Hands-on: Here’s how Background Sounds work in iOS 15

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9to5Mac 05 July, 2021 - 02:14pm 20 views

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How, why, and if to install the new beta on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Macworld 05 July, 2021 - 09:52pm

At the moment, Apple is offering two versions of each OS, the latest version of the current OS and a preview of the next one:

You can only have one profile installed on your phone at a time, so you’ll need to decide which version you want. Once iOS 15 is released, there will only be iOS 15 betas until the iOS 16 beta launches at WWDC 2022.

Whenever you download beta software, whether it’s an app or an OS, there’s an inherent risk. After all, it’s beta for a reason—it’s not finished yet. Apple offers beta versions of software for the explicit purpose of finding bugs and reporting them, so you’re essentially volunteering to work for Apple for free. 

But the risk is relatively low. By the time betas reach the public, they’re usually pretty stable. However, if you rely on your iPhone for work or other important business, you might not want to install it on your main device. Certain apps might not work before they’re updated, some important features (like phone calls or networks) could periodically crash, and most importantly, battery life could suffer.

Many of the betas that Apple releases are relatively minor, with bug fixes, performance improvements, and small tweaks and features. But at least once in each update cycle, Apple releases a feature-packed update that brings several enhancements that we didn’t get in the fall. For example, the iOS 14.5 update that landed in April delivered Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch, App Tracking Transparency, and new emoji, along with several important updates to the iPad.

There are a lot of new features in the iOS 15 public beta, but more betas are largely about fixing bugs and enhaning performance.

If you’ve decided to accept all of the warnings above, finding the betas is easy. Just head over to Apple’s Beta Software Program site and sign in using the right device:

You’ll need to sign in using the same Apple ID that you use on the device on which you’re going to be installing the beta. After you sign in, choose the OS you want and tap/click the Enroll Your Devices tab. Then choose the OS that you want and follow the instructions to download the profile or, in the case of macOS, the access utility.

You’ll need to go through the process of uploading the profile onto your device, downloading the beta, and installing it, which will require several restarts and a chunk of time. So make sure you have a half-hour or so because you don’t want to rush it.

When testing new software, Apple generally pushes out updates every two weeks. They will arrive on your device just like the regular updates do, in the Software Update tab in the Settings app or System Preferences on your Mac.

Before Apple pushes out the final version of an OS update after a period of beta testing, the final version will first land on beta devices. Then you can either decide to leave the beta program or remain part of it to get the next beta as soon as it arrives.

If you don’t want to get beta updates anymore, you can opt-out of the program. Unless you erase and restore your device, the beta will remain until a new commercial version of the current OS arrives. In the case of watchOS and tvOS, you can’t immediately return to the current OS.

iOS/iPad OS: To stop receiving beta updates and return to the current version of the OS, you’ll need to delete the beta profile and wait for the next software update. Go to Settings > General, tap Profiles & Device Management, then the iOS Beta Software Profile. Tap Remove Profile, then restart your device. 

macOS: To stop receiving macOS updates, you’ll need to unenroll your Mac. Go to System Preferences > Software Update, then tap Details under the message that says, “This Mac is enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program.” Confirm the change, choose Restore Defaults.

watchOS: To stop receiving the watchOS betas, go to the Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, then go to General > Profiles and tap the watchOS 8 Beta Software Profile that appears. Then tap Remove Profile

tvOS: Go to Settings and click System > Software Update and then turn off Get Public Beta Updates.

Researcher finds certain network names can disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

The Verge 05 July, 2021 - 09:52pm

It looks like Wi-Fi networks with percent symbols in their names may cause a bug

A few weeks ago, Schou and his not-for-profit group, Secret Club, which reverse-engineers software for research purposes, found that if an iPhone connected to a network with the SSiD name %p%s%s%s%s%n it would cause a bug in iOS’ networking stack that would disable its Wi-Fi, and system networking features like AirDrop would become unusable.

