What exactly does coronavirus tracking in iOS 13.5 do? Clearing up the confusion

iOS 13.5 dropped Wednesday, introducing a slew of upgrades — including, most notably, the API for Apple’s coronavirus contact-tracing tool, developed in conjunction with Google.

But, despite what you might hear online, this is neither an “app” or an update that means downloaders are being tracked without their knowledge. Let’s correct a few popular misconceptions.

An app or an API?

The contact tracing system developed by Apple and Google works by using Bluetooth “chirps” to register physical interactions between smartphone users, regardless of whether they are using an Android or iOS device. If a person discovers that they have been infected with coronavirus, they can opt to share this information. The system then notifies other smartphone users who’ve come into close proximity with them. The hope is that this system could help slow the spread of the disease by warning people of potential infections.

The important thing to note is that this new iOS 13.5 feature is not an app. It is an API, meaning that it’s a set of tools that developers can use for building apps. These apps will be built by governments, either on a state or national level. Google and Apple’s approach simply provides the groundwork to power these apps should authorities wish to adopt them. Not every country will. The UK, for instance, is supposedly developing its own. Their disagreement with Apple concerns a decentralized vs. centralized approach to contact tracing. In the U.S., three states have already committed to using Apple and Google’s API: Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina.

That hasn’t stopped this from being reported as an Apple and Google app, though. The UK’s Guardian newspaper, for instance, today features a headline reading “Apple and Google: Companies release phone app to notify users of coronavirus exposure.” Seemingly having been clued in that this is inaccurate, the article now reads “Apple and Google release phone technology to notify users of coronavirus exposure” — although, at time of writing the home page reflected the old headline. Only clicking through to the article itself corrected the record.

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Bluetooth tracing is an anonymous way to assess exposure to COVID-19.
Photo: Apple/Google

No, iOS 13.5 is not tracking you

Apps that use the API developed by Google and Apple don’t — and can’t — track you. Instead they collect randomized tokens, exchanged via Bluetooth, that are not personally identifiable. The system can tell you if you encountered someone who tested positive. However, it does not track who or where that happened.

But there’s nonetheless plenty of concern about tracking. Late Wednesday, Juli Clover, editor at MacRumors tweeted out what appears to be a DM. It reads: “Hey, so I heard if you download the newest iOS you will be automatically tracked for [COVID-19]. I even googled it and I just want to know if it’s true. Says Google and Apple are working together for tracking the virus.”

(Perhaps needless to say, but the API developed by Apple and Google does not diagnose cases of COVID-19. While some researchers are developing tools which claim to spot symptoms based on coughs, that is not the case here.)

Fears about surveillance

A search of Twitter shows a number of other people freaking out over iOS 13.5. One Twitter user highlights the part of the release notes relating to contact tracing, and then writes: “What the actual hell?! I’m not a parcel to be tracked and traced.” Others raise similar concerns about Apple pushing users to download an iOS update that contains tracking tools.

 

Fears about surveillance are not to be dismissed. Plenty of very smart people have raised very valid concerns about how contact tracing could open the door to new types of surveillance.  However, when it comes to iOS 13.5, it should be stressed that tracking users is not something that happens just because you download an update.

The new API feature, which can be found by going to Settings > Privacy > Health > COVID-19 Exposure Logging, remains turned off until users install approved apps from public health authorities. As Apple and Google have stressed with their privacy focused approach, engagement in contact tracing is voluntary. Users are not being tracked without permission just because they have downloaded iOS 13.5.

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Tim Cook @tim_cook
 

Technology can help health officials rapidly tell someone they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Today the Exposure Notification API we created with @Google is available to help public health agencies make their COVID-19 apps effective while protecting user privacy.

2,190 people are talking about this

Representing contact tracing honestly

 

A lot of this confusion is understandable. A few months back, barely anyone was having to familiarize themselves with the different approaches to contact tracing or the the ethical dilemma posed by ventilators. The media isn’t infallible. The difference between an API and an app, for instance, isn’t immediately clear to a lot of people. But proper wording is crucial when it comes to a potential healthcare crisis.

In many cases, problems in technology emerge because companies are, either purposely or accidentally, vague about what they are doing. When Apple introduced a new battery throttling feature as part of iOS in 2017 it did so not as a sinister tactic to prompt upgrades, but rather to stop older lithium-ion batteries from unexpectedly shutting down. Unfortunately for Apple, it did this without properly making the public aware of what it was doing. It failed to articulate why this was necessary — and give users a way to stop it — and suffered a backlash as a result.

