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Apple Clarifies Tencent's Role in Fraudulent Website Warnings, Says No URL Data is Shared and Checks are Limited to Mainland China

Following user concern over Apple using Chinese company Tencent as one of its Safe Browsing partners for Safari, Apple has issued a statement assuring customers that website URLs are not shared with its safe browsing partners.

For those unfamiliar with the feature, Safari sends data to Google Safe Browsing to cross reference URLs against a blacklist to protect users against scams and malicious sites. It recently came to light that Apple is also using Tencent for this purpose, and there was concern that data from users outside of China was being sent to Tencent.


According to Apple's statement, that is not the case, and Tencent is used for devices that have their region code set to mainland China. Users in the United States, the UK, and other countries do not have their website browsing checked against Tencent's safe list.
Apple protects user privacy and safeguards your data with Safari Fraudulent Website Warning, a security feature that flags websites known to be malicious in nature. When the feature is enabled, Safari checks the website URL against lists of known websites and displays a warning if the URL the user is visiting is suspected of fraudulent conduct like phishing.

To accomplish this task, Safari receives a list of websites known to be malicious from Google, and for devices with their region code set to mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a safe browsing provider and the feature can be turned off.
Safari occasionally receives a list of hash prefixes of URLs known to be malicious from Google or Tencent, choosing between them based on the device's region setting (Tencent for China, Google for other countries). Hash prefixes are the same across multiple URLs, which means the hash prefix received by Safari does not uniquely identify a URL.

Prior to loading a website, when the fraudulent website warning feature is toggled on, Safari checks whether a website URL has a hash prefix to match the hash prefixes of malicious sites. If a match is found, Safari sends the hash prefix to its safe browsing provider and then asks for the full list of URLs that have a hash prefix that matches the suspicious one.

When Safari receives the list of URLs, it checks the original suspicious URL against the list, and if there is a match, Safari shows the warning pop up suggesting users stay away from the site. The check happens on the user's device, and the URL itself is not shared with the safe browsing provider, but because Safari communicates directly with the safe browsing provider, the providers do receive device IP addresses.

Information about Apple's safe browsing partners can be found in the About Safari and Privacy screen, available in the Privacy and Security section of the Safari portion of the Settings app. Fraudulent website protection is enabled by default, and those still concerned about the safety check feature can turn it off by deselecting the "Fraudulent Website Warning" toggle.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: China, Safari
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Netgear Launches New Orbi Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi System for $230

Netgear today announced a new mesh router in the Orbi family of products, called the Orbi Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi System. The new system consists of one router and one or more satellites, and is aimed at homes that measure up to 4,500 square feet (with two satellites).


The router and satellites all feature the same design, measuring 4.1 inches on all sides and 2.7 inches tall. As with other mesh systems, after users purchase the base router they can continue to add on satellites to boost the range of the network throughout the home.

The new router delivers Wi-Fi at speeds up to 1.2Gbps, supports MU-MIMO for simultaneous data streaming, includes two high performance internal antennas, and is powered by a quad-core 710MHz processor. Because it's a dual band router, it also supports 2.4GHz (400Mbps) and 5GHz (866Mbps) bands.

The Orbi Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi System features Netgear Armor cybersecurity, which is built into the router and satellites to protect the user's mobile devices and computers. Netgear Armor features anti-virus, anti-malware, and data protection for an unlimited number of devices.


The system also includes Netgear's Circle parental controls, allowing parents to set age-appropriate settings for each family member, enable safe search, block certain ads, and more.

The parental control settings and other features are performed through Netgear's Orbi app on iOS and Android, including the device's setup process. In the app, users can perform speed tests, manage devices on their network, troubleshoot connectivity issues, and more.

The Orbi Dual Band Mesh Wi-Fi System is available to purchase today for $229.99, including one router and two satellites.

Tags: NETGEAR, Orbi
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Apple Sending User Data to Chinese Company for Fraudulent Website Warnings in Safari

Apple's Fraudulent Website Warning feature in Safari for iOS and Mac has come under scrutiny for using Chinese internet giant Tencent as one of its Safe Browsing providers.

The Safari feature has long sent data to Google Safe Browsing to cross-reference URLs against a blacklist and protect users against phishing scams and sites that attempt to push malware. However, it's unclear when Apple started sending user data to Tencent as well.

Apple notes in iOS that it sends some user IP addresses to Tencent, but most users are probably unaware of the fact. The mention can be found in the "About Safari & Privacy" screen, which is linked via small text under the Privacy & Security section in Settings -> Safari. The Fraudulent Website Warning feature also found here is enabled by default, so users aren't likely to know that their IP address may be logged unless they opt to view the information screen.

