Want to change the voice of Siri on a Mac? There are numerous voice options for Siri available, and on the Mac you can change the voice of Siri to be male or female, and you can even change Siri’s accent too.
Siri must be enabled for this to work, so if you turned it off you would need to turn it back on again in Siri settings. Any change made to the Siri voice, gender, or accent will apply to all Siri interaction on the Mac, so whether you summon Siri through the Dock, menu bar, keyboard shortcut, using Hey Siri, or the Touch Bar, does not matter, the voice change will apply universally.
How to Change Siri Voice on Mac to Different Accent or Gender
Go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
Pull down the dropdown menu next to ‘Siri Voice’
Select one of the Siri voice options:
South African (Female)
South African (Male)
Summon Siri to test out Siri to confirm the voice change has taken effect
Regardless of what Siri voice you choose, the Mac Siri commands available remain the same, even the goofy ones.
The Siri voice options discussed here are obviously for English speaking users, and thus they might be different for other languages and regions of the world, and depending on what language is set on the Mac.
Changing Siri voice gender is a nice and simple way to customize the Siri experience, and whether or not you prefer the Male Siri voice or the Female Siri voice is largely a matter of personal preference.
You’ll find that changing the Siri accent can offer a fun way to personalize Siri, and even if you’re not from a particular region it can be pleasant to engage with Siri using a different accent. Do note that some subtle inflections may be different and so if you’re not familiar with a particular accent it may not be the best experience to use a different one.
Whatever Siri voice you choose will impact all ways of interacting with Siri when Siri speaks, including both Hey Siri and regular Siri.
This obviously applies to Siri for the Mac, but you can also change Siri voice in iOS too for iPhone and iPad users.
The default keyboard settings on modern Mac OS versions include a shortcut for typing periods quickly. This means that hitting the spacebar twice will insert a period automatically at the end of a sentence or word.
Automatically typing periods comes to the Mac from the iPhone and iPad world, and while some the period typing shortcut can be desirable for some Mac users, others may not like it as much. If you do not like the automatic period typing keyboard shortcut on the Mac, you can turn this feature off.
How to Disable Auto Period Typing Shortcut on Mac
Go to the Apple menu and choose ‘System Preferences’
Select the “Keyboard” preference panel, then choose the “Text” tab
Locate the setting for “Add period with double-space” and toggle the checkbox to the OFF position
Exit System Preferences
Now when you hit the space bar twice, or type a double-space, a period will no longer be inserted automatically. Instead, to type a period you must manually hit the period key on the Mac keyboard.
For some Mac users this is entirely a matter of personal preference, but there are situations where this period typing shortcut can be problematic. For example, if a Mac keyboard is double-typing spaces at random, you may find that periods are being inserted erroneously while typing and where you don’t want them to be placed. Turning this setting off can resolve that situation.
This obviously applies to the Mac, but the period shortcut setting also exists in the iOS world, where you can turn off the automatic period typing on iPhone and iPad too.
The double-space period shortcut setting is the default on new macOS versions and with new Macs, but some users may have made the change manually to enable automatic word capitalization at the start of a new sentence, and inserting periods after double-spacing. Whether you like this setting on or off is going to be up to the user and how they type, and like all system settings you can easily change it again at any time.
If you open iTunes and expect to access your local music library collection, you might be perplexed when you find that a music library is not immediately visible. Instead, launching modern versions of iTunes goes directly to the iTunes Store. Some iTunes users then attempt to access their iTunes music library by selecting the ‘Music’ dropdown menu but still are unable to find their local music library. Not to worry, if you can’t find your local music collection in iTunes, we’ll show you how to quickly access the local music library in iTunes on the Mac or Windows PC.
Note this tip is for accessing and seeing the full iTunes library within iTunes itself. This is not aiming to access iTunes music files which is discussed here if that’s what your objective is.
