Apple’s Phil Schiller refers to recent software bugs as ‘one bad week’

Apple fans and enthusiastic gadget reviewers will ultimately remember 2017 as the year of a re-invented iPhone. But as the year draws to an end, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller has a few other things on his mind, such as delays in releasing the company’s first smart speaker and a “bad week” of software bugs and security holes.

In an interview published Sunday with the British news site, The Telegraph, Schiller seemed relatively low key as he reflected on Apple’s year. He neither hyped company successes nor expressed much worry about the setbacks.

“It was a very new kind of year for us,” Schiller told The Telegraph’s James Titcomb. “It was something we’ve been planning for… we wanted the opportunity to create a new-generation phone as we’ve done every year and that was (iPhone) 8.

“At the same time we wanted to create something that was even more aggressive, even more of a departure from where iPhone had been going, and that’s iPhone X. It’s something we haven’t offered that way before but it’s worked really well.”

Apple’s long-awaited smart speaker, the HomePod, did not make it to stores in time for the holiday shopping season, despite its big reveal last Spring. Schiller said Apple was not about to release a product it felt wasn’t quite ready.

“Some companies like to put things out even if they don’t think it will succeed at the start,” he said. “We care a lot about the quality of the things we want to put out there and so if it’s not ready, it’s not ready yet.”

Titcomb pressed Schiller on a string of software glitches, including security holes in macOS and HomeKit, as well as an iOS bug with autocorrect that replaced the letter ‘i’ with a question mark.

Schiller said Apple, which builds in some of the best privacy protections in consumer technology, has “no excuses” and added the company will conduct an internal review.

“We just had a bad week,” he said. “A couple of things happened, that’s all. The team is going to admit the systems and look carefully at the process and do some soul-searching, and do everything that they can to keep this from happening again.”

You can find The Telegraph’s full interview with Schiller, here.

Sources: The Telegraph and Patently Apple

Apple Keyboard Light Blinking Twice and Won’t Reconnect to Mac? Here’s the Fix

Apple Keyboard light blinking and not connecting to a Mac

The Apple Keyboard light blinks twice when the keyboard is ready to be paired via Bluetooth with a Mac or another device, indicating it is ready to be setup. In other words, if you just got a brand new Apple Keyboard then the light will blink when turned on, and you need to pair it to a Mac before it will work. But that’s not our focus here, this article is for troubleshooting the rare situation where the Apple Keyboard indicator light will randomly start blinking twice after disconnecting from the computer for no obvious reason, typically met with the MacOS Bluetooth preference panel reporting errors like “Not Connected”, “Couldn’t connect to the device”, and “Pairing failed”.

If you run into the blinking keyboard light problem seemingly out of nowhere on an Apple Keyboard that has already been paired with the Mac before, or after a Mac has been asleep and then woken up, you can typically fix the blinking keyboard light problem with a relatively simple troubleshooting approach.

Before beginning, be sure the Apple keyboard batteries are sufficiently charged. If the battery charge is too low or zero, the Bluetooth connection will not sustain itself or even initiate at all. In fact if the keyboard is disconnecting seemingly at random, it’s likely because of battery. This article does not aim to be another general Bluetooth device disconnection troubleshooting guide however, and instead is focused specifically on the twice-blinking light on Apple Keyboards after they have already been setup before.

The blinking Apple Keyboard light looks like the following, the light is at the top of an Apple Keyboard and will blink twice, then briefly stop, then blink twice again, repeating until the keyboard is either paired or turned off:

Blinking Apple Keyboard light fix

Wait! Is the Apple Keyboard new? Did you Setup & Pair the Bluetooth Keyboard and Mac Yet?

The reason the Apple Keyboard light blinks twice is to indicate it needs to be setup and paired to the Mac. Typically this only happens when the the Apple Keyboard is brand new or being setup with a new Mac.

If you have not setup the Apple Bluetooth keyboard on the Mac yet, do that first by going to the Bluetooth control panel ( Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth) and pair the Apple Keyboard to the Mac.

Apple Keyboard working in Bluetooth and connected

Remember, the guide here is aimed at users who experience the blinking light keyboard issue at random on a Mac that was already configured to use the paired keyboard.

How to Fix Blinking Apple Keyboard Light on a Mac

Try this simple approach first to resolve the blinking keyboard light issue:

  1. Turn the Apple Keyboard off (hold the power button for a few moments)
  2. Pull down the  APPLE menu and choose “System Preferences” then go to the “Bluetooth” preference panel
  3. Click “Turn Bluetooth Off”
  4. Now go back to the  Apple menu and choose “Restart”
  5. When the Mac starts back up, go back to the  Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth, an now choose “Turn Bluetooth On”, then leave the Bluetooth preference panel open
  6. Turn the Apple Keyboard ON again by pressing the power button
  7. Wait a moment and the Apple Keyboard should appear within the “Devices” list of the Bluetooth preference panel and re-sync

That should fix it, but if the Apple Keyboard is still not working you may need to go a step further and remove the paired keyboard from the Mac, then reboot and pair the keyboard yet again. Those steps are covered next.