9to5 Mac offered a possible explanation for the weird bug:

the ‘%[character]’ syntax is commonly used in programming languages to format variables into an output string. In C, the ‘%n’ specifier means to save the number of characters written into the format string out to a variable passed to the string format function. The Wi-Fi subsystem probably passes the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) unsanitized to some internal library that is performing string formatting, which in turn causes an arbitrary memory write and buffer overflow. This will lead to memory corruption and the iOS watchdog will kill the process, hence effectively disabling Wi-Fi for the user.

We’ve reached out to Apple to see if it’s working on a fix, and will update if we hear back from them. But as 9to5 Mac notes, the bug can likely be avoided by not connecting to Wi-Fi networks with percent symbols in their names.

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This SSID name can disable an iPhone's Wi-Fi

TechSpot 05 July, 2021 - 09:52pm

A couple of weeks ago, Secret Club founder Carl Schou revealed that if an iPhone connected to a network with the SSID name "%p%s%s%s%s%n", it would result in a bug within iOS' networking stack disabling the phone's Wi-Fi and networking features. The effect was initially feared to be permanent, but it can be fixed by resetting the iPhone's network settings.

Now, Schou has found a similar problem that appears even worse than the previous discovery. He writes that just coming into range of public Wi-Fi networks named "%secretclub%power" can result in the same issues as before, and the problems may persist even after the network settings have been reset.

Seriously, I still don’t have WiFi pic.twitter.com/AaF9IQBvCp

The only solution might be a hard factory reset, though some users say (via PCMag) restoring a device using iTunes could work. One Twitter user writes that manually removing the Wi-Fi network names from "com.apple. Wi-Fi.known-networks.plist" before a device is restored can also fix the problem.

Why do these names bork an iPhone's Wi-Fi? According to 9To5Mac:

The '%[character]' syntax is commonly used in programming languages to format variables into an output string. In C, the '%n' specifier means to save the number of characters written into the format string out to a variable passed to the string format function. The Wi-Fi subsystem probably passes the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) unsanitized to some internal library that is performing string formatting, which in turn causes an arbitrary memory write and buffer overflow. This will lead to memory corruption and the iOS watchdog will kill the process, hence effectively disabling Wi-Fi for the user.

Expect more damaging SSID names with the '%s', '%p' and '%n' character sequences to be discovered before Apple rolls out a fix.

Image credit: Camilo Concha

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A weird bug can mess up your iPhone's WiFi, but there's a fix

Mashable 05 July, 2021 - 09:52pm

The weird thing about this bug is that it's been discovered and publicly shared a few weeks ago, and there's still no word about a fix coming.

Schou originally tweeted about the issue on June 19. If an iOS device connects to a Wi-Fi network called "%p%s%s%s%s%n", its Wi-Fi will get disabled. Judging by comments from others, what happens from there can be quite different, depending on unknown factors: Some people have been able to enable the Wi-Fi on their devices simply by resetting network settings. For others — Schou included — this didn't work, and neither did restarting the iPhone.

Several outlets, including 9to5Mac, have picked up the news back then. It appears that the bug has to do with the syntax of some programming languages, where "%(character)" is a string format specifier. It's a fairly common type of bug, where a character string that's used in programming mistakenly ends up somewhere where it can cause trouble, causing an app to crash.

As others experimented with the bug, it turned out that you can use other network names to produce the same effect; Schou proposed "%secretclub%power", and Security researcher Alex Skalozub, who spoke with The Register, said a name like "%Free %Coffee at %Starbucks" would also work.

This makes the issue a bit more serious, as it's fairly easy to concoct a Wi-Fi network name that sounds like something you'd want to connect to. Though it doesn't appear the bug can be used to steal your data or anything nefarious like that, a prankster could set up a public Wi-Fi network that would mess up the iPhones of everyone that connected to it — and with the right name, it could take in a lot of people.

