Many App Store and iTunes customers no longer receiving email receipts for purchases – 9to5Mac

“An odd annoyance has emerged among many App Store and iTunes users. Over the last several weeks, many Apple customers have reported that they are no longer receiving email receipts for purchases they made via the App Store or iTunes.”

I’ve been having the same problem. And this is a problem, because I need receipts for software that I purchase for my business. In fact, I had forgotten about this until seeing the article this morning, and went and got a bunch of receipts re-sent.

The biggest issue with this, however, is that without receipts I won’t see any unauthorized purchases, if, by chance, someone managed to compromise my account, or if I was billed for something I didn’t buy.

The article explains how to view your purchase history, but you can do so more quickly by clicking this link: https://finance-app.itunes.apple.com/purchases.

Source: Many App Store and iTunes customers no longer receiving email receipts for purchases – 9to5Mac

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 112: Twitter Trickery, Charging Insecurity, Cryptocurrency Malware, and More

We follow up on our Black Friday purchases, then talk about some Twitter trickery, some Russian rigidity, some charging insecurity, some location confusion, and some new Mac cryptocurrency malware.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple says it cares about the climate. So why does it cost the earth to repair my Macbook? – The Guardian

“My beloved MacBook Air was only two years old when it died. It had seemed perfectly healthy the night before, but when I tried to turn it on in the morning there was no response.

Panicked, I rushed to the nearest Apple store. A ‘Genius’ told me gently to give up hope: there had been an electrical failure; it was a goner. Apple could repair it, the Genius said, but it would cost at least $600 (£460) and take weeks; in the end, it would be cheaper just to buy a new one. So, with a lot of grumbling, that is what I did.”

This brief article on The Guardian seems quite problematic. The journalist had a failure on her MacBook Air. It’s not clear what the cause was. She obviously did not have AppleCare, which covers the device for three years Given that the Sale of Goods act in the UK protects you for six years, and the journalist could probably have found this out, she’s making broad statements without really understanding her options.

What I wonder is whether she might have spilled something on the laptop, which would render any remedy under the Sale of Goods act null.

It’s a shame when a publication like The Guardian publishes these short, uninformed blog posts, whereas these “journalists” could actually do some “investigation” to find out a bit more about the situations and their rights.

Source: Apple says it cares about the climate. So why does it cost the earth to repair my Macbook? | Arwa Mahdawi | Technology | The Guardian

The chain of trust in Apple’s devices

A lot of computer security is based on trust. Your devices verify that you are, indeed, an authorized user, through the use of user names and passwords. And your devices trust services and servers, through a series of certificates and “trusted third parties” who work through a cascading system of verification and authentication.

If you use Apple devices, the company has its own chain of trust that allows you to use multiple devices in concert. Each link of this chain is carefully designed to ensure its reliability, and each link also enhances other links in the chain. This can seem complex, but when you break it down into its component parts, it’s a lot easier to understand.

In most cases, you don’t need to know how all these elements work together, but it can be good to be aware of how Apple ensures the security of your devices, your accounts, and even your payment methods.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 110: Black Friday Safe Shopping Advice

It’s Black Friday again, either the day we release this episode if you’re in Europe, or next week, if you’re in the US. It’s the day when you can get some good deals on things you need, discounts on things you don’t need, and, if you’re not careful, you could get scammed. We discuss some best practices for buying new and used on Black Friday, and warn you about buying a used iPhone.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple iOS 14: Features, Changes, Testing After iOS 13 Bugs – Bloomberg

“Apple Inc. is overhauling how it tests software after a swarm of bugs marred the latest iPhone and iPad operating systems, according to people familiar with the shift.

[…]

When the company’s iOS 13 was released alongside the iPhone 11 in September, iPhone owners and app developers were confronted with a litany of software glitches. Apps crashed or launched slowly. Cellular signal was inconsistent. There were user interface errors in apps like Messages, system-wide search issues and problems loading emails. Some new features, such as sharing file folders over iCloud and streaming music to multiple sets of AirPods, were either delayed or are still missing. This amounted to one of the most troubled and unpolished operating system updates in Apple’s history.”

Yep. I still have problems with Mail, on my iOS devices and my Macs, along with many other issues. And, with Apple’s support being so unreliable, I still can’t use CarPlay with my iPhone.

Source: Apple iOS 14: Features, Changes, Testing After iOS 13 Bugs – Bloomberg

Apple Devices that Aren’t Available in “Pro” Versions

Remember when every Apple device had an “i” in front of its name? Many still exist: the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, for example.

Now, Pro is the new i.

Pro

There are:

  • iPhone Pro
  • iPad Pro
  • MacBook Pro
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro
  • AirPods Pro

I would argue that in a couple of those areas, there really is a difference: the iMac Pro and the Mac Pro. But the MacBook Pro isn’t really that “pro,” and the AirPods, well, that’s just weird marketing.

So why don’t we have an Apple TV Pro? Or a Mac mini Pro? How about an Apple Watch Pro? (I know, they have the Apple Watch Edition, which, instead of meaning “better” means “expensive.” I don’t know much about the vocabulary of the fashion world, but I find the use of the word “edition” to be a bit odd.)

