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TeenSafe parental monitoring service leaks thousands of childrens’ passwords

A service designed to help parents monitor their childrens’ internet activity on iPhone and Andorid devices has leaked thousands of users’ passwords, ZDNet reports. The service, TeenSafe, purports to be a “secure” monitoring app for both iOS and Android designed to allow parents to view their child’s text message conversations, monitor who they’re calling, accessing their location and web browsing history, and more. It appears, however, that for iOS devices the service relies on parents supplying their childrens’ Apple ID passwords, which are stored on the company’s servers, possibly in order to access iCloud data. However, a U.K. based security researcher, Robert Wiggins, discovered last week that TeenSafe had actually left one or more of its servers unprotected and accessible by anyone without even a password requirement.

App creators unite, form ‘Developers Union’ to call for App Store changes

A group of developers have joined forces, penning an open letter asking Apple to commit to making certain key changes to the App Store. Calling themselves The Developers Union, the group is specifically pushing for Apple to allow free trials for all apps in both the iOS and Mac App Stores by July 2019.

We believe that people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it. So we created The Developers Union to advocate for sustainability in the App Store.

Today, we are asking Apple to publicly commit — by the tenth anniversary of the App Store this July — to allowing free trials for all apps in the App Stores before July 2019. After that, we’ll start advocating for a more reasonable revenue cut and other community-driven, developer-friendly changes.

 

Twitter extends API shutdown deadline to August, third-party apps may still lose functionality

Twitter has announced that it will delay its controversial API changes until August 16, providing developers of third-party twitter clients with more time to update their apps. A coalition of Twitter developers raised a public protest against the upcoming changes last month, noting that even thought Twitter had announced a new Account Activity API in April 2017, the company had yet to actually make the new API available to developers even a year later, despite a looming shutdown of the legacy APIs on June 19, 2018. Today, Twitter announced the general availability of the new Account Activity API that developers have been waiting for, while also extending the deadline to allow developers to actually take advantage of it, noting that “Site Streams, User Streams, and legacy Direct Message endpoints, originally slated for retirement on June 19th 2018, will be deprecated on Wednesday August 16, 2018 which provides 3 months from today’s release of the Account Activity API for migration.”

The new Google News lands on the App Store

Google’s overhauled News app is now available on the App Store. Originally unveiled at Google’s I/O conference last week, the new Google News features not only a redesigned user interface that promises “an improved reading experience,” but also new AI-powered machine learning to try and create a personalized news feed for each user, using algorithms that try to stay on top of breaking news and organize it into more relevant storylines, allowing users to more easily sift through the news and focus on the topics they’re interested in. The new Google News app — which replaces Google’s former Play Newsstand app — appears to borrow some of its UI concepts from Apple News; for example, a new “Your briefing” section provides an overview of user-tailored content in one place, mixing headlines, local news, and breaking developments on a focused set of topics. “Full coverage” allows users to dig deeper on a given story, highlighting different perspectives and providing a timeline of key events and other relevant info.

Another new Unicode text bug discovered affecting iOS Messages

The iPhone is prone to another Unicode text bug, being dubbed the “black dot” bug. Outlined in a new video by EverythingApplePro (via 9to5Mac), the bug was first discovered on WhatsApp on Android, although it affects several other platforms as well, including the iOS Messages app. The bug was originally spread with the “black dot” emoji, but actually relies on the crafting of Unicode text strings that contain thousands of invisible Unicode characters that cause the receiving device to churn through CPU cycles in an attempt to process them, and such a string received as an iMessage will cause the recipient’s Messages app to repeatedly crash, much like other special-text bugs recently encountered.

Apple pulling apps that share location data with third parties without consent

Apple appears to be cracking down on apps that are sharing location data with third parties, according to a report by 9to5Mac. Over the last several days, Apple has been pulling apps from the App Store, informing developers that they violate sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, which cover privacy and obtaining user consent before collecting any kind of personal data, which of course includes location information. Emails sent to developers are advising them that Apple has determined “upon re-evaluation” of their apps that they are in violation of these sections of the App Store Review Guidelines, and that they will need to “remove any code, frameworks, or SDKs that relate to the violation” before resubmitting their app to the App Store.