 

In this case, Apple and Google have been consistent with their messaging since the start. The problem frequently comes down to governments (particularly political point-scoring) and the media. But it shows why Apple and Google must be vigilant and continue to be as open and explanatory about the technology as they can.

It’s not yet clear whether contact tracing can and will work. But, in the interests of a well-informed public, voices with public platforms must make sure that they represent the tools available as best — and accurately — as they can.

Review: The 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 10th generation processor is the one to buy

The 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro with new tenth-generation Intel processors is a powerful machine for the pro on the go, and is an ideal mix of power and portability.

It’s not often that two products under the same umbrella vary so much that they need to be examined separately. But, the 13-inch MacBook Pro lineup for 2020 is that.

The differences, while profound, are not as pronounced as they have been previously. This year’s releases are closer in features than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys and the model with Touch Bar, but the gap is profound.

We’ve already examined the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with eighth-generation Intel processors, and found it lacking. Fortunately, the model with the 10th generation processors is an entirely different story.

Low-end versus high-end MacBook Pro

After that first examination, we’re now looking at the 10th generation 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, the higher of the two tiers. Where the lower tier has that eighth-generation processor and two Thunderbolt ports, the upper-tier has four Thunderbolt 3 ports in total, and better Intel Iris Plus graphics. Thanks to those better graphics, the upper-tier is capable of powering an external 6K display while the lower-tier is limited to only an external 5K display.

Aside from the aforementioned changes, the higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro with 10th-generation Intel processors uses much faster 3733MHz LPDDR4 memory, starts at 16GB, and can be updated to 32GB. Internal storage can also be maxed out at 4TB.

Changes are on the inside

Distinguishing the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch from the 2019 with the naked eye is difficult. It looks the same as the last generation, and the generation before that. While some may want to wait another year for the 14-inch MacBook Pro to arrive, some users need to upgrade now — and this upgrade is a good one.

It has a gorgeous P3 wide color gamut Retina display, four Thunderbolt 3 ports split between the two sides instead of two on the lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, a headphone jack, the Touch Bar, and the still-unchanged 720p FaceTime camera which we’d really like Apple to replace with something better.

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Closeup of the MacBook Pro logo below the gorgeous Retina display

Another holdover includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi (or, Wi-Fi 5) rather than Wi-Fi 6. For the average user, this isn’t a big deal today, but there are implications for the future. Apple was quick on Wi-Fi 6 adoption on mobile devices but the same can’t be said for the Mac line. A Mac should last six years or more and while Wi-Fi 6 isn’t widely adopted now, it will be in a couple years.

About that keyboard… again

In case you missed it, or have skipped all coverage of it, Apple has updated the keyboard design. After several false starts, Apple’s kicked its butterfly switch mechanisms to the curb in favor of Apple’s latest version of a scissor-switch design.

We have spoken at some length on the updated Magic Keyboard again, and again. It still has a full millimeter of key travel. It still feels more responsive to type on and not all that different from the 16-inch MacBook Pro which also has Apple’s Magic Keyboard embedded into its aluminum body.

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Magic Keyboard on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) has a scissor switch design, a physical escape key, and an inverted T design for the arrow keys

We truly do like the feel of the updated keyboard. While the extra key travel at times makes us feel like we are slightly slower than on the previous design that we’ve been hammering away on for nearly five years, it is an improvement. It isn’t enough to cause us to trip up while typing that often, and is enough to make the keys feel more responsive when depressed.

Aside from moving to the Magic Keyboard, other changes are also notable. Specifically, Apple has included a standalone physical escape key and also returned the inverted “T” design for the arrow keys. Depending on a user’s work, these may be more impactful than a shift from the previous-gen keyboard.

13-inch MacBook Pro with tenth generation Intel processor performance

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Geekbench scores for the 2019 and 2020 high-end MacBook Pro 13-inch

In terms of performance, our 13-inch MacBook Pro with the 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-1068NG7 garnered a 1311 and a 4862 in the Geekbench 5.1.1 single-and multi-core test. Graphics earned a 8408 in the Metal compute benchmark. The previous-gen, which relied on the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 of the eighth-generation chipset, scored a 7240 in the graphics benchmark.

The old 2.8GHz quad-core i7 which was the high-end processor configuration from the 2019 line only scored a 1076 and a 4038. That’s roughly a 25 percent gain in those single and multi-core tests.