I doubt we’ll ever see an iPod touch Pro, but I did speculate about an iPod Pro some years ago.

The problem is that Apple has diluted the meaning of the word “pro” to simply mean a device with higher specs. And they’ve proed themselves into a corner: after the pro modifier gets tired, where can they go next?

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 109: Vice President of Integrity

We discuss Apple’s new 16″ MacBook Pro with a redesigned keyboard; two new entrants in the video streaming market, Apple TV+ and Disney+; a bug in Facebook’s app; Google’s Pixel 4’s face unlock; and more.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Some Thoughts on Apple TV+

I find it interesting to see how many websites that cover Apple’s products – computers, phones, etc. – now also present TV series criticism. Don’t get me wrong; I have many colleagues who skillfully review books, movies, and TV series in addition to writing about technology. But the fact that Apple has now launched its streaming service means that many websites will spend a lot of time writing about these new series; at least when there’s no other news to cover.

I’m not going to do that. While I do review culture on this site – books, music, theater, etc. – I’m not going to write about Apple’s TV series just because they are coming from Apple. I will, however, give some first impressions of Apple TV+ as a service.

Of the half dozen series available at launch, there are only two that interest me: The Morning Show and For All Mankind, both of which are available with three episodes at launch. The former is a mish-mash of of Aaron Sorkinisms and A Star is Born, and I find it interesting to see a mixture of rave reviews and take-downs (five stars from The Guardian; two stars from the BBC), which is generally quite rare with a TV series. It makes one wonder if the journalists writing about these series have some sort of agenda that goes beyond television. For example, the BBC’s Will Gompertz takes nearly 300 words of his 1,500-word review to discuss Apple and its failures in his review of the series, and says things such as:

The opening episode is as bad as anything I’ve seen since we entered this golden age of telly, which, arguably, started in 1994 with Friends (still the most popular show on Netflix).

The other series that I’ve watched is For All Mankind, an interesting alternate history about the space program. In both cases, I won’t give my opinion, because better critics than I will be writing about these series, but it’s the latter that I will follow as new episodes become available.

However, I would like to opine a bit on the Apple TV+ service itself. With a free one-year subscription, because of my recent purchase of a new iPhone, I’m willing to check out some of these offerings, but is this service worth $5 a month to anyone? With no back catalog, and only a limited number of offerings – and, so far, only TV series; no movies – it seems absurd to pay that price. Yes, I know, it’s the same as a cup of coffee, yadda yadda, but with the increased subscription fatigue, and too much to watch already (and with my partner and I both being people who greatly prefer books to TV and movies), there’s little incentive to want to pay for such an offer. Even by the end of the year, how many series can there be, and how much can one expect to see on Apple TV+? Unless Apple licenses some big swathe of back catalog content, Apple TV+ will never rival Netflix, Hulu, or even Amazon (whose Prime Video is available as a part of their broader Prime subscription, which I pay for anyway to get next-day delivery to my rural home). Apple TV+ will not be a destination if you are just looking for something to watch; it will only be there if you want to try out a specific new series or are already following one or more series.

Apple could be playing the long game, investing in prestigious actors and directors to create content that they might be able to monetize later, through rentals and sales in the iTunes Store, or even DVD/Blu-Ray releases. But at $15 million an episode for The Morning Show – with two seasons planned – they’ve put $300 million into a vanity project. All told, it seems that Apple has earmarked $6 billion for content for this service, though it’s not clear how many years this budget will cover, so the company is clearly betting big on this content.

Like any streaming service that produces original content, there will be a few series that stand out, a lot of duds, and some that float a bit above the tide of mediocrity. Perhaps Apple has attracted enough creators to do better than average; or perhaps many of the creators will just be blinded by bigger budgets and end up making a mess of their series. It’s a crap shoot in this business.

Apple is clearly hoping to expand further into content creation as part of their push to increase the company’s services revenue, which was $12.5 billion in the company’s latest reported quarter. Apple is remaking itself, to not depend so much on one or two products, and services are now 20% of the company’s income.

But the risk is that in throwing money at TV series – and potentially movies as well – that their content is no better than that of any other service, without any clear differentiation between Apple TV+ and any premium cable channel. Will they succeed? Who knows; I certainly don’t. And don’t listen to anyone who thinks they can predict how all this is going to turn out.

Use Timed Lyrics in the iOS Music App to Sing Along to Your Favorite Songs

I’ve always liked having lyrics available when I listen to music. I don’t look at them often, but there are times when I want to know exactly what the words of a song are. Sometimes when I’m listening to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row, and want to be precise. (I still haven’t memorized all the lyrics; but it’s more than ten minutes long.)

A nifty new feature in the iOS Music app is Timed Lyrics. When a song offers this, you see the lyrics, each line highlighted as it is sung.

You’ll probably see this in the Music app the first time you play a song that offers the feature, if you have your iOS device’s screen on with the Music app up front.

Timed lyrics1

Tap the Lyrics button at the bottom of the Music window and enjoy.

Timed lyrics2