How to Access iTunes Music Library in iTunes on a Computer
Open iTunes app
Look near the top of the iTunes window and click on the ‘Library’ button (sometimes this is labeled as “My Music”)
This will switch iTunes to the iTunes Library view rather than the iTunes Store
This may sound obvious to some Mac and Windows PC users, but after visiting with someone recently I learned they were convinced their iTunes Music Library had been deleted or vanished. In fact the iTunes Music Library was still there, but because iTunes opened directly to the Store and they kept using the pulldown menu to try and access Music, they stayed stuck in the iTunes Store and never found their actual music library within iTunes. Basically they were unable to find their iTunes Music because they were looking in the wrong part of the app, so don’t go for that menu item to find a library – the dropdown menu chooses the type of content seen (Music, Movies, etc) rather than the library itself:
This might be a helpful tip for users who rely on iTunes to manage a local music library collection.
A similar difficulty for some iTunes users is when selecting an iPhone or iPad in iTunes, which can be counterintuitive or confusing for some people. Fortunately that is also quite simple. Sometimes simply learning how to do things reveals just how easy it is, even if the task is not initially obvious.
Older versions of iTunes defaulted to launching directly to a users local music library, but that behavior changed with modern iTunes releases which now default to opening directly to the iTunes Store instead.
Remember this is for interacting with an iTunes Library in iTunes itself. If you need to gain access to the actual audio files from iTunes you can follow these instructions to find iTunes files, or you can simply navigate to the iTunes library location as discussed here.
Have you ever been typing on a Mac laptop keyboard and noticed that hitting the spacebar sometimes randomly inserts double spaces between words? Or maybe you’re typing some other letter and randomly two of that key is doubled-typed? Some MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook users have discovered this happens seemingly at random, where hitting a key or the spacebar actually inserts two spaces or two characters instead of one, which is a nuisance at best and problematic at worst.
Mystery double key presses are a well-documented issue with some MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook computers, and while it’s not clear what causes the issue or how widespread the problem is, if you’re encountering the double typing issue yourself, you may find a settings change in Mac OS can help reduce the frequency, or even fix it entirely. We’ll also cover a few other possible troubleshooting options for addressing double typing issues on Mac laptops.
How to Fix Double Typing Key Problems on MacBook Pro & MacBook Air
Note this settings change may not resolve the double typing problem for everyone, but for some Mac laptop users it does appear to completely remedy the double typing key and double spacebar issues. It’s a simple settings change either way and thus is worth a try, here’s what to do:
Pull down the Apple menu and go to “System Preferences”
Go to the “Keyboard” preference panel, and choose the Keyboard tab
Locate the “Key Repeat” slider setting and adjust it to the “Off” position
Exit out of System Preferences
Open any typing application (TextEdit, Word, Pages, etc) and try to replicate the double-typing issue by typing sentences and phrases as usual, the double space and double typing issue should be resolved
If you’re able to successfully type sentences, phrases, spaces, keys, letters, numbers, and anything else without double-typing occurring, then your issue may be resolved entirely by this simple settings change. If the double typing problem is now resolved when this feature iso ff, that could indicate a bug associated with the Key Repeat functionality in MacOS, though that’s purely speculation.
Unfortunately not all MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air users will have such luck, and some Mac laptop owners may discover they issue persists despite changing the key repeat settings.
Mac Laptop Still Double Typing? Clean the Keyboard!
If the Mac is still double typing characters and spaces, the next thing you should do is clean the Mac keyboard, which can be made easier with an app called ‘Keyboard Cleaner’ that temporarily blocks the keys on a computer so that they can be pressed down without inserting any characters. Typically wiping down the keys with a very lightly damp cloth or
If you have a 2016 or later MacBook Pro with the newer flat keyboard design, then you can also choose to follow this official instruction set from Apple on cleaning a MacBook / Pro keyboardwhich involves a series of gymnastic movements of the computer with precise angle instructions, rotation suggestions, and directional recommendations on how to blast a keyboard with a third party compressed air canister. It’s a fascinating support guide, and the method described using compressed air might work to resolve key issues for you.
Help, my MacBook Pro / MacBook Air keyboard is still typing double-spaces and double keys!
If you cleaned the keyboard and made the above settings change to Key Repeat and yet you find your Mac laptop keyboard is still randomly repeating keys when pressed once, it is possible the MacBook Pro, MacBook, or MacBook Air keyboard has a physical hardware problem.