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Cinebench R20 results for the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch high-end

Turning to Cinebench R20, we saw scores of 2071. Our entry-level model only scored a 1588 — another 25 percent gain here as well. While testing in Cinebench which does tax the processors, we did have the fans kick on partially through the test but according to Intel Power Gadget, it was easily able to maintain its advertised clock speed after dropping down from its turbo boosted speed.

Disk speeds were consistent, averaging just above 1250 megabytes per second for write speeds and 1600 megabytes per second for read speeds using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

For comparison, the 16-inch MacBook Pro at just about any capacity will peak at 3150 megabytes per second read speeds, and about 2900 megabytes per second write speeds. The 2020 MacBook Air delivers about 1250 megabytes per second read, and 1000 megabytes per second write.

Should you buy the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro with tenth generation Intel processors?

There is no doubt — you get more for your money with the 13-inch MacBook Pro with 10th generation Intel processors, and by a wide margin.

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The new 13-inch MacBook Pro

If you start with the lower-level 13-inch MacBook Pro and make some basic upgrades such as doubling the RAM to 16GB and the storage to 512GB it puts your total at $1,599. $200 shy of the high-end MacBook Pro that still has a faster processor.

Upgrade that processor too to the quad-core 1.7GHz i7 13-inch MacBook Pro and just like that you are at $1,899 — $100 more than the base high-end 13-inch Pro. Even though you are paying $100 more, you still have an eighth-generation Intel processor instead of a 10th-generation, two Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of four, slower DDR3 RAM, worse graphics, and have no support for external 6K displays.

Not to mention, the eighth-generation lacks higher-end options for RAM or storage.

It makes more sense to opt for the one of the higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro models if you’re looking for power and capability. If you don’t need that power, skip the 13-inch MacBook Pro line altogether and buy the MacBook Air. The latter is a bit lighter, thinner, and still wonderfully capable.

The upper-tiered 13-inch MacBook Pro is a solid buy in Apple’s portable Mac lineup. Apple has made some good changes, and even though a rumored 14-inch revamp is upcoming, if you need a powerful Mac laptop now, with more portability than the 16-inch MacBook Pro, this is a great option.

Pros

  • Sleek, aluminum body
  • Great Retina display
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Updated Magic Keyboard
  • Faster 10th-gen Intel chips
  • Faster LPDDR4 RM
  • 6K display support
  • Support for 32GB RAM
  • Upgradable to 4TB storage

Cons

  • No 14-inch redesign
  • No dedicated graphics cards
  • 720p FaceTime camera is still poor quality

Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/05/21/review-the-13-inch-macbook-pro-with-10th-generation-processors-is-the-one-to-buy 

What to expect from Apple in 2019

Expect 2019 to be a big year for Apple’s iPad tablets. And for professional-grade Macs, too. The next 12 months won’t be as significant for the iPhone and Apple Watch lines, though there will certainly be some improvements.

Services and software are as important to Apple as hardware, so expect the long-awaited video service to arrive, and we predict a resurgence in augmented reality games too.

Most of these are based on information that already leaked out. In these cases, we’ll link to articles on the topic. Others are pure speculation, with some wishful thinking mixed in.

iOS 13 makes iPad Pro far more useful

Way back in 2017, iOS 11 brought important improvements to iPad. Last year’s iOS 12 focused on the iPhone, so we think 2019’s version will concentrate on tablets again.

iOS 13 will supposedly bring the ability to work with multiple windows from the same application side-by-side. This is already possible with Safari, but all software may get this feature.

A change we’re hoping for will be additional benefits from the USB-C port in the 2018 iPad Pro. Possible improvements include the ability to copy all types of files to and from external drives, greater support for external displays, and mouse/trackpad support.

An iPad with a trackpad might stop being just a dream this year.
Photo: Brydge

These changes will benefit everyone who’s already purchased the current tablet, and set off a surge of sales. But don’t anticipate a replacement in 2019, as Apple has a pattern of releasing new iPad Pro models every 18. months. But the long-awaited iPad mini 5 could launch this year, alongside a larger budget iPad.

Everything the iPhone won’t have in 2019

Apple is going to skip the two biggest trends for smartphones in 2019. But we’re still expecting some improvments, of course.

Android-based 5G phones will be common by the end of the year, but Apple can’t get a 5G iPhone out before 2020 because it’s depending on Intel for the necessary modem. Making its own won’t speed things up either.

That’s not necessarily a disaster. Carriers will still be building out their 5G networks for years, and so the users of the early Android models won’t get much benefit from them for quite some time.

Also making headlines in 2019 will be a handful of models with folding displays. Investigation into a folding iPhone started in at least 2016, but the company isn’t likely to have anything before 2020. If then. It’s not clear yet whether there’s a market for foldable phones. Apple is apparently going to wait and see what happens with the Android offerings.

So we shouldn’t expect big hardware changes at all, as Apple is reportedly going to stick with the same iPhone screen sizes this year: 6.5, 6.1, and 5.9 inches.

Which isn’t to say there won’t be some enhancements. We’ve already heard about faster Face ID, and the addition of a third camera lens could bring better pictures. All of the 2019 models might have OLED displays, one with an integrated touchscreen. 

There’s been speculation that the 2019 iPhone will have a USB-C port, rather than a Lightning connector. If so, then these handsets will also benefit from the aforementioned improvements coming in iOS 13 for the iPad Pro.

Long-overdue Mac Pro desktop appears

Apple flat-out promised that it’s going to introduce an updated Mac Pro in 2019. The wait has been very long, as it’ll replace a model introduced in 2013.

So far, Apple hasn’t said much specific about this desktop, other than it’s going to be modular and upgradeable.  The goal is to make a computer for “visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production,” according to John Ternus, Apple VP of Hardware Engineering.

The processor, RAM, and storage options will surely surpass 2017’s iMac Pro. Other changes will be simple updates for 2019. The current Mac Pro model doesn’t even have USB-C, for example.

The next Mac Pro is being “completely rethought” so it probably won’t look anything like this.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple also intends to release a new new high-end pro display this year.

Apple Watch, AirPods and AirPower, oh my!

2018 was a big year for Apple’s wearable, with screen sizes increasing and the addition of ECG. That suggests this year’s model isn’t going to bring dramatic hardware changes, as Apple typically rests on its laurels the year after a redesign. So far, there have been no rumors of significant improvements coming down the pike, either.

Numerous unconfirmed reports point to updated AirPods coming soon. These are expected to offer noise cancellation and water resistance. Adding “Hey Siri” support is also possible. Expect AirPods 2 to cost more than the originals, though. A complete redesign is expected in 2020.

Apple couldn’t meet its promise to have the AirPower wireless charger out by the end of December, just as it couldn’t get this multi-device charging mat on store shelves in 2017. Third year’s the charm?

Apple TV becomes a service, not just a device

Expect 2019 to be a watershed year for Apple TV. Not so much for the hardware, but for Apple’s streaming video service, which will reportedly launch in the first half of the year. The company created dozens of television programs at the cost of over a $1 billion, and will reportedly make these free to customers who already own an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

Expect this to spur sales of the Apple TV device. Whether there will be new models to go along with the service is not yet known.

ARKit 2.0 and Augmented Reality go big

The biggest change in last year’s ARKit 2.0 update is shared experiences, a fancy way of saying that two people playing the same augmented reality game can look at the same virtual objects simultaneously. This is going to make AR games far more interesting in 2019.

Lego already introduced an app that embraces this technology, and the next version of Pokémon Go apparently uses it as well. These could be joined by a wave of AR games in 2019.

Whether the preferred platform for AR will be the iPhone or iPad is still up in the air. Phones are lighter but tablets have far larger displays. The next generation iPad could get a new type of scanner that will gave it better AR performance than iPhones. That said, it’s not clear if the first iPad with a Time of Flight (ToF) scanner will be out this year or 2020.

Apple ‘rolling the dice’ on its upcoming products

Apple CEO Tim Cook is very upbeat about where his company is going. He told investors today that upcoming products will “blow you away.”

Cook also indicated that these aren’t going to be just more of the same. Apple is branching out.

The executive didn’t use his speech during today’s annual Apple shareholders meeting to making any specific revelations. Instead, he talked about “planting seeds.”

And he’s feeling very positive about the fruit these will eventually bear. Cook said he’d “never been more optimistic” about Apple’s future.

Some short-term plans

Cook was a little more open about what to expect in the near future. In talking about the Apple Watch, Cook said they’re “pulling the string between wellness and health.” He mentioned the ECG in the latest version, but also the exercise tools built into this wearable. More health-related features are likely going forward.

