The Exploited-in-the-Wild Edition Tuesday, February 14, 2023

iOS 16.3.1, iPadOS 16.3.1, macOS 13.2.1 Ventura, watchOS 9.3.1, tvOS 16.3.2, And HomePod Software 16.3.2 Fix Bugs And Security Vulnerabilities , by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Apple has once again pushed out updates to its entire family of operating systems, fixing bugs and addressing security vulnerabilities. Because one of these vulnerabilities—a bug in WebKit that could allow maliciously crafted Web content to execute code—is being actively exploited in the wild, we recommend installing all these updates immediately.

Apple Fixes Annoying HomePod Bug That Caused HomeKit Requests To Time Out And Fail The First Time You Ask, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The issue was that Siri on HomePod would fail to complete a smart home request the first time you asked. So for example, if you asked your new HomePod (second-generation) to turn on a Philips Huge lightbulb accessory, the first time you asked it would (probably) fail.

Apple’s Once Again Trying To Optimize The iPhone’s Crash Detection Feature, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple has released iOS 16.3.1, which includes “optimizations” for the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro’s Crash Detection feature that’s been criticized by some search and rescue personnel for setting off false alarms during winter activities like skiing and snowboarding.

If Google Photos Is Broken For You On iOS, You’re Not Alone, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Google Photos appears to be broken for many users following Apple’s latest iOS 16.3.1 update. Several Verge staff members, as well as people on Twitter, report that the app crashes on launch, making it impossible to access or manage your Google photo library.

Landmark Pieces

The Most Beautiful Building In The World, by Michael Steeber, Tabletops

Historic restorations aside, Apple has now constructed around two dozen stores that I think most people would consider landmark pieces of architecture. Beyond their value as retail spaces and community hubs, landmark stores significantly contribute to the architectural fabric of the neighborhoods they’re located in. Put simply: A city is objectively improved by the mere existence of the building, irrespective of its use or ownership.

Building these stores was a long-term strategy akin to the construction of Apple Park. Apple isn’t going to continuously hop up and down Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue or Singapore’s Marina Bay as tenant leases expire. But what if they needed to leave?

Our Style and Taste

How Apple Treated Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Like Its Most Popular New Product, by Jeff Beer, Fast Company

Over the past few weeks, Apple has rolled out content, marketing, and features tied to Rihanna’s Super Bowl star turn: a trio of stylish spots, all based on Rihanna songs. Shazam downloads of Rihanna-themed wallpaper and watch screens. (Did you remember that Apple owns Shazam?) Apple Music radio has produced new shows such as Halftime Hype Radio, a 10-part series reflecting on some of the most notable Super Bowl halftime performances of all time, and Rihanna Revisited Radio, an eight-episode roundtable exploring the star’s cultural impact. Apple Music also worked with Rihanna over the past year to remix and remaster her entire catalog in order to be available in 360-degree spatial audio.

“This felt like something we were already quite good at—we operate radio studios 24/7 producing great radio content—and Tor and his team do great marketing,” says Schusser. “If you think about what they do for Apple keynotes, we thought we could take something that’s already very good, and make it better, longer, more global, upgraded with technology and our style and taste. Just compare this year’s press conference to last year’s, and you can see the difference.”


HomePod (Second Generation) Review: More Of The Same, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

My point is that the new HomePod doesn’t appear to address any of the underlying stability issues with the original model, and both Siri and AirPlay are frustratingly inconsistent. At $299, this is a premium audio product that can live up to that price when it’s working flawlessly—but the bugs and errors and quirks are so great that I can’t in good conscience recommend them to anyone who isn’t well-versed in troubleshooting misbehaving Apple technology.

People Keep Asking Why You're Silencing Their Notifications, Even When A Focus Mode Isn't On, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

It turns out this is a thing more people are seeing. iPhone users report experiencing this issue on various models of iPhones with both iOS 15 and iOS 16. If you’re seeing this too, the good news is you’re not alone. That probably means Apple will work to resolve it sooner than later (although we first wrote about this last fall and there’s still no fix).

The bad news is there’s no real workaround for now. If you’re not in a Focus mode, there’s nothing to turn off. Just keep toggling those Focus modes.


Apple Hits Stumbling Blocks In Move To Boost Manufacturing In India, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

In China, suppliers and government officials took a “whatever it takes” approach to win iPhone orders. Former Apple employees describe instances in which they would estimate a certain task might take several weeks, only to show up the next morning to find it already completed at inexplicable speed.

Operations in India are not running at that sort of pace, said a former Apple engineer briefed on the matter: “There just isn’t a sense of urgency.”


Provincial governments “are bending over backwards to bring industry in, and they will do what China has done”, he said. “But, these are baby steps. Apple is now getting its feet on the ground, learning what does and doesn’t work . . . Give it three years and you’ll see it scaling up.”

The Changing Online Language Of Hearts, by Sheera Frenkel, New York Times

Over the past decade, as social media has become increasingly visual with photos and videos, teenagers have used their hands and bodies to fashion heart symbols to post on Instagram and TikTok. The ways they bend their wrists, fingers and joints have become increasingly complex as they seek out unique ways to say “I love you.”

“It’s hard to say ‘I love you’ without it feeling cringe,” said Quinn Sullivan, 21, a college student and TikTok creator from College Station, Texas. “We’re always looking for a new way.”

Bottom of the Page

I don't use Google Photos… so looks like it may be safe for me to update all my devices?

As usual, even though I have no problems updating my iPhone and iPad (almost) immediately, I will continue to wait until the weekend to update my Mac. Just in case the update failed, and I need time to get it back to working order.

It sure seems like I trust Apple's work on iOS, but I rely more on having my Mac up and running.

In the meantime, I will restrain from visiting unknown websites on my Mac. :-)


Thanks for reading.