The good news is that Apple actually has an extended service program for faulty keyboards on some Mac laptop models, including all 2016 MacBook Pro models, all 2017 MacBook Pro models, all 2015, 2016, and 2017 12″ MacBook models (note the keyboard program does not include any 2015 MacBook Pro or Air model, which had a completely different keyboard design). In fact, the first keyboard issue identified by Apple with the faulty keyboards on some Mac laptops is “Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly”. Thus if your Mac laptop falls in that model release year, you may be able to get a free keyboard repair. If you aren’t sure which model year Mac you have, you can check when a Mac was built and what the Mac model is with these instructions.
The “Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro” from Apple covers many modern Mac laptops with the new flat key keyboard design. Interestingly, the 2018 model year MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air are not included in the keyboard repair program list, despite those Mac laptops having the same flat keyboard design, and despite some users have issues with double-repeating keys as well (yours truly included with a max-spec 2018 Retina MacBook Air, hence part of the motivation of this article).
Regardless, if you have a 2018 model year Mac laptop that is experiencing the double-key press issue, and cleaning the keys or disabling the aforementioned ‘Key Repeat’ does not work to resolve the double-typing keyboard issue for you, you might want to reach out to Apple Support anyway, because many 2018 Mac laptops will still be covered under the limited warranty.
Have an older Mac but want Hey Siri voice commands? With a little effort, you can get ‘Hey Siri’ on unsupported Macs by using a creative workaround. While new Mac models can enable Hey Siri on the Mac as easily as checking a setting in system preferences, older Macs do not support the same Hey Siri feature. This tutorial will show you how you can replicate the exact same “Hey Siri” capability on any Mac that does not support Hey Siri by default, as long as it has regular Siri functionality.
This has been tested and confirmed to work on Macs that have Siri and without official Hey Siri support. This includes Macs running macOS Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra, as long as Siri is enabled on the Mac you will be able to use this workaround approach to mimic Hey Siri functionality. You will need a microphone, and the Mac must have Siri support. The rest is just a matter of configuring the Mac to listen for a special command and then tie that command to Siri to replicate Hey Siri hands-free voice commands on a Mac.
How to Enable “Hey Siri” on Unsupported Macs
This is a multiple-step process to setup Hey Siri on an unsupported Mac, follow the steps carefully:
Go to Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
Choose “Siri” preference panel and make sure Siri is enabled
Now go to the “Keyboard” preference panel and to the “Dictation” tab and check the box for “Dictation” to ON and then check “Use Enhanced Dictation” as well
Next go to the “Accessibility” system preference panel and choose ‘Dictation’ from the sidebar, and check the box for “Enable dictation keyword phrase” and type in ‘Hey’ * and then click the “Dictation Commands” button
Check the box for “Use advanced commands” then click the + plus button
Configure the advanced Dictation command as follows:
When I say: “Siri”
While using: “Any Application”
Perform: Run Workflow -> Other -> Navigate to /Applications folder and select “Siri.app”
The configuration should look like the following, with the Perform action being “Open Siri.app”, if everything matches choose “Done”
Confirm that the “Hey Siri” trick is working by saying “Hey Siri what’s the weather” or some other Siri command
Assuming you configured things as described above, you will now have a fully functioning “Hey Siri” hands-free voice commanded assistant on a Mac, even if that Mac does not officially support Hey Siri.
Try it out yourself, it works! The response time and accuracy seems about the same as official Hey Siri on the Mac.
Basically anything from the Mac Siri commands list will work when activated through voice this way.
* You can use any other dictation keyword phrase, we’re using “Hey” so that we can mimic the “Hey Siri” feature. But you can use “Open the pod bay doors Hal” or something else if you feel like it.
How to Turn Off the Hey Siri Workaround on Older Macs
If you want to turn this off, you can return to the Accessibility Dictation section and uncheck the various boxes. If you want to disable Enhanced Dictation and disable Siri in general you can do that too. You may have noticed that Enhanced Dictation downloads a 1.2gb package for it to work, but you can remove Enhanced Dictation to reclaim that disk space on the Macif desired.
While this is obviously for the Mac, enabling Hey Siri on iPhone or iPad is easy and supports many devices, and you can enable Hey Siri on Apple Watch too. Whichever device you use Siri on you can use many Siri commands from the list and yes even the funny Siri commands that are just plain goofy.
