The Penetrating-Walls Edition Saturday, May 7, 2022

Apple iPhone Users Got Alerts About Strangers’ AirTags. The Trackers Were Never Found., by Dalvin Brown, Wall Street Journal

In recent weeks, some iPhone users have begun receiving alerts, often in the middle of the night, for AirTags that might not be in their path at all. The pop-up alerts have sparked confusion and concern, and have led recipients on wild goose chases.

The maps on phantom AirTag alerts share a similar pattern: straight red lines radiating out from the user’s location. If an AirTag were in motion (perhaps flying?) along these paths, it would be crossing in the middle of city streets, passing through construction zones, even penetrating walls.

When the maps in these particular notifications are viewed side by side—or compared with clearer examples of AirTag stalking—they appear to be the result of a bug. But it can be alarming for an individual to receive this unexplained alert.

How Apple Works Around Battery Chemistry Limits With Fast Charge And Optimized Battery Charging, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Users have two conflicting desires with regard to batteries, whether or not they realize it. In the short term, they want the device always charged and ready to use—little is more frustrating than running out of power earlier than you’d expect in a day. Long-term, they want the battery to maintain its capacity for as long as possible—replacing a battery to bring a device back to decent daily battery life is expensive and annoying.

In an effort to meet both of these conflicting desires, Apple has developed two seemingly contradictory technologies: fast charge, which does what it says, and Optimized Battery Charging, which actually makes the battery charge more slowly.

Apple's Merger Of 'iCloud Documents And Data' Into iCloud Drive Now Complete, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

The vast majority of ‌iCloud‌ users already have ‌iCloud Drive‌ enabled, so they won't see any changes. But for users who had ‌iCloud‌ accounts prior to the introduction of ‌iCloud Drive‌ in 2014 and never enabled it, perhaps to maintain compatibility with pre-iOS 8 and pre-OS X Yosemite devices that couldn't support ‌iCloud Drive‌, they will now need to turn it on in order to regain access to their files.


Beats Unveils New Powerbeats Pro In Collaboration With London Designer | AppleInsider, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The special edition Bluetooth headphones feature a special yellow and dark purple pattern inspired by Farzaneh's designs. Farzaneh is an English-Iranian designer based in the U.K.

Some Apple TV Users Complain Of Dolby Atmos Audio Issues, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

According to users, when listening to Dolby Atmos content, audio will sometimes either completely cut out and go silent, goes out of sync with the videos on the screen, or is choppy and stutters.


iOS 15.5 To Reintroduce Apple Music API Used By Third-Party Apps To Adjust Playback Speed, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

iOS 15.5 will include the reintroduction of a popular Apple Music API used by third-party music players that allowed users to change the playback speeds of songs within the app, an Apple software engineer has announced.


Apple Mail Now Blocks Email Tracking. Here’s What It Means For You, by Justin Pot, Wired

Nothing makes you more paranoid about privacy than working in a marketing department. Trust me on this. For example, did you know that marketers track every time you open an email newsletter—and where you were when you did it?

Apple caused a small panic among marketers in September 2021 by effectively making this tracking impossible in the default Mail app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I, personally, switched to Apple Mail as soon as the feature was announced. You might feel the same way, but marketers feel as though they've lost a useful tool.

Behind The Scenes At Apple Fitness +, by Rich DeMuro, KTLA

Since I love ending each workout with a mindful cooldown, I was especially curious if the plants behind the fitness trainer were real. Turns out, they are, and in typical Apple fashion, they are all species that are indigenous to Southern California.

One secret: that’s not actual sunlight streaming in over the plants. It’s special lights that mimic the sun so classes can be recorded any time of the day. They also make the plants grow.

Bottom of the Page

Apple devices need to be smarter locally. After all, Apple is intentionally crippling their online services in order not to invade on our privacy, and that's good. But that also mean that on-device smartness need to be high enough to notice something is not going right with their online counterparts, and do their own counter-checking.


Thanks for reading.