Weekend good reads for Apple developers #2023/4

Weekend is coming with several great reads this time. Let's dive in!

This is a lot for a weekend, so choose wisely. :)

Apple releases iOS and iPadOS 16.3, watchOS 9.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2

Apple publishes updates to some of its operating systems. iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS 13.2 get updates. tvOS and HomePod software are not yet updated. Also, no new Xcode is released.

This update also brings iCloud Advanced Data Protection to all users worldwide.

iOS 16.3

This update includes the following enhancements and bug fixes:

  • New Unity wallpaper honors Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month
  • Security Keys for Apple ID allow users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key as part of the two factor authentication sign in process on new devices
  • Support for HomePod (2nd generation)
  • Emergency SOS calls now require holding the side button with the up or down volume button and then releasing in order to prevent inadvertent emergency calls
  • Fixes an issue in Freeform where some drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards
  • Addresses an issue where the wallpaper may appear black on the Lock Screen
  • Fixes an issue where horizontal lines may temporarily appear while waking up iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Fixes an issue where the Home Lock Screen widget does not accurately display Home app status
  • Addresses an issue where Siri may not respond properly to music requests
  • Resolves issues where Siri requests in CarPlay may not be understood correctly

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

iPadOS 16.3

This update includes the following enhancements and bug fixes:

  • Security Keys for Apple ID allow users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key as part of the two factor authentication sign in process on new devices
  • Support for HomePod (2nd generation)
  • Fixes an issue in Freeform where some drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards
  • Addresses an issue where Siri may not respond properly to music requests

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

watchOS 9.3

watchOS 9.3 includes new features, improvements and bug fixes, including new Unity Mosaic watch face to honor Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month.

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

macOS Ventura 13.2

This update introduces Security Keys for Apple ID, and includes other enhancements and bug fixes for your Mac.

  • Security Keys for Apple ID allow users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key to sign in
  • Fixes an issue in Freeform where some drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver may stop offering audio feedback while you are typing

Some features may not be available for all regions, or on all Apple devices. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Updates to previous platforms

Apple also updates OS releases for devices which could be be updated to latest software. These updates were releases with security fixes:

  • iOS 12.5.7
  • iOS 15.7.3
  • iPadOS 15.7.3
  • macOS Big Sur 11.7.3
  • macOS Monterey 12.6.3

References:

Several app developers share their issues with iCloud synchronization

iCloud was introduced many years ago, however, developers still see issues with syncing data in their apps using Core Data.

NetNewsWire, Overcast developers (as well as others) share their thoughts in couple of blog posts.

Most developers report long syncing time and overall unreliability of the service. Moreover, according to internal app statistics, it sees that about 10% of users do not have iCloud meaning that they did not entered their Apple ID in system settings.

Overall recommendation to developers who plan to use iCloud is to have an alternative by either having their own sync solutions (self-hosted or using some public cloud offering), or rely on third-party as data storage (NetNewsWire allows to use multiple RSS aggregators in addition to iCloud).

References:

Spend Stack is now open source

Jordan Morgan has negotiated open-sourcing of his Spend Stack app. Source code of this app might be used for multiple features – CloudKit integration, animations and transitions.

There are several restrictions on reusing Spend Stack source code and naming, check the blog post for possible usages.

Code is mostly Objective-C, however, could be still relevant.

GitHub: Spend-Stack-Public

Reference: Spend Stack is Now Open Source

Apple releases iOS 16.2 and other platforms

Following recent RC Apple now releases iOS/iPadOS 16.2, macOS 13.1 Ventura, watchOS 9.2 and tvOS 16.2. Xcode 14.2 is also released.

HomePodOS received corresponding update (which is required for Home updates and Matter support).

Apple also releases security bug fixes for previous OS releases - iOS 15 and macOS 11 Big Sur and macOS 12 Monterey.

This update brings several important updates:

Apple Newsroom: Apple launches Freeform: a powerful new app designed for creative collaboration

References:

Apple abandons plans to implement CSAM detection features in Photos

In an interview to Joanna Stern, Craig Federighi confirms that Apple stopped development of previously announced CSAM detection features.

In this interview Craig Federighi discussed new privacy and security features added by Apple to iCloud and their effect on law enforcement ability to extract data from iCloud.

One of the nixed features is Photos CSAM detection which was criticized by many privacy-focused groups and organizations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ZOkWaDxfw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ZOkWaDxfw

The Wall Street Journal: Apple Plans New Encryption System to Ward Off Hackers and Protect iCloud Data (Apple News+)

References:

Apple publishes RC for iOS 16.2 and other platforms

Following the announcement of new security features, Apple publishes RC for its platforms supporting the Advanced Data Protection for iCloud.

Notably, new Xcode RC is also published.

Other notable feature in this RC is recently announced Apple Music Sing – karaoke-like mode where users could sign along with Apple Music songs.

AirDrop will now limit access setting "Everyone" to 10 minutes for all users, and not just China as it was in previous beta.

Beta download: Operating Systems

Release notes:

Apple Newsroom: Apple introduces Apple Music Sing

References:

Apple announces new security measures for iMessage, Apple ID and iCloud

Apple announces new security features coming this and next year. These include iMessage public key notifications, Apple ID hardware security keys and end-to-end encryption for more iCloud data.

iMessage Contact Key Verification

iMessage will now notify when your contact's public key is changed (which could be a result of unwanted new device being added to the account). With this feature it will be easier to catch the moment when somebody is eavesdropping on the conversation.

This feature to become generally available in 2023 worldwide.

Security Keys for Apple ID

Apple will provide support for hardware security keys for Apple ID authentication. This might provide extra security measure for those who need better protection for their data.

This feature will be available in early 2023 worldwide.

Advanced Data Protection for iCloud

Apple adds end-to-end encryption to more iCloud data types, including Notes and iCloud Backups. Major data types not yet covered by end-to-end encryption are Mail, Contacts and Calendars.

Notable, data protection for iCloud is opt-on feature, so users have to enable it themselves.

This feature is available in the US today in beta, and should be available for general users in US later in 2022. Worldwide rollout is expected in early 2023. 

Apple Newsroom: Apple advances user security with powerful new data protections

Weekend good reads for Apple developers, issue #53

It is officially winter and here is new great pack of good articles for all Apple developers.

Have a great first winter weekend and see you soon!