Is the Apple Keyboard Blinking Twice Still? Try Removing & Re-Pairing Apple Keyboard to the Mac

If the above trick fails to resume keyboard functionality for whatever reason, you can remove and then re-pair the Apple Keyboard to the Mac:

  1. Go to the  Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth
  2. Select “Apple Keyboard” and then hit the Delete key on the keyboard and confirm you want to remove the Bluetooth device
  3. Restart the Mac
  4. Upon a successful reboot, return to the Bluetooth system preference panel
  5. Turn on the Apple Keyboard by pressing the Power button to trigger the pairing process again
  6. Choose “Pair” when Apple Keyboard reappears in the Bluetooth Devices list
  7. Enter the numbers shown on screen via the connected Apple Keyboard to pair the keyboard to the Mac
  8. Pairing the Apple Keyboard to stop blinking light

The removal and pair again approach works every time that I personally have run into this issue on my Apple Keyboard, but since it’s slightly more cumbersome than the first approach, which often works too, it’s included as secondary troubleshooting tip.

The above steps should do the trick. If for whatever reason you continue to have difficulty with Bluetooth keyboard, you might want to reset the Bluetooth module on a Mac and start over. That should really not be necessary for the vast majority of Bluetooth troubles however, and usually just confirming the battery is sufficient and then pairing a device again is sufficient to remedy a Bluetooth connection problem.

By the way if you find yourself struggling with this issue with Bluetooth peripherals, you may find it useful to learn how to enable Bluetooth on a Mac without a keyboard or mouse. Note if you ever see the “Bluetooth not available” error on a Mac then you have a separate issue that is typically resolved with a hardware SMC reset and the forced creation of new Bluetooth preferences.

Did this article help you resolve the blinking light issue on an Apple Keyboard and a Mac? Do you have another solution? Share with us in the comments below!

Security firm threatened with legal action for report highlighting adware

Security bod threatened with legal action for uncovering macOS adware

Security bod threatened with legal action for uncovering macOS adware



A SECURITY FIRM claim to have been threatened with legal action for writing research identifying, and warning of, what it describes as a strain of macOS adware.

In a series of reports starting in April 2016, Cybereason examined the OSX.Pirrit adware, which named an Israeli company called TargetingEdge as responsible for the adware. A third report was published this week, and all three were authored by Cybereason lead researcher Amit Serper.

In the latest report, Serper describes OSX.Pirrit as “a very nasty piece of adware” targeting OSX “with components such as persistence and the ability to obtain root access [-] characteristics usually seen in malware. While OSX.Pirrit’s main goal was to display ads, the way it did this contains many practices borrowed from traditional malware”. 

Following the publication of the reports, a number of the company’s servers and distribution websites were taken down.

However, the adware still persists, according to Serper. “Unlike old versions of OSX.Pirrit that used rogue browser plug-ins or even installed a proxy server on the victim’s machine to hijack the browser, this incarnation uses… AppleScript, Apple’s scripting/automation language.

“And, like its predecessors, this variant is nasty. In addition to bombarding people with ads, it spies on them and runs under root privileges,” claimed Serper in his latest report.

But, he added, that his research hadn’t gone unnoticed by the company behind the adware.

“For the past two weeks they’ve tried to prevent me from publishing this research. Cybereason has received a few cease and desist letters from a firm claiming to be TargetingEdge’s legal counsel. The letters demand that we stop referring to TargetingEdge’s software as malware and refrain from publishing this report.”

In the letters, the company claims that it develops and operates “a legitimate and legal installer product for Mac users” and asserts that “our product is not malware, it does not include any features of malware and it does not harm or damage or [is] intended to cause any damages to the product user’s device”.

It adds that it doesn’t ‘hack’, ‘spy’ or ‘takeover’ the browser via any malicious or “non-transparent” means.

But Cybereason isn’t the only company that identifies the adware as a threat to Mac users – 28 other anti-virus engines on Virus Total also identify OSX.Pirrit as malware. Curiously, though, TargetingEdge also denied any link with OSX.Pirrit, despite evidence to the contrary.

The researcher claims that he is not the only security specialist to have been threatened with legal action by the subjects of their research. Back in 2013, for example, another adware company called Genieo threatened legal action over the mere suggestion that its software might be “malicious” and that its uninstallation procedure didn’t, in fact, work.

Indeed, the tactics deployed are reminiscent of a number of legal threats and action taken against security researchers since the advent of the internet age.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, for example, anti-spam groups were routinely threatened with legal action by spammers, mostly based in the US, for publishing lists of IP addresses known to be associated with pushing out unsolicited commercial emails, to give spam its formal name. These lists could be deployed by systems administrators to filter out spam.

Anti-spam groups responded by organising their groups over the internet anonymously and extending the range of blocked IP addresses, forcing legitimate businesses to complain to internet service providers (ISPs) that were too ‘spam friendly’. This was a favoured tactic of the Spam Prevention Early Warning System (SPEWS), which had some success in forcing ISPs to clean up their act.

More recently, anti-malware software vendor Malwarebytes was sued by a US security software vendor for categorising its relatively expensive and poorly performing product as a “potentially unwanted program”.

