Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 92 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced three years ago in March 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 92 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for JavaScript, WebGPU, SVG, Images, Web API, Service Workers, WebRTC, IndexedDB, Web Inspector, Accessibility, and Security.

The new Safari Technology Preview update is available for both macOS Mojave and MacOS Catalina, the newest version of the Mac operating system that was introduced at the June Worldwide Developers Conference.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Apple Says EU-Ireland Tax Order 'Defies Reality and Common Sense'

Apple on Tuesday argued that the European Union's order for it to pay 13 billion euros ($14.3 billion) in back taxes to Ireland "defies reality and common sense," as it kicked off its legal challenge against the ruling.


According to Reuters, Apple also said the European Commission was using its powers "to retrofit changes to national law," which would create legal uncertainty for businesses.

Apple sent a six-person delegation led by its CFO Luca Maestri to the two-day court hearing taking place over Tuesday and Wednesday in Luxembourg. The company is arguing the same case that CEO Tim Cook made in a public letter about the tax ruling three years ago; namely, that Apple follows the law and pays all the taxes it owes in every country where it operates, including Ireland.

Apple also argues that nearly all of its research and development takes place in the United States, which is where the company pays the majority of its taxes.
"The Commission contends that essentially all of Apple's profits from all of its sales outside the Americas must be attributed to two branches in Ireland," Apple's lawyer Daniel Beard told the court.

He said the fact the iPhone, the iPad, the App Store, other Apple products and services and key intellectual property rights were developed in the United States, and not in Ireland, showed the flaws in the Commission's case.

"The branches' activities did not involve creating, developing or managing those rights. Based on the facts of this case, the primary line defies reality and common sense," Beard said.

"The activities of these two branches in Ireland simply could not be responsible for generating almost all of Apple's profits outside the Americas."
In 2016, the European Commission found Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland. Apple and Ireland both appealed the ruling, but the European Commission opened litigation against Ireland in October 2017 for its failure to procure Apple's back taxes, and Apple has already almost finished paying the back taxes it owes. If the order is overturned, the money will be returned to Apple.

Apple Joins Hollywood's Academy Software Foundation to Aid in Open Source Support

The Academy Software Foundation, a collaborative effort to advance open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, today announced that Apple has joined the foundation as a "premier" member.


"Filmmakers everywhere use Apple products. We are delighted to welcome Apple as a new member, and we look forward to working with them to ensure that our open source projects run well on Apple software platforms," said David Morin, Executive Director of the Academy Software Foundation.

Launched in August 2018 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation, the Academy Software Foundation is described as "a neutral forum for open source software developers to share resources and collaborate on technologies for image creation, visual effects, animation and sound."

Apple's streaming video service Apple TV+ will feature dozens of Hollywood-produced TV shows and movies. The service launches November 1 for $4.99 per month, including Family Sharing, with a free seven-day trial available.

Slack Launches Support for Dark Mode on Mac

Slack today launched dark mode for all desktop apps, including Mac, Windows, and Linux. This follows the company previously making dark mode available on iOS back in June.


To find dark mode in Slack on Mac, click on your name in the left sidebar > Preferences > Themes. This will show you a quick preview of how everything will look, and then you can choose to switch to dark mode or stay in light mode.

The company has also added new themes specifically tailored for dark mode, all of which are also available today. There is no required update to see dark mode on Slack, but you'll need to restart the app to get it to appear.

Slack also confirmed that in the near future you will be able to set Slack to switch automatically between light and dark mode, based on your macOS settings. The company didn't provide a specific release date for this feature but said it will be available fairly soon.

How to Use Firefox Private Network to Encrypt Your Web Traffic

Mozilla this week began piloting its own browser-based VPN service, and if you're located in the U.S. you can start testing it for free right away.

Called the Firefox Private Network, the service promises Firefox users a more secure, encrypted path to the web that prevents eavesdroppers from spying on your browsing activity and hides your location from websites and ad trackers.

In that respect, it won't protect any internet traffic outside of your web browser, but it's a good option if you want to use an encrypted connection on the fly when you're using Firefox on a public Wi-Fi network, for example.