Apple's reference to Tencent has been found on devices running iOS 13, but some tweets suggest versions as early as iOS 12.2 also included the Chinese company as a safe browsing provider.

At this point, it's difficult to know for sure whether Apple users residing outside of China are having their data sent to Tencent, but the company appears to be mentioned on iPhones and iPads registered in the U.S. and the U.K., and possibly in other countries, too.


The privacy implications of shifting Safe Browsing to Tencent's servers are unknown, because Apple hasn't said much about it. However, according to Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green, a malicious provider could theoretically use Google's Safe Browsing approach to de-anonymize a user by linking their site requests.

Apple's relationship with the Chinese government has come in for increasing criticism lately, and that could make customers uneasy about Apple's links to Tencent, which is known to work closely with the Chinese Communist Party.

As such, Green believes users "deserve to be informed about this kind of change and to make choices about it. At very least, users should learn about these changes before Apple pushes the feature into production, and thus asks millions of their customers to trust them."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: China, Safari
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Kuo: iPhone SE 2 Launching in Q1 2020 with A13 at $399 Price

Apple is planning on releasing an iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020 and starting at a $399 price point, according to the latest research report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 8
Kuo goes into more detail about the expected specs of the so called "‌iPhone SE‌ 2" in the latest research note obtained by MacRumors. Specs for the new low-end iPhone are said to include:
  • A13 CPU (same as iPhone 11)
  • 3GB LPDDR4X
  • 64GB and 128GB options
  • Space Gray, Silver and Red colors
  • No 3D Touch
Kuo expects the new ‌iPhone SE‌ 2 will be a popular upgrade option for existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S owners.

Despite being referred to as a "‌iPhone SE‌ 2" by Kuo, the analyst expects the form factor of Apple's new budget iPhone to be similar to the iPhone 8.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE
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PSA: Apple Mail Bugs Can Lead to Data Loss in macOS Catalina

Michael Tsai, the developer of EagleFiler and the SpamSieve plug-in for Apple Mail on Mac, has written a blog post warning macOS users about potential data loss in Mail when upgrading to macOS Catalina 10.15.0 (build 19A583).

According to Tsai, he's heard from several users that updating Mail's data store from Mojave to Catalina sometimes says that it has succeeded, when in fact on closer inspection it turns out that large numbers of messages are incomplete or missing entirely.

In addition, users have reported the loss of message content when moving emails between mailboxes. From Tsai's post:
Moving messages between mailboxes, both via drag-and-drop and AppleScript, can result in a blank message (only headers) on the Mac. If the message was moved to a server mailbox, other devices see the message as deleted. And eventually this syncs back to the first Mac, where the message disappears as well.
Tsai warns that these issues are particularly pernicious because users may not realize anything's wrong unless they look at affected messages or mailboxes. Since the data is synced to the server, these problems can also propagate to other computers and devices, and relying on backups is difficult because Mail data is continually changing and there's no easy way to merge restored data with messages received since the last backup.

Despite the latter risk, it's still good practice to make backups, but Tsai notes that Apple Support appears to be erroneously advising users that lost Mail data in Catalina can't be recovered from a Time Machine backup made using macOS Mojave.

According to Tsai, this is not the case: Apple Mail's File -> Import Mailboxes... menu bar option can be used to selectively import them into Mail in Catalina as new local mailboxes.

Tsai says he's unsure whether these issues are due to Mail bugs or to other factors such as problems on the Mac or with the mail server. Apple released ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.1 beta to developers on Friday, but it's still unclear if this version resolves the Mail app bugs. Regardless, Tsai's advice to users who rely on Apple Mail is to "hold off on updating to Catalina for now."

Affected readers can find the full breakdown of the issues here. Have you had problems with Mail since updating to Catalina? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina
Tag: Mail
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AirPlay 2 Speakers Compared: Sonos Move vs. Bose Portable Home Speaker

Bose and Sonos, both well-known speaker manufacturers, recently came out with new AirPlay 2-enabled speakers that are designed to work with Apple's latest ‌AirPlay‌ protocol and offer an alternative to products like the HomePod.

In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with the Bose Portable Home Speaker and the Sonos Move to see what the speakers have to offer and how they compare to one another.


Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Both the Bose Portable and the Sonos Move are designed to offer a premium audio experience and are more expensive than the ‌HomePod‌. The Sonos Move costs $399 and the Bose Portable costs $349, but each company is known for its audio quality and audiophiles won't flinch at that price point.