Intel Power Gadget for Mac is a processor monitoring tool that allows computer users to monitor the performance of an Intel processor in real-time. Intel Power Gadget will show you power and energy information in watts, the clock speed frequency of the CPU in GHz, the temperature of the CPU, and CPU utilization. It’s a handy utility for many reasons, and some Mac users may even use it as an alternative system monitor sort of like Activity Monitor.
Newer versions of MacOS can sometimes have trouble installing Intel Power Gadget, and many MacOS Mojave users have discovered the installation fails or the app doesn’t work. This installation failure is usually due to a default security setting in MacOS, and is easy to resolve.
How to Install Intel Power Gadget on MacOS
Installing Intel Power Gadget on the Mac is easy, though you may run into a Gatekeeper security block that can cause installation trouble. Here’s how to successfully install the tool in modern macOS releases:
Launch the “Install Intel Power Gadget.pkg” from the mounted disk image as usual and start the installation process
If you see a ‘System Extension Blocked’ message, click on “Open Security Preferences”, otherwise go to the Apple menu and choose ‘System Preferences’ followed by ‘Security’
Under the ‘General’ section of the Security preference panel, click the button to “Allow” the ‘system software from developer Intel corporation apps’ which was blocked by Gatekeeper *
The Intel Power Gadget installer should proceed as usual and successfully install, if it fails then just run the “Install Intel Power Gadget.pkg” package installer again
When finished, launch Intel Power Gadget from the /Applications folder as usual
If you run Intel Power Gadget while you’re using the Mac, you may notice that processor performance can change around quite a bit depending on what you’re doing and what sort of apps you’re using.
It is completely normal for the processor charts to be changing constantly, and you’ll find that the processor clock speed may go up or down, as will both CPU temperature and power, typically correlated with processor utilization – this makes sense as more processing utilization requires more power to have a higher clock speed, which raises the temperature of the CPU, and of course the opposite can happen as well with CPU speed lowering along with lower power and lower temperature and utilization when the Mac is less busy. If you’re interested in doing so, you can see this directly and test it yourself by running any CPU intensive task, like the Terminal command ‘yes’, which is often used for stress testing a Mac (or any Linux PC):
As you can see the graphs for power, frequency, temperature, and utilization suddenly shoot way up as the ‘yes’ command runs in the adjacent Terminal window as a stress test, which is normal and expected behavior for the processor.
Uninstalling Intel Power Gadget on Mac
Decide you don’t need Intel Power Gadget? Uninstalling Intel Power Gadget is quite simple. Simply navigate to the /Applications folder and open the Intel Power Gadget directory, then run the included ‘Uninstaller.pkg’ package file. This will remove the Intel Power Gadget application and the associated kernel extension from the Mac.
* If you’re a truly advanced Mac user and you’re bothered by these type of security measures causing installation issues, you can choose to allow apps from anywhere in macOS by disabling Gatekeeper, though that is strongly not recommended for the vast majority of Mac users. There are quite a few apps that can fail to install because of the stricter security standards that are in place in modern macOS releases, and if you’re the type of person running Intel Power Gadget then you may encounter also a similar issue with installing VirtualBox in MacOS where the kernel driver fails to install, thereby preventing that app to work as well. Typically you can bypass Gatekeeper on a one-off basis as discussed here, which is arguably the best approach, but you can also just turn it off completely if needed.
Advanced Mac users who are interested in the world of Information Security (InfoSec) can easily test out ParrotSec Linux in live boot mode by using a virtual machine.
In this particular walkthrough, we’ll show you how to quickly get ParrotSec running in live mode within the free Parallels Desktop Lite app, but if you want to try this with VirtualBox, VMware, or Parallels, you could do that just as easily too.
For some quick background; ParrotSec, or Parrot Security OS, is an increasingly popular infosec / security centric Linux distribution based on Debian, and it comes ready-made with a variety of security features and forensic tools. With a full suite of utilities for penetration testing, security research, digital forensics, vulnerability assessment, cryptography, software development, and anonymizing web browsers and privacy protection, ParrotSec can offer a simple to setup look into the world of tools and resources used by information security professionals.