As a time-limited beta, the Firefox Private Network is currently free to try, although this does suggest it may become a paid service in the future. You also need to be a U.S. resident logged into your Firefox account using Firefox desktop browser.

If you can fulfill those pre-requisites, you can install the private network by navigating to this page, clicking the blue + Add to Firefox button, then granting permission for the network to be added to the browser.


Click the door hanger icon that appears at the top-right corner of the toolbar, and you'll see a switch that you can use to toggle the VPN on and off. A green tick in the icon indicates the secure network is active and your browsing activity is being encrypted.

Opera browser offers a similar free VPN service that cloaks your web browsing, but with the added benefit that it lets you choose the continent that you want your connection to reside. So if you're looking to access a location-restricted service (Netflix, say) from abroad, you might have better luck using it instead.

Apple Seeds macOS Catalina Beta 8 to Developers

Apple today seeded the eighth beta of macOS 10.15 Catalina to developers, two weeks after seeding the seventh macOS Catalina beta and over two months after the new Mac operating system update was first unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

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.


macOS Catalina eliminates the iTunes app, splitting it into Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. The three new apps offer similar functionality to iTunes, but are split up by feature. iOS device management is still available on the Mac, but it's now done through the Finder rather than iTunes.

With a new Sidecar feature, you can turn your iPad into a second display for your Mac with just the click of a button. The Apple Pencil works with Sidecar, so you can turn your iPad into a drawing tablet in apps like Photoshop and Illustrator.

Your Apple Watch can be used to approve security prompts for passwords and other info in macOS Catalina, and Macs with a T2 chip now support Activation Lock, making them more secure. There's a new Find My that brings the Find My Mac app to the Mac for the first time and even lets you track your devices when they're offline, or, in the case of notebooks, closed.

Screen Time is available on the Mac as well as iOS devices, and Project Catalyst, a new Apple initiative, will let developers easily port their iPad apps over to the Mac to increase the number of Mac apps available.

There's a new Photos interface that surfaces your best photos organized by day, month, or year, there's a new start page in Safari, Mail has new tools for muting email threads and blocking senders, and the Reminders app has been overhauled.

32-bit apps no longer work in macOS Catalina, which is something to be aware of before installing the beta.

For more details on macOS Catalina, make sure to check out our macOS Catalina roundup. Apple will release macOS Catalina sometime in October.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

Apple Releasing macOS Catalina Update in October

Apple's latest Mac operating system, macOS Catalina, will see a launch sometime in October, the company announced today following its iPhone-centric event.

While iOS 13 and watchOS 6 will launch on Thursday, September 19, macOS Catalina will not be coming out at the same time.


Apple has not provided details on when specifically macOS Catalina will launch in October, so it could come at any time during the month.

Apple has in the past staggered the releases of its new software updates, so it's not too much of a surprise to see macOS Catalina launching at a later date.

If Apple holds an October event that sees the launch of new Macs, such as the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro, macOS Catalina could be timed with the release of the new machines.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

Deals Spotlight: 2019 MacBook Pro Discounted by as Much as $400 (Including Lowest Prices Ever)

New sales for the brand-new 2019 MacBook Pro have emerged this week, with some all-time-low prices on a few different models. Discounts have hit both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro, and reach as much as $400 off.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Notable new low prices include the 13-inch MacBook Pro (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for $1,599.99, down from $1,799.99; and the 15-inch model (16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) for $2,399.00, down from $2,799.00. These sales and more can be found on Amazon and are all listed below:

2019 MacBook Pro Sale


13-inch

15-inch

Our full Deals Roundup has more information on the latest Apple-related sales.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 91 With Legacy TLS 1.0 and 1.1 Disabled

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced three years ago in March 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 91 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for Javascript API, JavaScript Performance, Media, Web API, Rendering, Pointer Events, WebDriver, Web Inspector, and WebGPU.

Today's Safari Technology Preview update disables TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. Apple in October 2018 said that it plans to end support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in March 2020, and has recommended that apps adopt TLS 1.2 instead.

TLS 1.2 is the standard on Apple platforms, and according to Apple, represents 99.6 percent of connections made from Safari. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 account for less than 0.36 percent of connections.

