• accessories,  iphone 14,  mophie

    iPhone 14 Pro Max and Mophie Wireless Charging Pad Problem

    Mophie’s 2017 Qi charger has a size problem with the iPhone 14 Pro Max camera array

    One of the marque features of this year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max is the new 48MP camera system. And with larger sensors, there must also come a larger camera plateau on the back of the iPhone.

    Here’s the rub: with the larger camera array, the iPhone can no longer just be placed on the 2017 Mophie Wireless Charging Base.

    I now have to perform a precision alignment procedure to make sure that the iPhone is perfectly aligned with the charging coils in the charger. As you might imagine, when you’re heading off to bed, the last thing you want to do is an intricate charging dance.

    In my experience, I technically still can use my iPhone X era Mophie inductive charging pad, but, day-to-day use, I’ve already miss aligned my iPhone 14 Pro Max twice now. The ridge that protected the cameras on my Apple leather case has to ride up slightly on the edge of the charge pad to start charging. And without magnets in the base, bumping the iPhone while haphazardly dropping my AirPods my nightstand cause disaster in the morning.

    What can be done to fix this? Well, I have a couple of options.

    1. The least expensive option is to take my iPhone out of its case. That should allow for enough clearance between the camera area and the charge pad. Life goes on just as it always has.
    2. Another no cost option is to just charge my iPhone at my desk with a MagSafe charger or in the kitchen with (Gasp!) a Lightning cable.
    3. I can get a new fancy 3-in-1 charging station, like the Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with MagSafe or the Mophie snap+ 3-in-1 wireless charging stand.

    I like option three because it cleans up the wires to charge my iPhone, Series 6 Watch, and my AirPods in a tidy appliance. Comparing the Mobile and the Belkin multi-device charging solutions, I think I prefer the Belkin solution more. With everything lying flat on the night table, there is less of a chance to knock my iPhone to the floor trying to grab my ringing work phone for the occasional overnight work emergency.

    For now, I plan to just charge my iPhone 14 Pro Max, Watch, and AirPods when I need to while sitting at my desk at home or work. While I can make do for now, I can see a Belkin charging accessory in my future.

  • ios 16,  iphone,  lifestyle

    iOS 16.0 Tip: Turn on Keyboard Haptics

    New in iOS 16.0, which many of us are just experiencing for the first time, is the Keyboard Haptics feature.

    The Keyboard Haptics feature gives the user and extra form of feedback while typing on a glass screen by buzzing the Haptic motor. In my opinion, turning on key clicks along with the Keyboard Haptics tricks my mind into thinking that I am typing on a traditional keyboard. Nothing replaces the feed of typing on a good keyboard, but the additional feedback just feels good, in my opinion.

    To turn on Keyboard Haptics on a current model iPhone running iOS 16.0:

    1. Tap on Settings
    2. Tap on Sounds & Haptics
    3. Tap on Keyboard Feedback
    4. Tap on Haptic

    Yes, I am one of those people who leaves the software keyboard click sounds enabled and the Haptic software feedback, I feel, asks a nice touch (no pun intended) to typing on an iPhone.

    iOS 16.0 was released back on Monday, September 12, for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone SE (2nd generation), and later. The full list of iOS 16.0 features can be found on the Apple website.

  • ios 16,  iphone 14,  lifestyle

    Tip: Turn Off iPhone 14 Pro Always on Display at Bedtime

    The new Always on Display on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is a nice quality of life feature that our Android friends have had for some time now.

    Except, when you A) are trying to go to sleep and B) need to charge your iPhone 14 Pro on a Qi charger.

    Fortunately, you can configure an iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to turn off the Always on Display with a Sleep Focus so that you and your iPhone can get a good night’s sleep and be recharged when you wake up.

    1. Go to Settings
    2. Tap on Focus
    3. Tap on Sleep
    4. Scroll to the bottom of the Sleep Focus page
    5. Under Focus Filters, tap + Add Filter
    6. Under System Filters, tap Low Power Mode
    7. Tap Add

    When you are ready for bed, turn on the Sleep Focus mode, press the Side button (Power button), and then place your iPhone 14 Pro on its Qi charger. The iPhone 14 Pro Always on Display feature will be disabled until you turn off the Sleep Focus mode in the morning.