This is obviously aimed at very advanced users, but because of how virtual machines work, just about any tech savvy Mac user can test out the ParrotSec operating system within a self-contained virtual machine, without having an impact on the underlying Mac operating system. You can simply toss the ISO into Parallels Desktop Lite and it boots to play around with, and you can just as simply shut down the Parallels Desktop Lite virtual machine and delete the ParrotSec ISO file and it will be removed from the computer completely. No need to partition any drives, format any disks, dual boot, etc.
How to Run ParrotSec Live on Mac with Parallels Desktop Lite
Parallels Desktop Lite is free to download, as is ParrotSec. Getting the live mode to boot within Parallels is quite easy, here’s all you need to do:
Get Parallels Desktop Lite free from the Mac App Store
Now get ParrotSec free from parrotsec.org, for the tutorial here we’re using the free Home Edition 64bit ISO, which is 1.8 GB. You can download the security centric build or other builds if you want
Run Parallels Desktop Lite and under “Create New” select the option to ‘Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file’
Parallels Desktop Lite should find the freshly downloaded ParrotSec ISO file (labeled Debian GNU/Linux Parrot-*.iso), so select it then click Continue to boot
At the Parrot home boot menu, choose “Live Mode” to boot into the ParrotSec desktop experience (or select another boot option if desired)
In a few moments you’ll be at the ParrotSec desktop in a live boot mode, where you can explore and play around with some of the tools available, as of this writing, the ParrotSec live username is “live” and the live password is “toor”
When finished, shut down the Parallels virtual machine or quit the app to leave ParrotSec
Remember this is a virtual machine, so the performance is not going to be anywhere close to what you’d expect if running system software natively on actual hardware. But for the curious, it should still be fun to explore and experiment with.
If you toyed around with ParrotSec and decided you have no use for it, you can just delete the ISO file you downloaded and that’ll be that. You could also remove Parallels Desktop Lite if you’d like, but it’s a handy app to have around for virtualizing various Linux and MacOS releases.
You can also use VirtualBox (free), VMware (paid), or Parallels (paid), but for our purposes here we are using Parallels Desktop Lite because it’s extremely simple. Parallels Lite is also cool because the free version also allows you to run MacOS Mojave in Parallels Desktop Lite, or MacOS High Sierra and Sierra in Parallels Desktop Lite too, as well as various other Linux distributions. You will have to pay to use Windows with Parallels, but if you’re committed to virtualizing Windows and want to use free software you can get preconfigured Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge virtual machines or simply install Windows 10 into VirtualBox too, whichever works for your needs.
This is obviously for Mac (though you can certainly use the same ParrotSec ISO on any other computer as a virtual machine), but if you’re an iOS user and you’re feeling left out, you could always ssh into a computer running ParrotSec, or if you’re adventurous you could try and build your own environment natively with something like iSH Linux shell on iPad or iPhone. That’s far beyond the scope of this particular article though.
Some Mac users may occasionally run into a somewhat strange error when they try to open an app that was downloaded to their Mac, upon launching the app a little “verifying” progress bar will appear and stall for a moment before an error alert message says “Appname.app is damaged and can’t be opened. You should move it to the Trash.” with an accompanying detail specifying when and where the file was downloaded from. You then have two options, to ‘cancel’ or to “Move to Trash” the app you downloaded.
This article will offer a few ways to remedy this error message on the Mac.
How to Fix App Damaged and Can’t Be Opened Errors on Mac
There are a few different tips and tricks that can remedy these ‘app damaged’ error messages on the Mac. Re-downloading the app, rebooting the Mac, installing system software updates, and using the command line are covered here. Note if you are seeing a similar but different error message with Mac App Store apps, use this troubleshooting guide instead.
1: Re-download the App
The first thing you should do to try and remedy the “app damaged” error message is to re-download the app to the Mac, and make sure it comes from a trusted source.
For example if you are downloading Google Chrome or Signal, make sure you download those apps directly from the developer website only, do not download them from third party sites.
Often simply re-downloading the app, trashing the ‘damaged’ version, then relaunching the freshly downloaded copy will resolve this error message.