The new Safari Technology Preview update is available for both macOS Mojave and MacOS Catalina, the newest version of the Mac operating system that was introduced at the June Worldwide Developers Conference.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Firefox 69 for Mac Brings Default Tracking Protection and Performance Improvements

Mozilla has launched Firefox 69 for Macs, boasting performance improvements and some notable updates to its security repertoire.

Firefox 69 for desktop now blocks third-party tracking cookies by default for all users. The feature is an existing part of the browser's Enhanced Tracking Protection system that was actually launched in June, but that introduced the default setting only for new users. Now even existing Firefox users are protected as standard.

Firefox's default anti-tracking smarts now also extend to blocking cryptomining, a nefarious practice that aggressively hogs processor cycles and battery life in the background as it mines for cryptocurrency while the unsuspecting user browses the web. Firefox 69 also blocks fingerprinting in the user-selected Strict mode, and Mozilla says it plans to turn this protection on by default in a later release.

Firefox users can tell if they have ETP enabled by looking for a shield icon in the address bar, which indicates tracker blocking is active. Users can also click on the icon to view a Content Blocking menu listing all currently blocked tracking cookies. From here, it's also possible to disable tracking cookie blocking on a per site basis.

Security aside, other new features in this release include the ability to block autoplaying videos, including those that don't play audio. For users in the US or using the en-US browser, there's a new New Tab page experience that connects them to the best of Pocket's content, while macOS users can also look forward to improved battery life and a download manager interface that displays file download progress.

Mozilla's full changelog can be found here. If you're already a Firefox user, you should receive an automatic upgrade after restarting the browser. For everyone else, Firefox 69 is available for macOS as a free download directly from the Mozilla website.

Western Digital Updates 'My Passport' Hard Drive Line With Up to 5TB Storage

Western Digital today introduced new My Passport and My Passport for Mac hard drives, which are equipped with up to 5TB of storage.

The drives are the slimmest 5TB options in the WD brand portfolio, measuring in at 0.75 inches thick, and Western Digital says they're about palm sized.


Western Digital refreshes its My Passport lineup each year, and this year's models have a new look in Black, Blue, and Red color options. My Passport hard drives are formatted for Windows 10 and feature a USB 3.0 connector.

The My Passport for Mac option, which is formatted for macOS Mojave and features a USB-C connector, comes in a Midnight Blue color option. Mac users who have a USB-C machine and are looking at WD hard drives will want the Mac version so it will work out of the box without an adapter.


The new drives are available starting now from the Western Digital Store and Best Buy in the United States. Prices start at $79.99 for 1TB of storage and go up from there.

Apple Temporarily Relaxes Notarization Requirements in macOS Catalina for Non Mac App Store Apps

Apple this afternoon reminded developers about upcoming notarization requirements for Mac apps created outside of the Mac App Store.

Apps that are distributed outside of the Mac App Store must be notarized by Apple in order to run on the macOS Catalina operating system set to be released this fall.


Apple says that to make the transition easier on both developers and Mac users, notarization prerequisites have been adjusted until January 2020.

Developers can now have apps notarized that do not meet certain previous requirements, such as an app that uses an older SDK or the inclusion of components not signed by a developer ID.

Apple has a full list of allowances on its developer website:
You can now notarize Mac software that:
- Doesn't have the Hardened Runtime capability enabled.
- Has components not signed with your Developer ID.
- Doesn't include a secure timestamp with your code-signing signature.
- Was built with an older SDK.
- Includes the com.apple.security.get-task-allow entitlement with the value set to any variation of true.
Apple has been requiring new software distributed with a Developer ID outside of the Mac App Store to be notarized in order to run since macOS Mojave 10.14.5.

Apple introduced notarization in macOS Mojave as a way to further protect Mac users from malicious and harmful apps.

For the notarization process, Apple provides trusted non Mac App Store developers with Developer IDs that are required to allow the Gatekeeper function on macOS to install non Mac App Store apps.

Notarization is not required for apps that are distributed through the Mac App Store. More information on notarization can be found on Apple's developer site.