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Apple Likely to Drop Adobe Flash Support in Next Version of Safari

As noted in our coverage yesterday of the latest Safari Technology Preview 99, Apple has removed all support for Adobe Flash. Safari Technology Preview is basically a beta of the next version of Safari proper, all but confirming that Apple is officially ditching support for Flash in the next version of its native Mac browser.



This means that when the next version of Safari is released, users will no longer be able to install or use Adobe Flash in the browser. The elimination of Flash support should not heavily impact users, given that most other popular browsers have already moved away from the format. Likewise, iPhone and iPad users won’t be affected because Apple’s mobile operating system has never supported Flash.

It was way back in July 2017 that Adobe announced plans to end-of-life its Flash browser plug-in. Adobe said it was ceasing development and distribution of the software at the end of 2020, and encouraged content creators to migrate flash content to HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly formats.

Adobe’s Flash Player has always suffered from a seemingly never-ending stream of critical vulnerabilities that have exposed Mac and PC users to malware and other security risks. Vendors like Microsoft and Apple have had to work continually over the years to keep up with security fixes. Apple went so far as to stop selling Macs with Flash pre-installed, to ensure they weren’t being shipped with outdated versions of the software and putting users at risk.

Some readers may fondly recall Steve Jobs’ famous 2010 open letter offering his “Thoughts on Flash,” in which the former Apple CEO railed against Adobe’s software for its poor reliability, lack of openness, incompatibility with mobile sites and battery drain on mobile devices.

We don’t know when the next version of Safari browser for Mac will be released to the public. In any case, it’s safe to say that Flash will not be missed.

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Amazon Music Gains on Apple Music With Over 55 Million Subscribers Globally

Amazon Music now has more than 55 million customers worldwide, according to a company press release. The announcement represents the first time Amazon has shared growth metrics for its streaming service, which is catching up to Apple Music‘s last subscriber count of over 60 million last June.

The figure is actually a tally of customers across several tiers that Amazon offers. Amazon Music Unlimited is the $9.99 a month plan that serves as a direct rival to Spotify and ‌Apple Music‌. According to Amazon, subscriptions numbers on this tier grew by more than 50 percent last year alone.

The other tiers include: Amazon Music Unlimited ($3.99 single-device plan) for customers who just want to listen on an Echo speaker; Amazon Music for Prime subscribers, which includes ad-free access to over 2 million songs; ad-sponsored Amazon Music, a free plan offering access to top playlists and thousands of music stations; and Amazon HD, a high-definition tier costing $14.99 a month.

Amazon says its streaming service has grown nearly 50 percent year-on-year across the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan, and has more than doubled in its newer markets like France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico

Despite the respectable growth across its range of tiers, Amazon Music has some way to go before it catches up to Spotify, which in September announced it had 113 million paying customers.

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Twitter Brings Emoji Reactions to Direct Messages

Twitter has announced support for emoji reactions in its direct messages. The new feature lets you respond to DMs without having to type anything, similar to the reactions available to iMessage users when they want to acknowledge messages without sending a proper reply.

To use the new emoji reactions in Twitter, either tap the small heart icon with the plus sign merging into it that appears to the right of each message bubble, or double-tap a message to reveal an emoji reactions menu.

There are seven emoji at present, including staple reactions like laughing face, sad face, thumbs up, and heart. All participants in a conversation get notified when you lay down an emoji, but you can also undo them at any time.



Twitter first started testing emoji reactions last year, but the feature has now rolled out on mobile and web. Twitter’s support page notes that anyone using an older version of its official app will only see text instead of emoji.

Tag: Twitter

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Svalt Launches New Lineup of Cooling Stands and Docks for Macs

Svalt, known for its line of docks designed for Apple’s Macs, today launched a whole new collection of 2020 docks and stands designed for Apple’s latest notebook and desktop Macs.

The Cooling Stand S, designed for the 16-inch MacBook Pro and other Mac and PC laptops, features silent passive cooling, an ergonomic raised design, adjustable feet, and a design that hides accessories and cord clutter.



There’s also a Cooling Stand S Pro, a variant of the Cooling Stand S that comes equipped with a fan for active cooling to complement the passive cooling features. The fan offers dual speeds depending on whether quiet operation or maximum cooling is preferred, and it is user upgradeable.



For the Mac mini, Svalt has a Cooling Stand Mini that offers both passive and active cooling with a built-in dual-speed fan and a design that hides away cords and accessories.



The Svalt Cooling Stand S sells for $179, the S Pro sells for $279, and the S Mini sells for $269, with purchases available now from the Svalt website. All of the stands are modular and can be converted to accommodate other devices with additional add-on accessories.



Svalt also has a new Cooling Dock Model D, which is designed to be used with a ‌MacBook Pro‌ in clamshell mode. It features a sculpted aluminum heat sink and a flexible leaning design for optimized silent passive cooling. The Svalt Dock D can be purchased from the Svalt website for $169, though adding a fan will raise the price.

