The Long-Standing-Tension Edition Thursday, July 7, 2022

Apple Adds Lockdown Mode To Protect Activists And Government Targets, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Apple has announced that a new Lockdown Mode will be coming to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS later this year to deflect attempts by government-level spyware to infiltrate the devices of targeted activists, protestors, journalists, and politicians. It’s the latest measure taken by Apple in its significant efforts to protect its users’ devices from being compromised and data taken without their knowledge or consent.

Lockdown Mode targets key points of weakness on always-connected devices that can connect to arbitrary servers around the world and be reached through Apple services, like Messages and FaceTime.

Apple Unveils New Security Feature To Block Government Spyware, by Joseph Menn, Washington Post

The action follows waves of attacks documented by The Washington Post and others showing that iPhones were being hacked by Pegasus spyware distributed by the Israeli company NSO Group and then used to capture contact information and live audio. But while Pegasus prompted Apple to act, it is not the only spyware that would be hobbled by the new feature.


Apple’s lockdown tactic resolves a long-standing tension in its design approach between security concerns and the pursuit of easy-to-use, highly functional capabilities. The extra usability made the phones more vulnerable to attack through iMessage, FaceTime and other software. Lockdown Mode gives users the choice of whether to maintain those features. When activated, it limits what the phone can do.

Why Lockdown Mode From Apple Is One Of The Coolest Security Ideas Ever, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

But the move is big because of its simplicity and concreteness. No security snake oil here. If you want better security, learn to do without the services that pose the biggest threat. John Scott-Railton, a Citizen Lab researcher who knows a thing or two about counseling victims of NSO spyware, said Lockdown mode provides one of the first effective courses for vulnerable individuals to follow short of turning off their devices altogether.


5 Essential Apps For Brewing Your Own Beer, by Justin Pot, Popular Science

These tools will also guide you through all of the timing on brew day, making them especially helpful if you’re a beginner.

‘2023 Apple History Calendar’ Celebrates Software Milestones From Over The Years, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The dates on the 2023 Apple History Calendar range from things like the releases of macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and more, to memorable dates for iLife and iWork, and even Cyberdog and Rhapsody.


Apple Gives Extra Features To Shortcuts Users — What About Everyone Else?, by Matthew Cassinelli, iMore

As Apple continues to develop the Shortcuts app experience across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even Apple Watch, there are even more features and functionality that's possible on Apple's platforms, but only through the Shortcuts app.

As features like custom speaker groups become possible to create and break apart with Shortcuts, iOS often lacks a built-in, Apple-like way to activate the same functionality without using Shortcuts.

Apple Moves Further Into Finance With 'Virtual Cards' In iOS 16, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The latest developer beta of iOS 16 includes references to an unannounced support for virtual cards, a security feature used by banks to protect users' real credit card details.


Apple Card already hides a user's genuine number, but the beta code discovered in iOS 16 suggests an expansion of this idea. It implies that Safari will be able to provide a virtual card for sites that do not accept the regular Apple Card or Apple Pay.

The Latin Of Software Code Is Thriving, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

The resilience of decades-old computing technologies and the people who specialize in them shows that new technologies are often built on lots of old tech.

I Almost Downloaded A Pebble-identifying App – But Some Stones Should Be Left Unturned, by Adrian Chiles, The Guardian

Knowledge is wonderful, but wonderment is better. How I miss wonderment. How I miss those pre-app days; the joy of idle, unanswerable, vaguely asked questions such as: ‘Which bird is singing that beautiful song?’

Bottom of the Page

If Apple is forced to offer third-party app stores or sideloading or whatever other nonsenses that regulators throw at the company, will there be a lockdown-mode-like thing that I can enable to avoid them?


Thanks for reading.