Bringing this story back into attention was Schou's tweet on Sunday that he still hasn't been able to fix his Wi-Fi. Ultimately, he did it by manually editing an iPhone backup, and removing the offending Wi-Fi network names from the "known networks" .plist — something a typical iPhone user certainly isn't eager to do. Another user suggests removing the offending Wi-Fi network name from iCloud Keychain on a Mac.

While it's comforting to know that a fix for this bug exists, it'd be nice if Apple fixed it on their end. Schou says he contacted Apple about the issue but hasn't heard back. We've done the same and will update this article when we hear from Apple.

Apple Might Incorporate Touch ID in Power Button on Future iPhone Models

Wccftech 05 July, 2021 - 09:52pm

Apple's new iPad Air 4 features a design similar to the new 'Pro' models. However, instead of Face ID, the iPad features Touch ID embedded in the Power button. While it is a pretty neat spot since the finger first goes naturally to the power button, it seems Apple might adopt the same approach for its future iPhone models. A new Apple patent shows Touch ID in the iPhone's Power button.

The original patent was granted to Apple two years before the iPad Air 4 was launched last year. The patent was then updated to show the lock screen image that resembles that of the iPhone. The Apple patent shows three stages of the Lock Screen authentication. The first stage shows when the iPhone is waiting to be unlocked; the next stage shows when the authentication occurs and the last stage shows when the authentication process is complete.

This is not the first time that we are hearing details on the iPhone gaining Touch ID in the future. We have previously heard that the iPhone 13 will feature Touch ID under the display. The Apple patent describes the technology;

“Wherein the electronic device includes a button and the embedded fingerprint sensor is embedded in the button; whereinthe button is a power button.”

The patent was spotted by PatentlyApple which shows the iPhone gaining Touch ID in the Home button. Take note that it is up to Apple to implement the change when it sees fit. It is also possible that Apple will not house Touch ID in the iPhone's Power button. Henceforth, take the news with a pinch of salt.

It was rumored back in 2020 that the 2021 iPhone SE could feature Touch ID in the Power button. However, the smartphone did not see a launch this year due to the ongoing health crises. The potential launch was then moved to 2022.

What are your views on the latest Apple patent on Touch ID? Share your views with us in the comments.

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How to record the screen on your iPod, iPhone, or iPad

Mashable 05 July, 2021 - 11:00am

Whether you're recording your iDevice's screen for work, fun, or to demonstrate how to do something to a technically challenged friend or family member, here's the how to on recording your screen for iOS 14, as well as for iOS 13 and earlier.

As with most iOS adventures, your journey starts in your Settings app. Head there and scroll down to see "Control Center." Tap this to open the sub-menu.

In the next screen, tap on "Customize Controls."

The next screen will show you two lists. The first section includes the tools and shortcuts that are currently included in your Control Center set-up; the second list is made up of tools and shortcuts you have the option to add.

If "Screen Recording" is not currently in your "Include" list, scroll down to find it in the second list and tap on the green plus sign icon to the left of it.

You have now added the Screen Recording tool to your iDevice's Control Center.

To set up Screen Recording on your device running iOS 14 or later, go to your Settings app and tap on the Control Center section. Then tap on "More Controls." Tap the plus icon add button next to Screen Recording.

Now that you've ensured the Screen Recording functionality has been added to your iDevice's Control Center, you are good to go with capturing all the action on your screen.

Open your device's Control Center (which you access by swiping down on the right-hand side of your screen for iOS 14 users or swiping up depending on what iOS you're running). Tap and hold the round record button.

This brings up a Screen Recording mini menu that gives you some extra options, including the ability to broadcast your Screen Recording to others.

By default your microphone will be set to off, but if you want the microphone to record audio as you're recording the screen, tap the screen to turn the microphone on. Do be aware that some apps may not allow you to record audio.

Once you hit the "Start Recording" option, everything that happens on your screen will be recorded. This includes notifications, so you may want to consider putting your device into airplane mode if you don't want anything to pop up during your recording session.

iPhone warning: This network name can disable Wi-Fi on your phone

Tom's Guide 05 July, 2021 - 09:37am

Zero-day bug breaks iPhone’s ability to use Wi-Fi

But now Schou has discovered a related zero day bug that may both be easier to fall victim to, and harder to fix if you do. 

“You can permanently disable any iOS device's WiFI by hosting a public WiFi named %secretclub%power,” Schou tweeted. “Resetting network settings is not guaranteed to restore functionality.”

Seriously, I still don’t have WiFi pic.twitter.com/AaF9IQBvCpJuly 4, 2021

It’s not clear if the bug requires you to connect to said mischievous network, or simply for the iPhone to scan it. If it’s the latter, that means that anybody could set up a hotspot with the iPhone-breaking name in a busy place, and enjoy the carnage.

Schou reached out to Apple’s device security team to alert them of the bug, and you would imagine a fix will be issued pretty urgently — hopefully before the loophole is exploited maliciously.

There is some good news, however. It’s possible that this is not quite as bad as it seems, and could actually be the culmination of two bugs combining. Schou retweeted a thread by @wr3nchsr, which suggested that the hard reset/backup edit option may only be required if the phone comes into contact with two malicious SSIDs. 

I didn’t trace that back in the binaries but for some reason having more than one malicious SSID might be causing the reset to fail? As a result whenever wifid attempts to start, it crashes due to a null pointer dereference. (5/n)July 4, 2021

If that’s the case, then trolls would have a far harder time using this exploit maliciously, as it’s the kind of thing that you’re only likely to run into if you’re a security researcher actively looking for trouble. All the same, we would expect Apple to fix this pretty quickly, as the previous bug doesn’t seem to impact Android devices at all. 

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iPhone screenshots: The button combo that works on iPhone 12, iPhone 11 and beyond

CNET 05 July, 2021 - 07:15am

Taking a screenshot on your iPhone, whether it's an iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 11 or iPhone 12, is straightforward but varies depending on which iPhone model you have. Screenshots are a convenient way to show off a high score in your favorite game, save text on a webpage for easy access later on, or help a friend troubleshoot an issue. And when I say screenshots are easy, I mean it. Especially on an iPhone. You quickly press a couple of buttons on your phone, the screen flashes and you're done. That's it.

The way you capture a screenshot changes based on whether you have an iPhone ($600 at Best Buy) with Face ID or one with Apple's infamous home button. Either way, though, it's a simple process you'll master after your first try. I promise. 

Apple's iconic home button is the key to taking a screenshot. 

If you have the new iPhone SE, or any iPhone with a home button for that matter, press the home button and the sleep/wake button at the same time. 

You don't need to hold the buttons in for an extended amount of time. In fact, if you do that, nothing will happen. It's a quick press. You'll hear a camera shutter sound from your phone and a thumbnail preview of the screenshot will gently glide to the bottom corner of your screen. 

From there, you can either keep taking screenshots (don't worry, the thumbnail won't show up), or tap on the image to edit and share it. 

Have an iPhone without a home button? No sweat. 

If you have an iPhone X-style device -- you know, with a notch at the top of the screen like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 -- then you'll need to do things a little differently since there is no home button. 

Press the volume-up button on the left side of the phone and the sleep/wake button on the right side of the phone, at the same time. Again, you don't have to hold them in at all. It's a very brief press and then release.

Just get your timing right, and you'll see your screen flash followed by a small preview image. If you do press the buttons for too long, your iPhone will give you the option to turn your phone off. If you keep holding, you'll activate the Emergency SOS feature that automatically calls for help. You don't want to do that! So, just a quick press, OK? 

As with iPhones with a home button, you can tap on the preview image of your screenshot to edit and share it. You can also keep taking screenshots even with the preview image in the corner of the screen. iOS doesn't include that in any additional screenshots. 

If taking a video is more useful to you than a screenshot, that's possible too, and we walk you through recording your screen. Now that you know how to take screenshots, make sure you learn all of the iPhone's hidden features in iOS 14 and the best features of iOS 14. If you like to know what's coming, here's a list of new features in iOS 15

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