Sometimes the re-downloading approach doesn’t work, and sometimes downloading an app directly from a developer or a trusted source is not an option, and sometimes you have to download certain apps from third party sites (particularly with antiquated apps that have become abandonware). In these situations, you can try the next approach to get around the the “app is damaged and can’t be opened” error message.
As mentioned earlier, if you are seeing a similar error with a Mac App Store app saying “Name.app is damaged and can’t be opened. Delete Name.app and download it again from the App Store.” then click here for different instructions at resolving. Usually you simply have to log back into the Mac App Store and re-download the app in that situation.
This is decidedly simpleton, but often simply rebooting the Mac will resolve the “app is damaged and can’t be opened” error message on the Mac, particularly if you have already re-downloaded the app from a trusted source (the Mac App Store, directly from the developer, etc).
You can restart any Mac by going to the Apple menu and choosing “Restart”.
After the Mac boots back up again, try and re-open the app again.
3: Install Available System Software Updates
It appears that sometimes this error message shows up because of specific system software versions and/or Gatekeeper. Installing available system software updates on the Mac can often resolve this if so. Be sure to backup the Mac before doing so.
For MacOS 10.14 or later (Mojave and newer): Go to the “Software Update” preference panel in System Preferences to find available macOS system software updates.
For MacOS 10.13 and earlier: Go to the Mac App Stores “Updates” tab to find available system software updates.
For pre-App Store Macs (10.6 and earlier): Use the “Software Update” preference panel in System Preferences as well.
If there are available system software updates, or security updates, install those to the Mac.
Note this is not suggesting to update major OS releases, which is a much more complex task, only to update available system software updates. For example if your Mac is running El Capitan 10.11.x than install any El Capitan related updates that are available.
4: Use xattr on the App Throwing the Damaged Error
This is sort of a last resort and is only recommended for advanced Mac users. Generally speaking if the app is still throwing a ‘damaged’ error message you might want to not use it. Use this at your own risk.
With the command line you can use xattr to view and remove extended attributes from a file on the Mac including the application throwing the “Appname.app is damaged and can’t be opened. You should move it to the Trash.” error message.
Launch Terminal and then issue the following command:
xattr -cr /path/to/application.app
xattr -cr /Applications/Signal.app
The -c flag removes all attributes, whereas -r applies recursively for the entire targeted .app directory contents.
The xattr command can also be used to remove the ‘application downloaded from the internet’ error message on the Mac too. Again this is only recommended to advanced users because modifying extended attributes may have unintended consequences, and again you might be attempting to run an app that you should not be running, either for stability, privacy, security, or other reasons.
If your Mac desktop is a mess of files and folders, you’re not alone. A messy desktop must be common enough that a feature called Stacks has been included in MacOS specifically to ease that burden.
Basically Stacks cleans up a mess of files on your desktop automatically by arranging them into organized groups of files that can be easily expanded with a click. It works great, especially if
You’ll need MacOS Mojave 10.14 or later to have access to the Stacks feature, and you’ll also want a somewhat messy desktop of files to really appreciate how this feature works. If you have a clean desktop without anything on it then you probably won’t have much use for the automatic desktop cleanup feature.
How to Enable Stacks on MacOS Desktop
Got a messy desktop with tons of files? Here’s how you can quickly arrange those into organized Stacks!
Go to the Desktop of Mac OS
Pull down the “View” menu and choose “Use Stacks”
All desktop files will now be placed into neatly categorized “Stacks” for things like “Images”, “Screenshots”, “PDF Documents”, “Documents”, etc
The effect is immediately and notable, as any desktop clutter is instantly arranged into the Stacks.
You can click on any of the “Stacks” to expand out the files contained within that stack.
The files within the expanded Stacks can be interacted with just like any other item in the Finder or desktop, that means renaming, batch renaming, moving, copying, cut and paste, dragging and dropping, changing icons, etc are all doable within the expanded stack.
The animated image shows the effect of Stacks on a messy Mac desktop, taking the scattered files and images and placing them into neatly organized stacks.
You can also adjust how Stacks arranges files on the Desktop of a Mac. The default is ‘Kind’ (which sorts by file type), but you can also group Stacks by various date options and file tags.