Apple to require all iOS app updates to include iPhone X support starting in July

Apple has announced to developers that as of July, all app updates submitted to the App Store will need to support the iPhone X display and be built with the iOS 11 SDK. Apple has been enforcing the policy for all new app submissions since last month, following an announcement to developers earlier this year. With the latest announcement, the policy has been extended to any app updates that developers want to submit, which will help push actively developed apps to gain support for the iPhone X Super Retina display. Developers submitting updates will also presumably need to abide by the same App Submission Guidelines requiring that they include proper iPhone X screenshots with their updates.

Texture’s Windows magazine app shutting down following Apple acquisition

Texture — the digital magazine subscription service recently acquired by Apple — will be shutting down its Windows app at the end of June. The Verge notes that Windows users have been informed via e-mail and an in-app note that indicates that the app “will stop working and will no longer be available in the Microsoft Store” after June 30th. Texture’s Android, Amazon Fire, and iOS apps are unaffected by this, however, suggesting that this is likely not about cutting off non-Apple users so much as retiring an app that appears to have been poorly maintained for years. The Verge report notes that the app hasn’t been updated in a long time, and the app’s reviews on the Windows Store consist mostly of users complaining about how poorly the app works, and how in some cases they can’t even download magazines — from an app whose entire reason for existence is to allow users to download magazines.

NPR announces acquisition of Pocket Casts

NPR has announced the acquisition of the popular podcasting app Pocket Casts by a consortium consisting of NPR, two public radio stations — WNYC Studios and WBEZ Chicago — and This American Life. The companies represent four of the top podcast producers in the U.S., and the announcement describes the acquisition as a move that “furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market.” Former Executive Vice Present and General Manager at iHeartRadio, Owen Grover, has been tagged to become the new CEO of Pocket Casts, which will operate as a joint venture with the apps founders Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic remaining in unspecified leadership roles and the existing staff and developer team remaining in place. A new board will also be formed for Pocket Casts made up of “representatives of public media leaders” in order to “ensure development aligns with the mission-driven ethos of public radio.” [via The Verge]

Google expands Advanced Protection to include native iOS apps

Google has announced improvements to its Advanced Protection Program that will allow users of Apple’s native iOS Mail, Calendar, and Contacts to enrol in the program and and access Google’s services without having to resort to using Google’s own iOS apps. Google’s Advanced Protection Program is designed to provide a very high level of account security for users such as journalists, activists, executives, and politicians, who are likely to have a higher risk of targeted attacks against their accounts, although there are no restrictions on who can enrol in the program.

Google releases ‘Google Tasks’ for iOS

Google has released Google Tasks, the company’s first standalone app for natively managing tasks on an iPhone. The new app is part of a major redesign of Gmail that began rolling out today, and although the new app appears to be pretty basic, it promises to bring some order to the chaos that has been task management in Google’s apps — previously a hodge-podge between “reminders” that could be set in Google Inbox, Google Calendar, and Google Keep, and an older simple web-based “Tasks” apple that existed primarily within the Gmail web interface.

Apple’s new App Store design can boost featured apps by up to 800 percent

Apple’s App Store redesign in iOS 11 is paying off for developers, with a new study from Sensor Tower (via TechCrunch) revealing that apps landing in the featured spots on the new App Store can see a boost in downloads by as much as 800 percent. The study analyzed data from Sept. 2017 to the present finding that the median U.S. iPhone downloads for apps that appeared in the “Game of the Day” spot increased by 802 percent during the week following the feature, as compared to the week prior. Apps landing in “App of the Day” saw a slightly lower but still significant boost of 685 percent. Increases were somewhat lower for apps simply featured in App Store Stories or App Lists, but still showed a demonstrable increase.

Foodspotting shutting down

Popular foodie app Foodspotting has rather abruptly announced that it will be shutting down entirely early next month. The plans were announced on the company’s website and in a “version 6.0” update to the Foodspotting app, which included release notes saying “All good things must come to an end – even Foodspotting” and pointing users to the company’s web site for more information.

Agile Tortoise releases Drafts 5

Agile Tortoise has released Drafts 5, a full rewrite of the company’s very popular quick note taking app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The new version expands on the classic Drafts 4 experience with improved editing tools, tappable task marks for creating shopping lists and other quick tasks, and deeper customizability through app-wide themes and custom icons. The new version also provides better ways to organize information in Drafts, such as tagging, workspaces, next-previous navigation, and a new “Focus Mode,” and improves capture with SiriKit integration, allowing notes to be created in Drafts right from a “Hey Siri” command. Action and scripting capabilities have also been significantly enhanced, allowing for more advanced workflows. A full list of what’s new is available on the company’s website.

Upcoming Twitter API changes will break third-party apps

Upcoming API changes to Twitter will limit important functionality in third-party Twitter apps, according to a new post by a coalition of developers at Apps of a Feather. Back in December, Twitter announced plans to discontinue “streaming services” as of June 19, 2018, which as the developers point out will break both push notifications and automatic timeline refresh in third-party Twitter apps such as Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, and Twitterrific.

Scanbot 7 adds advanced filters, overhauled design

Scanbot has released a major update to its eponymous iOS scanning app, with the new Scanbot 7 delivering a significant redesign along with sophisticated new filters based on machine learning algorithms and search and performance improvements. The new filters provide advanced document processing that result in extremely sharp text, truer whites, and more vivid colors as well as adding the ability for users to now tweak filer settings such as contrast, brightness, and saturation. The redesigned user interface also provides a more intuitive experience along with expanded themes including high contrast theme for visually impaired users, along with a legacy theme for those who preferred the old style. New search capabilities now allow scans to quickly be located by tag, location, or date, and other speed improvements include keyboard-based text annotations and a reworked document processing engine that produces faster results and more lightweight PDFs. Scanbot has also partnered with DATEV eG, a cloud service aimed at professionals such as tax advisors, financial auditors, and lawyers to help those using Scanbot in a business context easily upload documents for further processing and sharing. Scanbot 7 is available from the App Store as a free download, with an in-app “Pro” upgrade providing access to advanced features such as OCR, PDF editing and encryption, iCloud support, passcode protection, and themes; a “Lite” option is also now available via in-app purchase that provides basic in-document PDF search and annotation for a lower price.

GarageBand gets new “Toy Box” educational sound pack, TrueDepth facial control

Following today’s education event in Chicago, Apple has released an update to GarageBand for iOS unveiling a free new education-themed sound pack, “Toy Box”, along with support for controlling musical effects using the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X.  The new sound pack includes over 400 Apple Loops, three drum kits, ten keyboard instruments, and five Live Loop grids, focused on education with sounds such as animals, vehicles, and counting to ten in different languages. TrueDepth camera support allows iPhone X users to control effects like guitar wah and synth parameters using facial expressions, and the update also adds a Modern Wah guitar stompbox effect.

Apple updates Clips with new Selfie Scenes, education-themed posters

Apple has released a content update to its Clips app, adding a collection of new styles, fonts, colors, layouts, stickers, and more. Specifically, the update adds four new Live Title styles, for new animated labels, nine new animated stickers, eleven new Apple-designed posters, including education-themed blackboard and notebook designs in line with the education event Apple held earlier today. iPhone X users also gain two new Disney-Pixar Selfie Scenes from “Finding Dory” and “Monsters, Inc.” In addition to the new content, the update also fixes some minor bugs and polishes up some of the design elements.

Microsoft rolls out iPad support with Edge iOS app update

Microsoft has released an update to its Edge iOS app that finally includes full support for the iPad. While iPad users have technically been able use the iPhone version of Edge on their device, the experience was less than ideal since the app was scaled up in an unappealing way and limited to portrait mode. The update doesn’t seem to include the ability to use the Apple Pencil for markups even though the Edge browser currently lets Microsoft tablet users mark up websites with a stylus.

QR code exploit could use iOS Camera app to misdirect users to malicious sites

Infosec has discovered a potential exploit using the QR code-reading capabilities of the iOS Camera app that would allow one URL to be displayed while directing users to another hidden link. The simple code tweak allows those generating a QR code to set their link to display a safe-looking or familiar URL in the iOS confirmation box that pops up when a QR code is scanned, only to deliver the user to another URL entirely that was placed later in the code. The issue has been reported to Apple but hasn’t been fixed yet.

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