Apple Fined $9 Million for Misleading Some Australian Customers Over ‘Error 53’ Device Repairs

The Australian government today fined Apple $9 million for misleading some customers into believing they could not have their iOS devices fixed by Apple if they had been previously repaired by a third-party repair shop, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Today’s ruling comes after the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) launched an investigation into Apple after the ACCC received complaints over “error 53,” issues.



Error 53, widely publicized in 2016, caused some iPhone 6 users who had the Home buttons on their iPhones fixed by a non-Apple technician using non-original parts to see their iPhones bricked following a software update.

When the error code first surfaced, Apple said that error 53 was a protective security feature meant to prevent “malicious” third-party components from potentially compromising a user’s iPhone, but after public outcry, Apple released a software update restoring functionality to bricked iPhones. Following the software update to unbrick iPhones, Apple claimed that the error 53 issue was meant to be a factory test and never should have impacted consumer devices.

Amid error 53 investigations led by the ACCC, Apple admitted that between February 2015 and February 2016, at least 275 Australian customers had been told in store or over the phone that they could not have their iPad or iPhone fixed if it had been repaired by a third party, such as in the error 53 situation.

Apple’s refusal to provide repairs to Australian customers who had previous repairs done by third-party shops violates Australian Consumer Law, according to an Australian Federal Court.

When it learned of the ACCC’s investigation, Apple launched an outreach program that has compensated approximately 5,000 consumers who were affected by error 53. Apple’s Australian arm is also improving staff training to make sure its stores comply fully with Australian Consumer Law, and Apple will now provide new devices as replacements instead of refurbished devices if a customer requests one.

In the United States, Apple was hit with a lawsuit over error 53, but it was dismissed after the company restored full iPhone functionality through a software update and reimbursed customers who had paid for out-of-warranty device replacements.

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macOS ‘Quick Look’ Bug Can Leak Encrypted Data Through Thumbnail Caches

A long-standing bug in macOS’s Quick Look feature has the potential to expose sensitive user files like photo thumbnails and the text of documents, even on encrypted drives, according to security researchers.

Details on the Quick Look flaw were shared earlier this month by security researcher Wojciech Regula and over the weekend on security researcher Patrick Wardle’s blog (via The Hacker News).

Image via Wojciech Regula


Quick Look in macOS is a convenient Finder feature that’s designed to present a zoomed-in view when you press the space bar on a photo or document that’s selected.

To provide this preview functionality, Quick Look creates an unencrypted thumbnail database where thumbnails of files are kept, with the database storing file previews from a Mac’s storage and any attached USB drives whenever a folder is opened. These thumbnails, which provide previews of content on an encrypted drive, can be accessed by someone with the technical know how and there’s no automatic cache clearing that deletes them. As Regula explains:

It means that all photos that you have previewed using space (or Quicklook cached them independently) are stored in that directory as a miniature and its path. They stay there even if you delete these files or if you have previewed them in encrypted HDD or TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt container.

This is an issue that’s existed for at least eight years and concerns have been raised about it in the past, but Apple has made no changes in macOS to address it. “The fact that behavior is still present in the latest version of macOS, and (though potentially having serious privacy implications), is not widely known by Mac users, warrants additional discussion,” writes Wardle.

As Wardle points out, this information is valuable in law enforcement investigations, but most users are not going to be happy to learn that their Mac records file paths and thumbnails of documents from every storage device that’s been attached to it.

For a forensics investigation or surveillance implant, this information could prove invaluable. Imagine having a historic record of the USB devices, files on the devices, and even thumbnails of the files…all stored persistently in an unencrypted database, long after the USB devices have been removed (and perhaps destroyed). For users, the question is: “Do you really want your Mac recording the file paths and ‘previews’ thumbnails of the files on any/all USB sticks that you’ve ever inserted into your Mac?” Me thinks not…

It’s worth noting that if the main drive on the Mac is encrypted, the Quick Look cache that’s created is too. Wardle says that data “may be safe” on a machine that’s powered off, but on a Mac that’s running, even if encrypted containers are unmounted, the caching feature can reveal their contents.

“In other words, the increased security encrypted containers were thought to provide, may be completely undermined by QuickLook,” writes Wardle.

Wardle recommends that users concerned about unencrypted data storage clear the Quick Look cache manually whenever a container is unmounted, with instructions for this available on Wardle’s website. It’s also worth checking out Wardle’s site for full details on the Quick Look bug.
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 11.4.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.4.1 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second tvOS 11.4.1 beta and three weeks after releasing tvOS 11.4, an update that introduced support for AirPlay 2.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 11.4.1 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that’s installed using Xcode.



No new features or changes were discovered in the first two tvOS 11.4.1 betas, suggesting the update focus on fixes for bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 11.4.

Apple’s tvOS updates have historically been minor in scale, and Apple does not often provide us with detailed notes outlining what’s new. We’ll update this post should anything be found in the third beta.

Apple’s work on tvOS 11 is winding down as the company is now focusing on tvOS 12, which was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in early June.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 11.4.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4.1 update to developers, one week after seeding the second beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 11.4, an update that introduced AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11.4.1 beta from Apple’s Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.



No new features were discovered in the first two iOS 11.4.1 betas, suggesting it focuses on bug fixes and performance improvements to address issues discovered since the release of iOS 11.4.

We’ll update this post should we discover any new features in the third iOS 11.4.1 beta, but we’re not expecting major changes now that Apple has shifted its focus to iOS 12, which is also available to developers for beta testing purposes.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Collaborative Album Launches on Apple Music After Two Days of Tidal Exclusivity

On Saturday, Beyoncé and Jay-Z launched a new collaborative album called “Everything is Love” exclusively to Tidal subscribers, the streaming service that Jay-Z owns. Just under two days later, Everything is Love has now launched on Apple Music, Spotify Premium, and Amazon Music Unlimited, making this a very short timed exclusive for Tidal (via Variety). In two weeks, the album will be available on Spotify’s free tier.