(Note that if you have multiple Macs with busy desktops and use the iCloud Desktop & Documents feature, the Stacks feature can be a little busy since it spreads your desktop across multiple machines via iCloud. You can always disable iCloud Desktop & Documents on the Mac though that will require downloading all of those files to the local Macs again)
If you’ve totally thrown in the towel on maintaining a tidy desktop and Stacks isn’t enough to wrangle it for you, you can also go the old fashioned route and hide all desktop icons on the Mac completely, which will effectively disable the desktop as a place to store anything (but the user Desktop folder continues to be accessible from Finder and elsewhere that can browse the file system).
If the Stacks feature sounds somewhat familiar to you, it may be because a same-named feature has long existed on the Mac, but specifically for the Dock. The Dock Stacks feature allows for expanded stacks in the Dock, allowing you to place things like a Recent Items stack in the Mac Dock and with some customizations available for how Dock Stacks display and are interacted with. The Dock Stacks feature still exists in modern MacOS too, it’s just obviously for the Dock whereas the Desktop Stacks feature discussed here cleans up the Desktop.
You can always disable Stacks on the Mac desktop at any time as well, simply by going back to the “View” menu and choosing to uncheck the “Use Stacks” option.
A serious privacy bug has been discovered in FaceTime for iOS and MacOS that allows remote eavesdropping on another persons iPhone or Mac, even if they don’t pick up and answer the FaceTime call. Essentially this means that anyone can remotely listen to the microphone of a targeted iPhone or Mac by a remarkably simple process.
Below we’ll show you how you can test and reproduce the FaceTime eavesdropping microphone bug yourself, and we’ll also show you how to protect yourself from the FaceTime remote microphone / video access bug by turning off FaceTime on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Note: it appears that only iOS and macOS versions that support Group FaceTime are impacted by this bug, thus anything earlier than iOS 12.1 or macOS 10.14.1 is likely not effected. Apple is also apparently aware of the bug and will be releasing security patches later in the week.
How to Reproduce FaceTime Eavesdropping Bug & Remotely Listen to iPhone or Mac
Start a FaceTime call with someone
While the FaceTime call is ringing, tap the three dots or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the Group FaceTime feature
Tap on “Add Person” and add your own phone number as the contact person to add to the FaceTime call
The recipients iPhone or Mac will begin transmitting audio to you, even if they don’t answer the call
Going further, if the target presses the Power button on their iPhone, apparently it will start transmitting video as well.
What a lovely security bug! Not really, this is exceptionally bad. So obviously the question is how to protect yourself, which for now means disabling FaceTime completely.
How to Protect from FaceTime Eavesdropping Bug
Currently you can protect yourself or impacted devices from the remote FaceTime eavesdropping microphone / video camera bug by turning off FaceTime on the impacted devices. Here’s how to do that on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
How to Disable FaceTime on iPhone and iPad
Open Settings on iPhone or iPad and go to “FaceTime”
Toggle the setting for “FaceTime” to OFF
How to Disable FaceTime on Mac
Open FaceTime, then pull down the ‘FaceTime’ menu and choose “Turn FaceTime Off”
High-security minded Mac users who had previously either installed OverSight to detect camera and microphone activity on their Mac or disabled the Mac FaceTime camera completely should also be immune from the bug, though it’s possible that audio transmission could occur in the latter scenario.
If you have recently received a FaceTime call that you didn’t answer and you are concerned you are being listened to or watched remotely, simple turn off FaceTime or reboot your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and then turn off FaceTime.
As mentioned before, the remote eavesdropping microphone / video camera FaceTime bug appears to be related to the Group FaceTime feature which was introduced in iOS 12.1 for iPhone and iPad and macOS 10.14.1 for Mac. In testing, we were not able to reproduce the bug when trying to connect to iPhone, Mac, or iPad that were running earlier iOS or MacOS system software versions.
The bug was apparently first publicized on Snapchat and Twitter by user @bmmanski where a short casual video is demonstrating the remote microphone access, that video was later noticed by 9to5mac and other tech and mainstream press. It’s possible this security flaw was known by others before this, however.
According to Axios, Apple will be releasing an update later in the week to resolve the bug. Until then, you might want to consider disabling FaceTime on any impacted iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch.