Articles about Apple

Sharknado 2019 as seen through the eyes of a Siri QA screener

We all have them. Those days when we question our life choices. The roads not taken. The career paths followed and later regretted.

For example, why did I choose to become a quality assurance screener for Apple’s Siri-equipped devices? Surely, the idea of listening to hours upon hours of random conversations, punctuated by the occasional moan/grunt or farting noise, was not at top of mind when I graduated university with a BS in CS (or was it a CS in BS)? And, of course, there’s no way I could have anticipated the events that would transpire one fateful day in September 2019 -- events that would shake this seasoned writer to his very core.

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Apple launches screen replacement program for cracked aluminum Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3

Cracked Apple Watch screen

If you are one of the unfortunate owners of an aluminum Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3 that has developed cracks, there's some good news: Apple has launched a replacement program which means you may be able to get a new screen free of charge.

Apple has not given details of the number of affected units, but says that it "has determined that, under very rare circumstances, a crack may form along the rounded edge of the screen in aluminum models of an Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3".

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Google security researcher warns that hackers are using malicious websites to exploit iOS flaws and monitor iPhone users

Black iPhone

Hackers are using compromised websites to install "monitoring implants" on iPhones, warns a security researcher from Google's Project Zero.

Taking advantage of vulnerabilities in iOS and Safari, hackers are able to target devices running everything from iOS 10 to iOS 12, accessing contacts, images and other data. It is claimed that the practice has been going on for years, and that "simply visiting the hacked site [is] enough for the exploit server to attack your device".
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Apple beats Microsoft to the punch, will unveil iPhone 11 on September 10

We all knew that Apple would be unveiling new iPhone smartphones next month, but now, we know the exact day -- September 10. Earlier today, Apple sent invitations to members of the press. Sadly, my invitation was lost in the mail. Once again, the product event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater in the company's Cupertino, California "Apple Park" headquarters. Yes, this means Apple's announcement will happen nearly a month before Microsoft's upcoming Surface event.

BetaNews can confirm there will be three iPhone sizes -- 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch. We can also confirm that the oft-rumored square camera bump is happening too. Yeah, that square is ugly, but it is pretty much a guarantee that it will take phenomenal photos. Rumors suggest the new smartphones will be branded iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Apparently, the company won't use "XI." It will be interesting to see what colors will be available, as the invitation image (seen above) suggests it could be a colorful affair.

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Apple launches Independent Repair Provider Program

Apple products are very elegantly designed, but they aren't known for being durable, nor are they free from defects. For instance, my iPhone 8 Plus had dead pixels out of the box -- I had to get a screen fix immediately. Later, my MacBook Pro -- which I have since sold -- developed a screen defect on its own. There are countless people that have dropped their Apple devices too (even from low heights) and had the the damn thing break. Apple stuff can be rather fragile.

So, yeah, owning an Apple product means you sometimes have to visit the Apple Store to get it fixed. If you don't have Apple Care, however, and the phone is out of warranty, it can be a very expensive affair. Not to mention, many people don't live near a physical Apple Store. So to either save money or because of geographic purposes, they turn to third-party repair services.

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Apple apologizes for having contractors listen to Siri recordings and announces privacy changes

Apple logo in squares

Following outcry over human "grading" of Siri recordings, Apple has issued an apology and promised that it will no longer retain recordings of interaction with the digital assistant unless given explicit permission.

The company says that "we haven't been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize". Having suspended the human grading of Siri requests, Apple is now making fundamental changes to its privacy policy saying that only Apple employees will be able to listen to recordings, as opposed to contractors, and users will have to opt in for this to happen.

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Apple puts the kibosh on vulnerability that let iPhone users jailbreak iOS 12.4

Lego man hacking iPhone

Apple has released an update to iOS 12.4, plugging a vulnerability that had been reintroduced which allowed for jailbreaking.

iOS 12.4.1 repatches a security flaw which Apple previously fixed and then, inexplicably or accidentally, unpatched. iPhone owners now face a dilemma: upgrade to iOS 12.4.1 and have the most up-to-date, secure operating system, or stick with iOS 12.4 and retain jailbreak.

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Now you can jailbreak iOS 12.4 -- or hack it

iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max

Hackers have taken advantage of a vulnerability in iOS 12.4 to release a jailbreaking tool. This is the first time in many years that it has been possible to jailbreak iPhones running the most recent version of iOS.

Security researchers discovered that in iOS 12.4, Apple has unpatched a vulnerability it previously fixed and it didn't take long for hacker Pwn20wnd to release a free jailbreak tool.

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Apple Card is now available to everyone in the US

Apple Card on iPhone

Following an initially limited launch earlier this month, Apple's take on the credit card -- the Apple Card -- is now available to everyone in the US.

For now, it is just the US that is being treated to the card. The rest of the world will almost certainly get a look-in at some point in the future, but for now Apple is focusing its attention on Americans.

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Trump says Tim Cook makes a 'compelling' argument against Apple paying tariffs

Black iPhone

At a weekend meeting with Donald Trump, Tim Cook made a "compelling" argument for Apple to be exempt from tariffs.

Cook is said to have argued if Apple was forced to pay tariffs, it made it difficult to compete with other companies, such as Samsung. Trump acknowledged that it was "tough" for Apple to be paying tariffs on its China-made products when Samsung was not subject to them, but made no indication that exemption for Apple was on the cards.

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Privacy: Apple now treats WebKit tracking circumvention as a security issue

Apple logo in squares

Apple has updated its WebKit policy, increasing the company's focus on privacy. The new WebKit Tracking Prevention Policy now states that any circumvention of its anti-tracking feature is treated in the same way, and as seriously, as security issues.

The aim is to prevent web tracking completely because "these practices are harmful to users because they infringe on a user's privacy without giving users the ability to identify, understand, consent to, or control them". Apple says it wants "to see a healthy web ecosystem, with privacy by design".

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Free VPN apps pose a privacy risk on both Android and iOS

VPN tiles

Both Apple and Google are allowing numerous potentially unsafe free VPN apps to remain in their app stores, despite being aware of privacy risks according to research from Top10VPN.com.

Among the string of serious privacy issues uncovered but not acted upon is the discovery that nearly 60 percent of the most popular free VPN apps are secretly Chinese-owned.

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Apple widens the scope of its bug bounty program, and increases top payout to $1 million

Apple money

Bug bounty programs are a common way for companies to learn about problems with their hardware and software, while giving people the chance to get paid for finding them. Apple is one of the big names to run such a program, and it has at long last expanded it to included macOS.

The iPhone-maker made the announcement at the Black Hat security conference, where it also revealed that not only will its bug bounty program spread to tvOS, watchOS and iCloud as well, but also that the maximum reward is increasing to a cool $1 million.

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Apple is discouraging the installation of third party batteries by displaying Battery Health warnings

iPhone battery

In a move that is going to prove more than a little controversial, Apple is using the Battery Health feature of iOS to strongly discourage people from using cheaper third-party batteries rather than official Apple units.

Now, if you install a non-official battery in an iPhone XS, XR or XS Max, Battery Health will display a "Service" notification that is usually used to indicate that there is a problem. Click through, and you'll see a message that reads: "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery".

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These are the Apple Card restrictions you need to know about

Apple Card

Apple Card is due to launch later this month and there are a few restrictions associated with Apple's predictably-named credit card.

The Apple Card Customer Agreement document drawn up by backing creditor Goldman Sachs shows that it cannot be used to buy cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the iPhone-based digital version of the credit card cannot be used on jailbroken devices.

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