He said there’s a “long, great roadmap of fantastic” products in its category that includes both Apple Watch and AirPods. An improved version of this company’s wireless earbuds are expected very soon.

In a bit of good news for laptop fans,  Apple’s CEO says they’ve made lowering the cost of the latest MacBook Air a goal. It currently starts at $1,199, after replacing an earlier model that started at $999.

After one investor complained that he couldn’t transfer a movies off his iPad Pro via the USB-C port, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi stepped in to say that new functionality is coming, but he wouldn’t get any more specific. This could be a hint that this fall’s iOS 13 will include more robust file management capabilities. something users have been asking for.

What’s over the horizon?

Apple’s executive team is hardly going to use a public shareholders meeting to discuss the unannounced products that Tim Cook was obliquely referring to. Still, there have been enough leaks that we already know what they’ll be, at least in broad terms.

One of Tim Cook’s “seeds” being germinated is a video-streaming service to compete with Netflix and Hulu. Apple has been paying to have TV shows and movies produced for months, but has so far kept quiet about its plans. That could change later this month.

A long-term project is a self-driving car. Development of this hit a speed bump recently, but the company still has thousands of people working on it. A shipping product is likely still years away, though.

Apple allegedly has a secret team developing a set of augmented reality (AR) glasses. These would take advantage of the ARKit development tools that have been part of the recent iOS versions. When this seed will burst into flower is unknown.

MacFly Pro’s suite of apps keeps your Mac decluttered

Despite the clean lines and sleek exteriors of our Macs, the insides often look like a real mess. Cluttered photo libraries; old web caches; broken extensions; unused configuration files — the list of data that can gum up our Macs is long. That makes staying on top of it all nearly impossible, unless you’ve got time and energy to spare.

MacFly Pro (not to be confused with that guy from Back to the Future) aims to simplify this process. Many Mac users receive a dreaded “Startup Disk almost Full” message before they ever think about Mac cleaning software, but MacFly Pro made a suite of Mac applications that can prevent that message from ever showing up again.

It can take many separate tasks, not to mention a long attention span, to keep a Mac tidy. The MacFly Pro suite also includes an adaptive Smart Assistant that automates most of those steps. It’s at the core of MacFly Pro, watching your system and notifying you of new opportunities to clean your Mac and maximize performance. Automatically and continuously assessing the data stored on your Mac, when it sees a way to reclaim space or improve Mac performance, it notifies you.

MacFly Pro does its work based on background scans that the Smart Assistant conducts. You’ll see a general breakdown of what the software found — system files, duplicates, etc. — along with the option to view the files in detail. Then, you can clear them out with just a click. MacFly Pro never deletes or alters anything without permission.

MacFly Pro also serves as a sentry for resources being consumed in ways you might not think to check.  It targets rarely used applications and configuration files, serving up a report on how much space they’re taking up. That means opportunities for clearing out space you probably wouldn’t spot. Additionally, the Smart Assistant offers an assessment of the overall condition of your Mac, monitoring the system state.

Call in the cleanup crew for better Mac performance

With MacFly Pro, you also get a powerful Cleaner module that removes system junk and file waste that it collects on your hard drive. Temporary files and other common data can sneakily gum up the works of any Mac. Cleaner will check your operating system and send notifications offering a one-click cleanup.

This offers a way to stay on top of Mac file accumulation without having to put in much effort at all. Cache and log files, broken login items and preferences, application data and localization files are just some of the esoteric file types you probably wouldn’t even know to look for. But Cleanup keeps an eye on these and a bunch of other file types, so you can focus on things like, you know, typing.

The right Mac cleaner tools for the job

MacFly Pro’s Tools module deals with big files on your Mac. It manages and can remove application files and documents, music, photos or archives. Just as with the other MacFly Pro modules, you can clean all of it out with several clicks.

The Tools feature also presents an estimated time frame for every task. It marks files that are most likely to hog disk space. That helps you quickly sort out junk data from the stuff you want to keep. That makes it easy to plan around big cleaning jobs.

MacFly Pro’s range of tools prove useful when you need them, and stay out of your way the rest of the time. You could buy the app for a month to see if you like what it does, then spring for the full year if you do.

There is also the download page where you can get a free trial without entering any credit card info. Either way, keeping a clean Mac shouldn’t be taking up your free time. MacFly Pro will save you both space and time.

iPhone X took over two years to develop, marks new chapter in iPhone design, says Jony Ive

In a brief interview with Japanese design magazine Casa Brutus, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive dropped a few interesting tidbits about the development, future technological implications and public reception of iPhone X.