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How to Export Apple Card Data to a Spreadsheet

One of the issues that Apple Card users sometimes raise is that while the Wallet app offers plenty of well-organized information about spending, there’s no option to directly share transaction data from the card with third-party money management apps like Mint or Lunch Money.

Fortunately, Apple recently provided a solution – you can now download a CSV spreadsheet from the Wallet app that contains all your ‌Apple Card‌ data, which you can then import into most budgeting apps and get a more complete picture of your finances. The following steps show you how it’s done.

  1. Launch the Wallet app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Card Balance panel under your ‌Apple Card‌.
  3. Scroll down to the Statements section and tap on the month you wish to export transactions from.

    Apple Card
  4. Tap Export Transactions at the bottom.
  5. To save the data as a CSV file, tap the Share icon in the upper-right corner of the screen, where you can opt to AirDrop it to another device such as your Mac, print it, or Save to Files to save it your iCloud folders or on your ‌iPhone‌.

‌‌Apple Card‌‌ transactions are exported from the Share Sheet options as a CSV document, but in the future, Apple also plans to add an OFX option.

Note that some budgeting apps accept imported transaction data, but may need file format conversions prior to import (Quicken, for example).

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Flaws in Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention Safari Feature Let People Be Tracked

Google researchers discovered multiple security flaws in Apple’s Safari web browser that let users’ browsing habits be tracked despite Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature.

Google plans to publish details on the security flaws in the near future, and a preview of Google’s discovery was seen by Financial Times, with the publication sharing information on the vulnerabilities this morning.

The security flaws were first found by Google in the summer of 2019, and were disclosed to Apple in August. There were five types of potential attacks that could allow third parties to learn “sensitive private information about the user’s browsing habits.”

Google researchers say that Safari left personal data exposed because the Intelligent Tracking Prevention List “implicitly stores information about the websites visited by the user.” Malicious entities could use these flaws to create a “persistent fingerprint” that would follow a user around the web or see what individual users were searching for on search engine pages.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which Apple began implementing in 2017, is a privacy-focused feature meant to make it harder for sites to track users across the web, preventing browsing profiles and histories from being created.

Lukasz Olejnik, a security researcher who saw Google’s paper, said that if exploited, the vulnerabilities “would allow unsanctioned and uncontrollable user tracking.” Olejnik said that such privacy vulnerabilities are rare, and “issues in mechanisms designed to improve privacy are unexpected and highly counter-intuitive.”

Apple appears to have addressed these Safari security flaws in a December update, based on a release update that thanked Google for its “responsible disclosure practice,” though full security credit has not yet been provided by Apple so there’s a chance that there’s still some behind-the-scenes fixing to be done.

Tags: Google, Safari

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Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 updates to developers, one week after seeding the second betas and more than a month after the release of iOS 13.3 with Communication Limits for Screen Time.

iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.3.1 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been installed.



iOS 13.3.1 includes a “Networking & Wireless” toggle that turns off the U1 Ultra Wideband chip in the latest iPhones. The feature, located in the Privacy > Location Services section of the Settings app, turns off location for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ultra Wideband.

Apple added this location toggle after it was discovered that the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max continue to track user location even when location services options are disabled. This is because there are international regulatory requirements that mandate the U1 chip be disabled in certain locations.

The new toggle makes sure location tracking is off for the U1 chip at all times. Apple has also added a new “Play Again” button when replaying content that you’ve already watched in the TV app.

Along with these features, the iOS 13.3.1 update also likely includes bug fixes for issues unable to be addressed in the iOS 13.3 update. Specifically, it could address some issues with Communication Limits, fixing a workaround with the Contacts app that allowed children text someone who contacted them from an unknown number.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 6.1.2 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 6.1.2 update to developers, one week after releasing the second beta and more than a month after releasing the watchOS 6.1.1 update with bug fixes.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update.



To install the update, the ‌‌‌Apple Watch‌‌‌ needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the ‌‌iPhone‌‌.

There’s no word yet on what features are included in the watchOS 6.1.2 beta, and there were no new features discovered in the first two betas, but we’ll update this article should anything new be found in the third beta.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 13.3.1 Update to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 13.3.1 update to developers, one week after seeding the second beta and over a month after releasing the tvOS 13.3 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 13.3.1 developer beta can be downloaded onto the ‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌ via a profile that’s installed using Xcode.



tvOS updates are typically minor in scale, focusing on under-the-hood bug fixes and improvements rather than major outward-facing changes. Apple provides little to no information on what’s included in tvOS beta updates, so we may not discover anything new after installing the software.

While we don’t often know what’s new in tvOS during the beta testing process, we let MacRumors readers know when new updates are available so those who are developers can download it upon release.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 13
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)

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Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 99 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 99 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for Web Inspector, Web API, Cookies, CSS, Media, WebRTC, Payment Request, Web Animations, JavaScript, Web Share API, WebDriver, and IndexedDB. Today’s update also removes support for Adobe Flash.

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 released in October.

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.

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