    You can further customize the Sleep Focus mode to fit your needs. I kept mine simple.

    If you are so inclined, you can also configure a Shortcut to turn on Sleep mode and specify a time to automatically turn off using the Set Focus script step.

  • iphone,  lifestyle,  security

    Another Reason to Secure Your iPhone While Traveling

    Stephanie Condon, writing for ZDNet has an interesting piece about smartphone data dumping by the US Customs and Border Protection service. According to Condon, the downloading, storing, and potential searches of American’s smartphones came to light by way of a letter sent to the agency by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) about the practice.

    According to Wyden, CBP agents get American travelers to unlock their devices and then proceed to download the data into a government-controlled database. He calls such searches “warrantless” and I completely agree. On his official Senate.gov website, Wyden is quoted as saying:

    “Innocent Americans should not be tricked into unlocking their phones and laptops,” Wyden wrote. “CBP should not dump data obtained through thousands of warrantless phone searches into a central database, retain the data for fifteen years, and allow thousands of DHS employees to search through Americans’ personal data whenever they want.”

    Senator Wyden’s full letter to Chris Magnus, Commission of the US Customs and Border Protection service is available online.

    While I agree, all US citizens should comply with legally obtained and executed search warrants, I do not agree with the in discriminant downloading of American’s smartphones just because they are crossing the US border.

    One way to protect yourself if to ensure that you have a strong passcode on your iPhone. A couple of words long passcode is a strong defense to unauthorized access to the contents of your iPhone. A 6-digit or longer PIN code in place of a passcode is a good option too.

    Strong security and data privacy is a constant trade off with usability. Who want to keep entering a 18-characher passcode/PIN just to unlock their iPhone? Not me. Biometric security, such as Face ID or Touch ID are good tradeoffs for most people. They offer good security and ease of use.

    When learning about reports such as the one Wyden is claiming of the CBP, I have to think twice about my personal information data privacy. As we learned with John Eastman, courts are willing to uphold requests to unlock smartphones using biometric systems. What courts aren’t willing to uphold, is the forced compliance with requests for passcodes and PINs.

    A good strategy that iPhone owners can use is to hard lock their device by pressing and holding the Side Button (Power button) and either one of the Volume buttons for 3-seconds. This can easily be done while an iPhone is still in your pocket, purse, or bag. Once activated, Face ID, Touch ID, and Unlock with Apple Watch will no longer unlock your iPhone until the owner enters their passcode/PIN code.

    Starting with iOS 16, the new Lockdown Mode security feature will help protect customer’s and their data from common security vulnerabilities by trading convenience for security. Most people will never need this feature, but for those who do, it will help protect their privacy. Sometimes, security is hard, but necessary.

  • apple store,  iphone 14

    Mixed Feelings About iPhone Launch Day

    Tomorrow is iPhone 14 Pro Day, and I’m having a hard time getting excited about it.

    Tomorrow will be the first time in a long time that my Dad and I won’t be getting our new iPhones together on launch day. For me, iPhone launch day is my own personal event day, much like WWWD keynote day. Since I’m old, and not a developer, a better analogy is MacWorld Expo. I’m partial to the 1987 Boston MacWorld Expo.

    This year, do to server overloads during the 8:00am EDT hour, I couldn’t get my iPhone 14 Pro Max pre-order placed until 9:30am. My Dad’s pre-order wasn’t put in until 2:30pm.

    While I am excited for my new iPhone, it just won’t be the same without the early morning pickup, the drive to our local Apple Store, standing in line and talking to other customers and store staff before the huge glass doors magically slide open. I’m bummed. My Dad’s bummed. The Newtons and OG iPhone are bummed. This year just generally stinks.

    I know I’m going to love my new iPhone, but I just can’t get excited about it this year.

  • apple,  iphone 14

    Happy iPhone 14 Pre-Order Day [Updated]

    Happy iPhone 14 Pre-Order Day to all who celebrate it. Good luck with your pre-orders and I hope that you get the model and color you are looking for!

    This year, I plan on ordering the iPhone 14 Pro Max with 256GB of storage in the Silver finish. I also will be ordering the Forest Green leather case.

    iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro pre-orders begin at 8:00am Eastern, 5:00am Pacific. Sales begin next Friday, 9/16.

    Update 9:00am

    This year’s iPhone pre-orders are off to a rough start this morning. While trying to place our pre-orders, my Dad and I both experienced trouble with the Apple.com website and the Apple Store iOS app. For starters, the Apple Store didn’t update until about 8:10am for us. Then, once the store finally did open, there were problems trying to process the pre-orders. By 8:12am, my local Apple Store was offering pickups at 10:30am, having slipped from 8:00am to 10:30am in just a few minutes of pre-orders starting. Once the online Apple Store iOS app started working again, it took multiple attempts to process my order with my Apple Card that was pre-authorized on Wednesday.

    All-in-all, I was able to get my pre-order placed for the iPhone configuration that I want, but at the cost of my annual 8:00am “launch party” at my local Apple Store. I’m a little miffed that I’m not getting my iPhone when the store opens, but at least I’m getting my iPhone on launch day! Even if it is at 1:30pm.

    Update 3:00pm

    On the way back home, I stopped over to see my Dad and try to help him get his iPhone 14 pre-order setup. By 2:30pm, all of the website and credit card processing issues were fixed, but his iPhone will be shipping to the house by October 17. Not exactly what we were hoping for.

  • el capitan,  mac os x,  macbook pro,  troubleshooting

    Reloading Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan

    2012 MacBook Pro with an El Capitan install error

    I was recently given a 2012 MacBook Pro from a family member who asked me to wipe their data and recycle the computer.

    Erasing the hard disk was easy enough – I just connected it to a SATA to USB-A bridge box that I have and reformatted it from my Mac Studio.

    Where I ran into trouble was trying to load a clean install of Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan on the MacBook Pro. I kept running into an error that read, in part:

    "OS X could not be installed on your computer. No packages were eligible for install."

    I tried a couple of variations on reformatting the disk from another MacBook Pro and a Windows 10 PC with no luck.

    With a Jan. 2017 date, my MacBook Pro happily installs El Capitan now

    It turns out that the date needs to be rolled back to 2017 to get the installer to run properly. Here’s how I fixed the problem:

    1. Boot the Mac from your install media. Make sure any network connections (Ethernet or Wi-Fi) are disconnected or disabled.
    2. When the OS X installer screen appears, click Utilities > Terminal.
    3. From the Terminal application, issue the command: date 0115124517
    4. The response from Terminal should be a string that reads something similar to: January 15 12:45:00 2017.
    5. Quit the Terminal app.
    6. Reconnect your network connection.
    7. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your Mac OS X install.

    As you can see, the processed worked for me. The problem related to the El Capitan’s installation certificate has expired. As a result, the installer returns the error message about no eligible packages being available to install. When you disconnect the Mac’s network connections and roll back the date, you are ready to party like it’s 2017 and reinstall El Capitan.

  • apple silicon,  mac,  parallels,  virtualization,  vmware

    VMware Fusion 2H22 Technical Preview Gains Driver Support for Windows 11 VMs on Apple Silicon Macs

    Mac Studio running Windows 11 on VMware Fusion, credit: VMware

    VMware, the desktop and server virtualization company, has finally caught up with their competitor, Parallels, and released VMware Fusion with VMware Tools support for Windows 11 late last month.

    The July 28 VMware Fusion 22H2 Tech Preview was announced by Michael Roy on the Fusion blog. Now, Mac users with either an M1 or M2 Apple Silicon-based Mac can run Windows 11. Sort of.

    First, the good news. With the Fusion 22H2 (aka, second half of 2022) Tech Preview, VMware now includes the first pre-release version of VMware Tools. VMware Tools are the drivers that get injected into the guest operating system to provide emulated hardware compatibility with the host computer’s hardware. The beta release of VMware Tools that comes with the new Fusion beta offers support for a virtual Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 chip, a Microsoft requirement for Windows 11, drivers for 2D graphics and VMX3 networking drivers. During this beta period, VMware continues to offer Fusion as a free download. New VMware Fusion licenses start at $149.