When it comes to design, the Bose Portable and Sonos Move are both fairly standard looking vertical speakers with simple designs, but the Sonos Move is quite a bit larger than the Bose Portable, which also comes with a little handle, hence the "portable" part of the name. The Sonos Move has a built-in handle that's a bit more subtle for when you need to move it around.

Size wise, the Sonos Move is in between a Sonos One and Sonos Play:3 speaker. It's all black with Sonos branding on the front and media playback controls at the top. There's a power button, a button for linking multiple Sonos speakers, and a button to switch between Bluetooth and WiFi.

The smaller Bose Portable is cylindrical in shape like other 360-degree speakers, but with a high-quality construction. Media controls are located at the top, and it too is able to swap between Bluetooth and WiFi. The Sonos Move and Bose Portable both have durable builds and they're water resistant.

Both speakers charge over USB-C, and the Sonos Move includes a useful charging cradle that makes it easier to charge right out of the box. There's a comparable charging cradle for the Bose Portable, but it's sold separately and costs an extra $30.

The Sonos Move and the Bose Portable are ‌AirPlay‌ 2 compatible, so you can control the audio with your Apple devices and create a whole home audio system with other ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled devices with just a tap or two. Sonos, of course, has been doing whole home audio for years, but the benefit of ‌AirPlay‌ 2 is that it allows all ‌AirPlay‌ 2 devices from different brands to work together.

The Sonos Move is Sonos' first Bluetooth speaker that can be used on the go - no WiFi connection required. The same is true of the Bose Portable. Through the Sonos and Bose apps, Alexa and Google Assistant are available for controlling audio and syncing with music services, but there's no Siri integration, of course.

Both of the speakers offer crisp, clear audio that sounds fantastic. Each one can deliver high-quality sound even at louder volumes, with no distortion. Bose had a slight edge over the Sonos Move in our testing because we were able to adjust audio settings in the Bose app and the Sonos Move seemed to be lacking a bit in the low end. All in all, though, both speakers sounded great, which should be expected given their high prices.

The Sonos Move is going to appeal to those who prefer Sonos devices and already have a Sonos setup, while the Bose Portable may be the better choice for those looking to save $50. Do you prefer the Sonos Move or the Bose Portable? Let us know in the comments.

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iOS 13.2 Beta 2 Bricking Some iPad Pro Models, Update Now Unavailable

Following the release of iOS 13.2 beta 2 yesterday, some 2018 iPad Pro owners found that the update failed to install properly, ultimately bricking their tablets and requiring a full restore.


We've seen several complaints from ‌iPad Pro‌ owners who were affected by the issue, and in some cases, even a restore from DFU mode failed to work. From the MacRumors forums:
My ‌iPad Pro‌ 11" is in the same position, it failed during the update of iOS 13.2 beta 2. What you can try is putting it into DFU mode (press volume up, volume down, then hold power for 5 or so seconds) and plug it into iTunes via cable to restore it that way.

However, unfortunately mine gets an error when i try this so i have an Apple appointment tomorrow to get them to fix it.
Amid these reports, Apple appears to have pulled the iOS 13.2 beta 2 update for the ‌iPad Pro‌ as attempting to install the software at this time now produces an error message that the update was unable to be verified because of a lack of an internet connection, despite a connection being available.

Apple appears to have been blocking the iOS 13.2 beta update from the ‌iPad Pro‌ as of last night, and the company likely has a new version in the works that is safer to install. For now, ‌iPad Pro‌ owners should avoid attempting to install iOS 13.2.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS
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Apple Releases First Beta of Upcoming macOS Catalina 10.15.1 Update

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Catalina 10.15.1 update to developers, just days after releasing macOS Catalina to the public.

The new ‌macOS Catalina‌ beta can be downloaded using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the proper software from the Developer Center.


It's not yet known what improvements the first update to ‌macOS Catalina‌ will bring, but it likely includes performance improvements and fixes for bugs that weren't able to be addressed in the first version of Catalina.

‌macOS Catalina‌ is a major update that eliminates iTunes in favor of new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps, nixes support for 32-bit apps, adds a new Find My app, brings a new Photos interface, and includes multiple privacy enhancements and other app refinements.

For full details on what's new in ‌macOS Catalina‌, make sure to check out our macOS Catalina roundup.

Update: According to Apple's release notes, ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.1 introduces support for the AMD Navi RDNA eGPU architecture and brings some changes to ‌Photos‌. You can now filter by Favorites, Edited, ‌Photos‌, Videos, or Keywords in the All ‌Photos‌ view, and you can choose View > Metadata > Titles to enable titles and filenames in the All ‌Photos‌ View.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina
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Apple's Stock Sets New All-Time High

Apple shares are currently trading above the $234 mark on the intraday market, setting a new all-time high for the company. As noted by CNBC, the stock's previous all-time high was $233.47 in October 2018.


