15
New onboarding screens for the Maps, Home, and Photos applications
In iPadOS 15 beta 5, Apple has made a small change to the Safari interface, so the address bar is now outlined instead of filled in
iPadOS 15 beta 5 also brings a new “Use Large Icons” setting to the “Home Screen & Dock” area of the Settings app. This was previously located in the “Display & Brightness” settings area
In the Settings app under Safari then Accessibility, there is a new option for “Show Color in Top and Bottom Bars”
New tappable message for “iPhone Findable After Power Off”
Tweaks to the “Notifications while in Focus” design in Notification Center
According to Apple’s release notes: “Legacy Contacts has been removed from iOS & iPadOS 15 beta 5 and will return in a future release.”
New indicator in the App Store for when you have a TestFlight beta version of an app installed