    Now, the bad news. Fusion 22H2 is still in beta. While my first run experience with the latest build of Fusion is running well, the setup and installation process is not for the casual user. This all stems from a licensing deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm. In short, Qualcomm is the exclusive manufacturer of ARM SoCs that are used by Microsoft, and a select few partners, for OEM devices the run the ARM edition of Windows. The exclusive nature of this deal, therefore, prevents Microsoft from selling ARM CPU editions of Windows directly to customers as they do with versions of Windows that run on Intel and AMD processors.

    As end-users, the only way to get a Windows for ARM installer is to enroll in the Microsoft Windows Insider beta program. But the Microsoft provided installer comes in a Hyper-V .vhdx virtual disk image file. While Parallels Desktop 17 does a good job of automatically downloading, converting, and installing Windows 11 for you, there is no such option with Fusion. Honestly, that’s a bit of a letdown, in my opinion. To get the ARM version of Windows 11 to run on the Fusion 22H2 technical preview, you are left to download the .vhdx Microsoft installer file and then do the .iso file conversion on your own. Otherwise, you are left with the option of downloading an untrusted and pre-converted .iso file from the Internet. If VMware plans on making Windows 11 compatibility on Apple Silicon Mac’s a selling point, my expectation is that they will need to do a lot of work to give customers a smooth onboarding process like Parallels did.

    Windows 11 Pro running in VMware Fusion 2H22 Technical Preview on my Mac Studio

    And therein lies the crux of the problem. There are no companies mentioned here that officially support running Windows 11 on an M1 or M2 Mac. Not Microsoft and certainly not Apple. VMware and Parallels don’t either, but both vendors now ship software drivers that make running Windows 11 on Apple Silicon Macs possible.

    It is possible to get the ARM edition of Windows 11 running on an Apple Silicon Mac and then activate Windows with a Microsoft license key. I was able to activate my Parallels Desktop 17 Windows 11 install with a Windows 11 Home license key that I purchased from NewEgg.com. While my install of Windows 11 Home is now legally licensed, my configuration is absolutely not supported or endorsed as a valid configuration. This hodgepodge approach is good for anyone who wants to tinker with Windows, like I do at home. However, as an IT professional, but is certainly not a production-ready solution. Without official support and legally purchased Windows ARM edition SKUs, this solution has no place in a commercial organization.

    One day, I expect that Microsoft/Qualcomm exclusivity deal will come to an end. More CPU vendors will make ARM-based processors for PCs, and Microsoft will be able to sell Windows ARM licenses to OEMs and customers. Until then, virtualized ARM editions of Windows belong in the lab. Apple, Parallels, and VMware have proven that the foundation is there and that it works. Now, Microsoft just needs to end the Qualcomm contract.

    Until then, I’ll be dreaming of the day when I can have a 14-inch MacBook Pro with a Windows 11 Pro VM running on my desk at work.

  • politics,  rim,  security

    New Information on Deleted Secret Service Text Messages

    Excellent reporting by Lawrence O’Donnell and The Last Word team at MSNBC.

    During the The Last Word telecast on July 21, O’Donnell details the facts of the case, as we know them, and raises very serious questions about the deleted Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and 6.

    In summary, O’Donnell reminds us that:

    • The Secret Service has a budget of $3B annually
    • The first of three emails informing staff to preserve records was sent by the Secret Service Office of Strategic Planning on Dec. 9, 2020
    • In an undated Jan. 2021 and a Feb. 4, 2021 email, sent by the Secret Service Chief Information Officer, reminds staff of their obligation to preserve records and includes instructions on how to do so
    • The Secret Service received the first written records preservation request before the physical act of exchanging agent smartphones for new devices
    • Ornato was promoted to the political post of White House Deputy Chief of Staff
    • The Secret Service runs a sophisticated cyber-crime organization and knows the legal obligations it has to handle and preserve records