According to Ive, who was interviewed by Casa Brutus in Cupertino, Calif., after last month’s iPhone event, iPhone X represents one of the most difficult projects Apple has undertaken, with an incubation period of more than two years.

That the product was ready in time for iPhone’s 10th anniversary in 2017 was a “wonderful coincidence,” Ive said.

Discussing the inner workings of iPhone X, Ive said the inclusion of Face ID is the culmination of years of work toward a non-contact user interface. From a user’s perspective, features that do not require physical interaction make a device feel simpler, yet at the same time more robust. Ive goes on to say the replacement of Touch ID, a capacitive fingerprint reading solution included in all iPhone models since iPhone 5s, equates to a heightened user experience.

On the handset’s design, Ive said previous models felt like a combination of many different parts, the most obvious being the chassis and display. With iPhone X, the design feels contiguous and integrated. It took may years to achieve that level of fit and finish, Ive said, adding that Apple is already working on next-generation designs.

Looking back to the first iPhone, Ive said multitouch, a feature smartphone users now take for granted, was both its most important feature and the biggest design challenge. Building a new hardware platform meant miniaturizing and incorporating cutting edge components, but also required a rethinking of human interface guidelines.

Over the past ten years iPhone has transformed from a simple telephone/internet/music device to become something much more integral to daily life. That transition continues today, as Ive remembers first using iPhone for phone calls, then video calls with FaceTime and later emoji in iMessage. With iPhone X and the depth-sensing TrueDepth camera system, owners can communicate with Animoji, Apple’s marketing term for emoji characters that animate based on a user’s facial expressions.

Instead of thinking of iPhone X as the ultimate expression of “iPhone,” Ive said the device represents a new chapter in the platform’s history.

Japanese blog Mac Otakara reported on the Casa Brutus interview earlier today.

Brazil Blocks WhatsApp for 72 Hours, 100 Million Users Affected

A Brazilian judge has ordered cellphone carriers to block access to WhatsApp for 72 hours throughout the Latin American country, after the Facebook-owned company refused to hand over information requested in a drug trafficking investigation (via Reuters).

As reported last month, the instant messenger service recently enabled full end-to-end encryption, making all forms of communication sent within the app inaccessible to outside parties as well as the service operator.

Yesterday’s decision by the judge applies to the five main wireless operators in Brazil and affects more than 100 million WhatsApp users in the country, where cellphone charges are relatively high.

This is not the first time the service has been the target of a blocking order. In December of last month, mobile providers in Brazil were ordered to block WhatsApp for 48 hours due to the service’s failure to cooperate with criminal court orders in July and August 2015. However, the following morning, an appeal’s court judge ordered that the ban be lifted for being an unreasonable response, recommending that the company be fined instead.

In March of this year, Facebook vice-president for Latin America Diego Dzodan was arrested in Brazil for not cooperating with an investigation in which WhatsApp conversations were requested, but was released the next day after the Court of Appeal held that the arrest was disproportionate. The judge who ordered WhatsApp’s shutdown on Monday is the same one who ordered Dzodan’s arrest.

Elsewhere last month, members of UK prime minister David Cameron’s inner circle campaigning to remain in the European Union were accused of using WhatsApp to discuss tactics and avoid parliamentary referendum decisions from being subject to Freedom of Information requests. Only last year, Cameron proposed to ban online messaging software that offers end-to-end encryption which could allegedly allow suspected terrorists a safe means of communication.

WhatsApp is not the only messaging service that provides end-to-end encryption; Threema, Wickr, Signal, Silent Phone, and Cryptocat also provide encryption by default. Apple’s iMessage also provides encryption, but does not display key fingerprints for verification. Apple’s own legal issues over encryption came when the FBI attempted to compel the company to unlock San Bernardino terror suspect Farook Syed’s iPhone, before the Justice Department announced it had found an alternate method to gain access to the iPhone in question and dropped the lawsuit.

While WhatsApp has been available as a smartphone app since January 2010, users have only been able to access their accounts on a computer since last year when a web browser client for the service was introduced. Last week, screenshots posted by WABetaInfo on Twitter appeared to show translation requests made by the WhatsApp team indicating that a dedicated OS X client is in the works. WhatsApp is also reportedly set to receive a video calling feature in the near future.