In relation to Apple Music, The Carters have had a somewhat rocky relationship with Apple’s streaming music service. Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album never launched on Apple Music and remains available for Apple customers only as a $17.99 paid download in iTunes. Although Jay-Z quietly removed many of his albums from Apple Music in April 2017, most eventually came back, and his own album “4:44” had one week of Tidal exclusivity before appearing on Apple Music last summer.



Tidal has had a rough couple of months as well, beginning with a report last December that claimed the company was facing money problems due to “stalled” user growth, and could run out of working capital in six months. Nearly six months later, Norwegian news site Dagens Næringsliv reported that Tidal was months behind on its royalty payments to record labels.

Furthermore, Tidal last month confirmed to its customers that it was investigating a “potential data breach” on the platform. The company said it had gone so far as to hire an “independent, third party cyber-security firm” to find out what happened. It’s still unknown how widespread the potential breach was and what aspects of Tidal users’ data might have been compromised. Tidal CEO Richard Sanders said that the company would share the results of the security firm’s discoveries “once completed.”

Amid the turmoil, Tidal exclusives have grown short or ended completely, as with Kanye West’s latest album “ye,” which launched on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal on the same day. In 2016, West launched “The Life of Pablo” as a Tidal exclusive, but eventually allowed the full album to stream on Apple Music and other services.

Years later, West reportedly sought to end Tidal’s exclusivity rights over his new music and break from the service. West claimed he was owed “more than $3 million” because his album “resulted in 1.5 million new subscribers to Tidal, for which he was supposed to get a bonus”, but Tidal never paid. At the time of those claims, sources close to West said the artist successfully ended exclusivity rights with Tidal and cited “Tidal’s failure to honor its financial obligations.”

Tidal’s subscriber base isn’t known, but it is believed to be much smaller than Apple Music (50 million including those on free trials) and Spotify Premium (75 million). Major exclusives like The Carters’ new album likely help increase the company’s paid subscriber count for both its $9.99/month standard sound quality tier and $19.99/month Hi-Fi tier, despite the short exclusivity window. Still, with a 30-day free trial and no confirmation of subscriber numbers, it’s unclear how many new users will stick around.

Tidal subscribers will have one advantage over other users, since the bonus track “Salud” remains a Tidal exclusive.

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Apple Camp Registration Now Open for Summer 2018 Programs

As it does every year, Apple today opened registration for its annual three-day “Apple Camp” event. At Apple Camp, kids between the ages of 8 and 12 can partake in hands-on projects at Apple retail locations by choosing one of three tracks and spending 90 minutes per day for three days “immersed in their chosen subject.”



The three programs include “Coding with Sphero Robots”, “Beat Making and Songwriting with GarageBand”, and “Telling Stories with Clips.” Apple broke down what each program is about on the registration page for Apple Camp:

Coding with Sphero Robots – In this three-day session for kids ages 8-12, we’ll introduce the fundamentals of coding using Sphero robots. Each day Campers will learn a new coding concept and practice problem-solving skills. They’ll partner up for fun activities to program their Sphero to change colors, create sounds, complete challenges, and more. Then they’ll apply their coding skills to design their own games.

Beat Making and Songwriting with GarageBand – In this three-day session, kids ages 8-12 will discover the magic of beat making and songwriting. They’ll start by exploring basic elements of song structure and how beats create the foundation of a song. Campers will get hands-on as they create music using Touch Instruments, add vocals, and fine-tune their creations with GarageBand on iPad. On day 3, they’ll share their songs with the group.

Telling Stories with Clips – Future filmmakers ages 8-12 will explore the creative process of telling stories using video, photos, and music. Campers will brainstorm and storyboard their ideas. They’ll get hands-on in groups to capture short videos, edit and enhance their shots with fun graphics and filters, and add opening and closing titles in the Clips app on iPad. On the final day, they’ll present their video stories.

The days of the week and time for each program varies by region, with some classes taking place on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule and others organized on a Tuesday-Thursday-Friday schedule. Classes typically begin at around 9:30 a.m. ET and stop around 5:30 p.m. ET.

The free Apple Camp sessions will kick off on July 9 and run through July 27, and parents interested can register their kids now on Apple.com in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, and more. In the United Kingdom and Germany, registration will open next Monday, June 25. Like previous years, parents or a legal guardian must accompany any child participating in the 90-minute sessions every day, and those kids who do participate will get a free Apple Camp t-shirt.

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U.S. Supreme Court to Review Whether Lawsuit Accusing Apple of App Store Monopoly Should Proceed

In 2011, a class action lawsuit filed against Apple accused the company of operating an illegal monopoly by not allowing iPhone users to download mobile apps outside of its own App Store, reducing consumer choice.



The antitrust case was eventually dismissed in 2013 by a U.S. district court in Northern California, due to errors in the complaint, leading to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowing it to proceed in 2017.

That decision led to Apple’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which was granted today, meaning that the U.S. Supreme Court will now review the appeals court’s decision to reinstate the case last year, according to Reuters.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in support of Apple, urging the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision, arguing that it misapplied precedent from Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois.

From the start, Apple has argued that it doesn’t set prices for paid apps, and that charging a 30 percent commission on the distribution of paid apps and in-app purchases does not violate antitrust laws in the United States.

Apple will now hope the Supreme Court agrees that the case should be dismissed again. No date has been disclosed for the hearing.

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iOS 12 will automatically share your location during 911 calls

Apple is joining Google, Uber and others in providing accurate location data that could save your life in an emergency. The company has revealed that iOS 12 will automatically (and importantly, securely) share your location with first responders dur…