Protect Your Kids on iOS Devices with Parental Controls

The Internet can be dangerous for children. You may not want your kids to be able to view every website or use any app. While it may not be easy to monitor their activity on a mobile device like an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, Apple includes some powerful tools in iOS to help you protect your kids.

Previously called “parental controls” or “restrictions,” these settings offer a number of ways to prevent your kids from accessing inappropriate content. Now located within the Screen Time settings (in iOS 12 or later), there are lots of options you can adjust. In this article, I’ll walk you through the Screen Time settings and help you make your children’s iOS devices safer.

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

Are iOS Apps Spying On Your Location?

The New York Times published an article this week about how apps are recording your location and selling the data to companies that “sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds seeking insights into consumer behavior.” This $21 billion market depends on the fact that most users allow apps to access their location, even if they don’t need to do this.

While this is more common on Android than on iOS, you may have apps on your iPhone or iPad that are accessing and selling your location data without you being aware. In this article, I’m going to show you how to adjust which apps can access your location.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 58: New Security Features in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

We take a close look at the great new security features in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. We also answer a few reader questions, about the Activity Monitor app, about when to upgrade hardware, and whether “free” media sites are safe.

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.

New Security and Privacy Features in iOS 12

iOS 12 has brought many new features to your iPhone and iPad as we discussed here. But beyond the more obvious changes – new notifications, Screen Time, Shortcuts and others – iOS 12 has delivered a bushel of new security features. Most of these features revolve around passwords and iCloud Keychain, but there are a few other features that make your devices more secure. Here’s an overview of what’s new in iOS 12 security.

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

Use iOS Shortcuts to Automate Tasks on Your iPhone or iPad

One of the new features of iOS 12 that hasn’t gotten much attention is shortcuts. Shortcuts are automation routines that you can run on your iPhone or iPad, making complex tasks as easy as tapping a button or giving a command to Siri. Shortcuts aren’t that simple to create, but you can find many pre-made shortcuts and use them as is or adapt them to your needs. Here’s a primer on using shortcuts for iOS.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 49: What iOS 12 Means for You

We take a look at some of the new features in iOS 12, released early this week. We also talk about some issues with Safari 12 and extensions, and follow up on a story we reported about malware in Mac App Store apps from Trend Micro.

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’s Measure App and Accuracy

One of the more interesting apps in iOS 12, which Apple released this week, is Measure. It uses augmented reality (AR) to calculate the length, width, and area of items. This is a complex process, which involves having the iPhone or iPad calculate the distance between its camera and the object you are measuring in order to determine the object’s dimensions.

The problem is that it is not very accurate.

I tried measure a number of objects, and two things were apparent. The first is that Measure is not very accurate, and the second is that the same object measured twice can return different dimensions.

Here are some examples:

Measure1

The inside of the frame measures 78 cm x 101cm; the Measure app is off by about 20%.

Measure2

The stool above measures about 38cm x 53cm. The Measure app isn’t that far off, and this would be an acceptable measurement if I were, say, sizing up furniture for my living room, where tolerances don’t need to be precise.

But what is worrisome is the fact that when I’ve measured the same items multiple times, the results differ. Here are two measurements of one of my shakuhachis.

Measure3

Measure4

Ignore Rosalind the Cat; she wanted to see what was going on, but I had completed the measurement before she started checking it out. I took both of these measurements from the same position, with the iPhone at the same height. The shakuhachi is 55cm long; while one might allow for a bit of tolerance because the measure points are not exactly at the ends of the instrument, they do both end up at about the same position on the instrument.

I thought I’d give it another chance today; it’s sunny, and yesterday was a bit overcast. This time it says 57cm.

Measure5

And here’s one last example; I got as close as I could, and it even says on the cover that it’s 21cm x 29.7cm…

IMG 8118

In a Twitter conversation yesterday, some people said they found it very accurate, others not at all (one showed a 38″ MacBook Pro they had measured). I don’t know if this app is better suited for certain types of measurements, such as full rooms and the height of walls, but my tests show that its results are essentially estimates.

The Measure app is a good party toy, but little more, in its current state.