AAPL has surged nearly 10 percent over the past month, fueled in part by multiple reports indicating that iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro sales have been better than expected so far in several countries, including the United States, China, and India, something that Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to in a recent interview.

Apple is set to report its fourth quarter earnings results on Wednesday, October 30 after the stock market closes.

Tag: AAPL
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World War II Drama 'Masters of the Air' Will Be Apple's First In-House Apple TV+ Series

Apple has set up its own internal production studio called "Masters," run by the company's heads of worldwide video, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. The studio's first project will be a follow-up series to HBO's "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" called "Masters of the Air," set to launch exclusively on Apple TV+ (via Variety).


The new show will follow the true story of the American bomber boys in World War II, based on the book of the same name by Donald L. Miller. It will be written by John Orloff, who worked on "Band of Brothers." Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks will also produce "Masters of the Air," reprising their producer roles from the previous shows.

Although Apple has announced numerous TV shows and films for ‌Apple TV‌+, "Masters of the Air" will be the first piece of content produced and launched in-house from the new production studio. All the shows on ‌Apple TV‌+ that have been previously announced were created in partnership with other studios, like "Amazing Stories," which was produced through Spielberg's Amblin Television.

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Apple Arcade Adds Five New Games for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

Apple Arcade today gained five new games for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV:
  • Decoherence by Efecto Studios: A strategy game that tasks players with building robots and planning a battle strategy for victory.
  • INMOST by Chucklefish: An atmospheric, story-driven puzzle platformer following three playable characters within one dark, interconnecting story.
  • Mind Symphony by Rogue Games: A classic shoot-'em-up game with both an intense, fast-pace mode and a calm mode with peaceful, rhythmic interactions focused on relaxation.
  • ShockRods by Stainless Games: A vehicle-based arena shooter where players score points by shooting opponents, achieving objectives, scoring goals, stealing the other team's flag, or dealing the most destruction.
  • Stela by SkyBox Labs: A cinematic, atmospheric platformer about a young woman witnessing the final days of a mysterious ancient world.

Apple Arcade also added two more games for the Mac on Thursday:
  • Pilgrims by Amanita Design: A playful adventure game in which players roam the land and solve various tasks using dozens of items and unique characters, and without being obliged to follow a single designated path.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens by WayForward: Traverse a vast, interconnected undersea world, make new Half-Genie friends, and battle the Seven Sirens as part of an all-new tropical adventure.
Trailers for some of the games:







Apple Arcade is Apple's new subscription-based gaming service, providing iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac users with access to dozens of games with no in-app purchases or ads for $4.99 per month. With these additions, Apple Arcade now has a total of 80 games for iOS and tvOS, while there are 61 games for the Mac.

Apple Arcade officially launched on September 19 for iPhone and iPad, although some users were able to access the service a few days early. Either way, the one-month free trial period will soon come to an end for early adopters.

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Apple Sets 'Aggressive' 2022 Deadline to Bring Custom 5G Modems to iPhones

Apple has reportedly set an aggressive 2022 deadline to develop in-house 5G modems as part of a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design to be used in future iPhones and iPads, claims a new report today.


According to Fast Company, Apple plans to have completed all the development, testing, and certification necessary by the new deadline to be able to include the modems in new iPhones the same year.

However, given the arduous testing and certification process required after the chip design and fabrication is complete, a two-years deadline for the modem is "really pushing it," according to the report's source, who is said to have knowledge of Apple's plans.

The main stumbling block is said to be the network optimization testing that's necessary to make sure the modem doesn't conflict with the wireless networks of other carriers. In addition, tests are needed to ensure compliance with global standards, not to mention the ability of the modem to satisfy FCC requirements.

Given those hurdles, Fast Company's source believes 2023 may be a more realistic completion date for Apple's SoC modem.

Apple agreed to acquire the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business in June, with a view to accelerating the development of its own 5G modem. A previous source claimed the iPhone maker wants to have an in-house chip ready for use in some of its products by 2021, while earlier sources reported timeframes of between 2022 and 2025.

Whatever the timeline is and regardless of whether Apple is able to stick to it, the company's transition to custom 5G modems will likely happen in phases, starting with lower-end and older models of devices. Apple has a multiyear chipset supply agreement with Qualcomm, and a six-year patent license agreement, so it doesn't exactly have to rush the process.

In the meantime, Apple is expected to use Qualcomm's chips for the first 5G-enabled iPhones in 2020.

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