Acquired by Facebook in February 2014, WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile apps worldwide. According to Statista statistics portal, in February the service recorded more than 1 billion active users worldwide, up from over 700 million in January 2015.

WhatsApp Messenger is a free download for iPhone on the App Store. [Direct Link]

3 questions you have to ask before getting your iPhone repaired

 

What’s worse than having an iPhone screen break? Having a repair shop destroy your phone or leave it barely working. iMonkeys wants you to get your device fixed right – the first time. Here is what you need to know before getting your device fixed:

How long is the repair warranty?

Only choose a repair shop that stands by the quality of their labour and parts. iMonkeys offers a Lifetime Warranty on all parts and labour. Beware of any repair shop that has less than a 1-year warranty. A short warranty means the shop has low confidence in the quality of their labour and/or parts.

Are ALL parts individually tested and validated?

iMonkeys individually hand-tests each part for quality and functionality before it’s sent to our technicians. Unless a repair shop tests their parts in advance, the first time a part is tested will be in your phone. This means you might be returning to get your device fixed again very soon!

Are the screens cheap ‘copy’ parts or original high quality LCD screens and cables?

iMonkeys only uses the highest quality parts to ensure your phone is like new after a repair. We never takes shortcuts in using cheap parts. Although a ‘copy’ part may cost €25 less, using one can have disastrous results. With a cheaper route you’ll most likely experience: shorter battery life, dropped calls, dangerously hot batteries, unresponsive touch screens, dead pixels, and a pink hue on the screen. Yikes!

For a trusted repair, you can be safe in choosing either iMonkeys or waiting in line at an Apple Store to receive a quality repair that will get your device working again.

Unlock Bypass iCloud Activation

“Can you unlock this device for me?”

This seems to be the question of the season as savvy folks look to the used/refurbished device market.
A quick search on eBay turns up hundreds of devices that are marked as “iCloud locked” or “Activation locked” devices. These devices are (almost always) lost or stolen devices and they will never again be usable as designed.

In the old days, pre iOS 7, stolen devices could readily be cleared of their data with a fresh install of the operating system and were ready to go. Even if they were ‘passcode locked’ –didn’t matter, just write over everything and go.

Not anymore. Apple created the “activation lock” or “iCloud lock” which requires that any device that has once been activated under someone’s iCloud account (aka–someone clicked through the normal set up wizard and typed in their Apple ID) has to have that password entered in order to be transferred to a new owner.

This means that:
1.) If you sell a device–you need to clear the iCloud lock. You can either Erase all Contents and Settings or Remove iCloud account—-both of which will require your Apple ID password. Once done, the phone can be sold and the new owner will not encounter the ‘activation lock’

2.) If step one is not done, (even if the phone is completely restored with a new operating system from recovery mode) then the new setup wizard will STILL REQUIRE the password of the original owner in order to be activated and usable.

Since we hear about things like iPhone jailbreaking all the time, it would be normal to assume that there must be some sort of hack or workaround—but there is not.

To be clear. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY TO REMOVE THE ICLOUD LOCK WITHOUT THE ORIGNAL OWNERS PASSWORD.

That fact doesn’t stem the tide of scammers claiming to be able to remove the activation lock, but all of these are either completely false, will provide an ‘unlock’ that is temporary, or will provide an unlock that is pretty useless since the device won’t be able to talk to the App Store or cell towers. NO METHOD will leave you with a device that will work as designed.

While we’re throwing around the word “unlock”, I’d be remiss to not clarify that some important distinctions. The iCloud or Activation lock that we’ve been talking about is different bag of cats than Carrier lock–i.e. using a phone on O2 and then ‘unlocking it’ for use on Vodafone. That is entirely possible and there are many legitimate unlocking services for carrier/network unlocking.

Also, ‘passcode locked’ when you forget your PIN code or password that the phone prompts you for at slide-to-unlock. THIS isn’t the end of the line. It is possible to erase the phone and restore it without that passcode (you will lose your data) but it can be set up again. AS LONG AS you can clear the iCloud/Activation lock–i.e. you still know your Apple ID password that you use with iTunes.

Still clear as mud?

Here is a cheatsheet:

iCloud or Activation locked—IMPOSSIBLE.

STOLEN DEVICE. AVOID.

Carrier or Network locked—ready for use, but locked to that network. May be eligible for unlocking service (not all carriers allow unlocking)

Passcode locked—Can be erased and restored as new IF not also iCloud locked.

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