    In my previous post on the Secret Service deleted text message fiasco, I suggested that we wait until more details about what happened by brought to light before placing blame on an IT staffer. Now it is beginning to look like the Secret Service, led by Director James Murray, either willfully ignored record preservation requests and established records and information management governance policies, or directly issued orders that the text messages be deleted from Secret Service issued smartphones. With a $3B annual budget, the Secret Service has more than enough money, in my opinion, to digitally and physically archive any Secret Service agent’s smartphone that was even remotely involved with the events leading up to and taking place on January 6, 2021. To suddenly have digital records be deleted and no discussion that I have seen about going back to the physical devices used on Jan. 5 and 6, is unfathomable to me. The Secret Service knows how to perform digital forensics and records preservation.

    While it will likely be years before the full story comes out about what happened to Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, it is, in my opinion, growing more obvious this situation has less to do with an IT staffer having a bad day and that something much more politically motivated, possibly with criminal intent, has taken place.

  • apple,  developer,  gui

    Use Hidden Text Zoom Controls in Apple News on macOS

    Earlier today, I was skimming the space news in the Apple News app for macOS. Most of the time, I read Apple News on my iPhone 13 Pro Max.

    While reading a USA Today article about the James Web Space Telescope (JWST), I decided that the text was uncomfortably small, and I wanted to make the printer easier to read.

    But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Unlike the iPhone version of Apple News, on macOS, the font control appeared to be missing.

    Let’s take a look at Apple News on iPhone.

    As you can see in the screen captures above, the iPhone version of Apple News has a prominent double A icon in the article header (on the left) that allows you to control the font size (on the right). Tap the larger capital A and the font gets larger. The smaller capital A decreases the font size.

    Now, let’s take a look at Apple News on macOS.

    Look at all that open space in the the window and toolbar controls region!

    The important thing to note here is that the macOS version of Apple News is essentially the same version of Apple News that runs on the iPad. This is due to a behind-the-scenes technology called Mac Catalyst. In short, Mac Catalyst apps are a quick way for developers to release their iPad OS apps for Macs that have either an Apple Silicon M1 or M2 CPU in them.

    Here’s the same article as it appears in Apple News on iPad.

    Looking at the controls region at the top of the screen, again, there is a lot of open space! Knowing that the iPad has the font control clearly visible in the article header makes the lack of a double A font control on the Mac even more frustrating. As an Apple One subscriber and Apple customer, I felt like I was doing something wrong.

    It took me an embarrassingly long time to find the answer: Use the Command and Plus or Minus keyboard shortcuts!

    Option 1: Use the keyboard

    To use keyboard zoom control shortcut, hold down the Command key (on either side of the space bar) and then press the Plus key or the Minus key on your keyboard to enlarge or shrink the print size.

    This keyboard shortcut has been around for a long time in macOS and Windows web browsers. When in the browser, this is a muscle memory reaction to make things readable. I use this shortcut on NYTimes.com all the time.

    Option 2: Use the Menu Bar

    If you have a hard time remembering keyboard shortcuts, there is an alternative – the View menu. It’s easy to forget about the macOS menu bar if you use iOS and iPadOS devices all the time. Outside of the Apple News app window, use the View > Zoom In or Zoom Out commands to increase or decrease the font size in the Mac Menu Bar all the way at the top of the Mac screen.

    If you want to revert back to the article’s default text size, you can either use the Command + Shift + 0 keyboard shortcut or the View > Actual Size menu command.

    In Conclusion

    I get it, application and OS platform maintenance is hard. Apple is trying to upgrade developer tools, manage macOS, iOS, and iPadOS on annual scheduled with new features, and, I hope, keep application feature parity. That’s supposed to be the whole point of Catalyst. Write one app and easily package it to run on iPad and the Mac. My small font control gripe shows how there are still holes in Apple’s plan. If Apple can’t, or won’t, keep application parity, how are customers supposed to stay on top of the differences between the same Apple application on different Apple platforms?

    And that is the real problem. Customers should never feel that they are doing it wrong.