Note that these measures were taken with an iPhone 8+; I’m not sure if it uses the dual cameras, but if so, the parallax of the dual cameras should make it more accurate than a single camera.

iOS 12 Is Out: Learn How to Work with it in Take Control of iOS 12

Tc ios12Although iOS 12 focuses largely on performance and usability improvements, it also contains dozens of useful new features. In Take Control of iOS 12, TidBITS Managing Editor Josh Centers takes you through all the new stuff–including some powerful but obscure capabilities you may never notice on your own. You’ll learn about Screen Time (to help you monitor and address screen addiction); updated notifications; improvements to Siri, Camera, Messages, and Photos; new password management tools; and a long list of other changes–as well as the forthcoming Shortcuts app, which provides new and improved automation features to iOS. Anyone with a compatible iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will benefit from Josh’s in-depth explanations.

But the book also goes far beyond the new features, providing an extensive guide to getting the most out of iOS 12. For example, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make sense of the Lock screen, Home screen, and Control Center–and customize them to meet your needs
  • Search with Spotlight
  • Switch between apps and use Handoff to transfer your work
  • Use Siri effectively, and even create your own custom Siri shortcuts
  • Become a whiz at using the various keyboards and editing controls built into iOS 12
  • Use Share Sheets (for more than just sharing)
  • Make the most of special iPad features like Instant Note, multitasking, and drag & drop
  • Navigate the App Store
  • Understand the ins and outs of Family Sharing
  • Manage your data–both locally on your device and in the cloud
  • Use Screen Time to make better choices about when and how you use your device
  • Take photos and videos, apply camera effects, and organize your media
  • Send and receive messages in any of numerous ways with the Messages app
  • Make calls and use FaceTime and Voicemail
  • Surf the web with Safari
  • Use Maps, Find My iPhone, and Find My Friends
  • Organize your Wallet and use Apple Pay
  • Install, delete, create, and use shortcuts in the Shortcuts app
  • Protect your privacy
  • Make the most of numerous iOS accessibility features
  • Improve your battery life

Version 1.0 of this book was written while iOS 12 was in beta testing, and the book will be updated soon to cover a few small changes between the beta versions and the public release and add extra details. Everyone who purchases version 1.0 of the book will get version 1.1 for free.

Get Take Control of iOS 12.

iOS Lock Screen: Guide to Keep Data off Your iPhone Lock Screen

We use our iOS devices to keep us up to date on important information. With notifications that can display on your iPhone lock screen, you can see who’s emailed you, important messages, and much more. But with the default iOS settings, sometimes private data that you don’t want others to see can display on your lock screen, and anyone who can see your iPhone or iPad can potentially access personal information on your iPhone, even if it’s locked.

This means if your iPhone is lost or stolen, whoever has your iOS device will not need your passcode to look at the information that displays on the iOS lock screen. Even someone who randomly walks by your phone when you’re not there could potentially see sensitive information displayed on it while it’s locked.

Fortunately, Apple’s iOS contains a number of privacy settings to control what data can display on your lock screen, but many people ignore these options. Want to keep your sensitive information private? In this guide, we’ll show you what you can control and how to change these settings to keep private data off your iPhone lock screen.

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

Playing iTunes Music through the iOS Remote App no Longer Updates Metadata

I have long used the iOS Remote app to play music on my iMac, streaming to one of my AirPlay-compatible devices. It’s convenient, and allows me to control the music and the volume with any iOS device.

But since the recent update to the Remote app, it no longer updates metadata in iTunes. Previously, it would update the play count and the last played date, useful notably because this would put music you played via that app in the Recently Played playlist. It’s a bit annoying; imagine if you play music on shuffle, and you want to go back and check out some of the songs you heard, because you don’t recall exactly what they are. Previously, the Recently Played playlist would show you this; now, there’s nothing.

However, what you can do is start playing the music in iTunes, then, later, if you wish, control if from the Remote app. You can skip tracks and change volume, but you can’t start playing something different; if you do, then the metadata won’t be updated.

I don’t know why Apple has made this change. It doesn’t make things better in any way, and only removes useful data from your iTunes library.