Enigma Software had claimed that the categorisation amounted to a “tortious interference” in its business – a claim rejected by the court. µ





Phil Schiller recounts Apple’s 2017, attributes recent software bugs to a ‘bad week’ in new interview

After a pair of interviews earlier this month, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller recently sat down with The Telegraph to talk about his take on Apple’s latest and greatest products in 2018, that really bad week for software bugs, and more…

Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover

Of course, Schiller is quick to tout Apple’s smartphone lineup in 2017 and how it represents the company’s continued innovation. He explains that the goal of the iPhone 8 was to create a “new-generation phone” just as it has done every year:

“It was a very new kind of year for us,” Schiller says. “It’s something we’ve been planning for quite a long time, we wanted the opportunity to create a new-generation phone as we’ve done every year and that was 8.”

On the other hand, Schiller says the iPhone X was Apple’s way to change its pace from smartphones of previous years in a more aggressive way:

“At the same time we wanted to create something that was even more aggressive, even more of a departure from where iPhone had been going, and that’s iPhone X. It’s something we haven’t offered that way before but it’s worked really well.”

All in all, Apple currently sells five different lines of iPhones, but Schiller doesn’t seem to agree with suggestions that the company’s product line is becoming cluttered.

For instance, he explains the iPhone SE – which is nearly two years old at this point – still exists because “it meets those needs” of some consumers. As for the rumors suggesting an impending refresh of the device, Schiller says he “can’t make any statements about the future.”

As for the HomePod delay, Schiller says it represents a way in which Apple is different from its competitors. He says many companies are willing to release a product just to hit its targeted release date – but that’s not Apple’s strategy:

“Not everyone in our industry follows that model. We’re at the very, very beginning of this market of intelligent music speakers that we want in our home.

Some companies like to put things out even if they don’t think it will succeed at the start, we care a lot about the quality of the things we want to put out there and so if it’s not ready it’s not ready yet.”

Perhaps most interestingly, Schiller is pressed for details on how Apple allowed for a slew of software bugs in 2017, including the “root” vulnerability in macOS, the “i” bug in iOS, a major security hole in HomeKit, and more. Schiller tosses the more recent issues up to a “bad week” but notes that Apple is going to audit its systems and do some “soul-searching.”

“We just had a bad week. A couple of things happened, that’s all. The team is going to audit the systems and look carefully at the process and do some soul-searching, and do everything that they can to keep this from happening again.”

The full interview is definitely worth a read with Schiller touching on augmented reality, how the new iOS 11 App Store is revitalizing growth, and more.

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iOS 11.2.1 Update Released with HomeKit Security Fix [IPSW Download Links]

iOS 11.2.1 software update

Apple has released iOS 11.2.1 for compatible iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models. The small point release update includes an important security fix for a HomeKit vulnerability which could allow for unauthorized access to HomeKit devices and accessories.

Additionally, tvOS 11.2.1 is available as an update for Apple TV users with the same HomeKit security fix.

iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV users who use HomeKit devices should update to iOS 11.2.1 sooner than later to patch the security bug, whereas people who do not have or use any HomeKit devices will find less urgency to install the software update. It’s unclear if iOS 11.2.1 and tvOS 11.2.1 include any other bug fixes or security enhancements aside from the HomeKit patch, but the release notes accompanying the download do not mention anything else.

Wait, What is HomeKit?

Some of you are probably reading this and wondering what HomeKit is in the first place. For some quick background, HomeKit devices include various internet connected home devices, ranging from smart lightbulbs, thermostats, fans, cameras, heating and cooling, outlets, speakers, amongst many other accessories and devices. HomeKit equipped devices can be interacted with from an iOS device via Siri or via the “Home” app.

For example, HomeKit capable smart lightbulbs can be turned on remotely via the Home app or with Siri by issuing a voice command like “hey Siri, turn on the bedroom lights”. HomeKit devices can also be placed onto a schedule, for example you could configure a HomeKit thermostat to automatically warm a house at 4pm or turn lights off at 11pm.

Homekit on iPhone

Thus, if you use HomeKit or plan on using HomeKit, you would want to update to iOS 11.2.1 so that can continue to use the HomeKit devices without a potential security issue.

Download & Update to iOS 11.2.1

The easiest way to download and install iOS 11.2.1 is through the OTA on-device update mechanism. Always backup an iPhone or iPad before installing any iOS software update.

  1. Open the “Settings” app in iOS
  2. Go to “General”
  3. Choose “Software Update” and select “Download and Install” when iOS 11.2.1 is shown as available

iOS 11.2.1 software update

The OTA update is around 70mb, and like all other iOS software updates will require a reboot to complete installation of.

Users can also choose to downloadd the update through iTunes, or install the update using IPSW firmware files below.

iOS 11.2.1 IPSW Firmware Download Links

Users can choose to directly download firmware IPSW files from Apple servers using the links below:

Apple has been fairly aggressive with software updates lately, iOS 11.2 was released a little over a week ago for iPhone and iPad, and macOS 10.13.2 for Mac was released recently as well.