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Security firm shows how Apple could bypass iPhone security to comply with FBI request

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A security firm says that while Apple may fight hard to resist a California court order to help the FBI to break into an iPhone, it would be technically able to do so.

Apple had so far seemed to be in possession of the ultimate trump card in this situation: since iOS 8, it has been able to simply shrug and say that iPhones are encrypted and Apple doesn’t have the key. Even if a court ordered it to break into an iPhone, it would be unable to do so.

But while this is correct, security company Trail of Bits has described in a blog post how Apple could still make it possible for the FBI to hack into the phone …



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Pebble 2.5 firmware lands w/ support for Emoji, new Compass app, iOS 8 notification dismissal, more

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Pebble has launched version 2.5 of its smartwatch firmware, packing a bunch of great new features—including some interesting new abilities for users who have recently upgraded to iOS 8. Notably, the update now allows iOS users to dismiss notifications by clicking the X button to dismiss one, and holding it down to dismiss all. Pebble also says that the app should stay live in the background more often on iOS, but the company says that users should make sure not to disable “Smartwatch Proximity.”

Additionally, the company says that the firmware brings the ability for the Pebble and Pebble Steel smartwatches to display Emoji, replacing the previous small white boxes that are all too familiar across platforms without Emoji support. And to round off the most interesting new features, the company is launching the Compass app that they promised long ago, which can be picked up on the Pebble appstore. I definitely recommend this one; I’ve tried it out and I’m quite impressed with how fluid the app is.

The smartwatch should have improved Bluetooth and notification reliability compared to previous firmware versions, and Pebble says that 2.5 also fixes a plethora of bugs.

Apple re-releases MacBook Air EFI 2.9 update after bugs discovered

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Earlier this month, Apple released a MacBook Air EFI update (version 2.9) with fixes for issues with the laptop waking from sleep. Approximately a week ago, the firmware update was removed by Apple because of bugs causing MacBook Airs to crash.

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Today, Apple has re-released the update with fixes as version 2.9.1:

This update replaces EFI Firmware Update 2.9 and is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models.

The update can be found for mid-2011 MacBook Air owners in the Software Update section of the Mac App Store.



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Apple releases Heartbleed bug fix for 2013 AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule

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Apple has released a bug fix patch for its 2013 AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, fixing the OpenSSL ‘Heartbleed’ vulnerability. The update does not apply to the AirPort Express.

Firmware update 7.7.3 is recommended for all AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac. It provides security improvements related to SSL/TLS. Other AirPort base stations do not require this firmware update.

Amusingly, when Heartbleed made headlines earlier this month, Apple said that no key software or services were affected. They conveniently forgot to mention that their latest router hardware was susceptible to the flaw.

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Apple issues AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule firmware update with fixes for WAN connectivity and USB hard drives

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Apple issued a minor firmware update today to address issues specifically related to customers using USB hard drives with their routers, and fixes for intermittent loss in WAN connectivity as well as issues that may cause a network loop. You can view the full release notes below:

  • Addresses an issue that prevents a USB hard drive connected to an AirPort Extreme from appearing as an available disk in Time Machine
  • Resolves an issue that may intermittently cause a loss in WAN connectivity
  • Resolves an issue that may result in a network loop

If you own an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule, you can view more information about grabbing new firmware updates here. 

Apple releases Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 for mid-2012 MacBook Air, launches replacement program for affected drives

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Apple has released a firmware update for the mid-2012 MacBook Air. The update attempts to resolve an issue that affects 64 GB and 128 GB models sold between June 2012 and June 2013. Apple says that the problem could lead to data loss. As this is a serious issue, the company has agreed to replace any affected drives that are unable to be updated. If the update installer detects that your drive is one of the models needing to be replaced, it will direct you to a page on Apple’s website that will allow you to obtain a replacement … 

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Apple releases Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.0 for mid 2012 MacBook Air

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Apple has released a new firmware update for the mid 2012 MacBook Air today that helps to address problems with the device recovering from a crash. Apple release notes said the update addresses “a storage firmware issue that, in rare cases, may cause a system to fail to recover from crash.”

The MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.0 is available to download on Apple’s website here and should be hitting Software Update soon. The 1.69 MB update is available for mid 2012 MacBook Airs running OS X 10.7.5 or OS X 10.8.3.

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Apple releases MacBook Pro firmware update 1.7 to address rare battery issue

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After releasing an SMC firmware update for most MacBook models last month to address the same battery issue, Apple today released MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7 for mid-2010 and early 2011 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros. The update, available through Apple’s website, addresses a rare battery issue:

About MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7

This update addresses a rare issue on some Apple notebooks where a battery that has accumulated more than 1000 charge cycles may unexpectedly shut down or stop functioning.

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Apple Airport/Time Capsule 7.6.3 update breaks IPv6 tunneling, fix is downgrading

A number of users on Apple’s support forums noticed that the latest Airport/Time Capsule 7.6.3 firmware released last week seems to disable IPv6 tunneling on various devices. It isn’t a big surprise to many users that have experienced the functionality being disabled with past versions of the firmware, and it will likely be fixed in a future release. You can revert to a previous version of the firmware until Apple fixes the issue by using the instructions below:

AirPort Utility 5

  1. Open AirPort Utility.
  2. Select your base station and choose Manual Setup, or double-click on the Wi-Fi base station icon.
  3. Choose Base Station > Upload Firmware…
  4. From the window that appears, select a firmware version and click OK. If you select Other from the Upload Version menu, you will be prompted to manually locate the firmware update.

AirPort Utility 6

  1. Open AirPort Utility.
  2. Select the base station you want to downgrade.
  3. Place the mouse cursor over the version number and hold down the Option key to turn it into a pop-up menu. Press and hold the mouse button to open the menu.
  4. From the menu that appears, select a firmware version and click OK. If you select Other, you will be prompted to manually locate the firmware update.
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Handy iOS version/device matrix chart [PDF]

The Loop pointed us to this iOS support matrix (Autumn 2012 edition) posted by app developer Empirical Magic. Definitely a useful resource for developers, the chart shows the number of devices running certain versions of iOS, and makes recommendations for dropping support in future updates.

Apple fixes Lion video lock-ups on iMacs, improves hardware support in Boot Camp for Windows

Apple has released a pair of new updates meant to fix video-locking issues on iMacs that run Lion and improve hardware compatibility when running Windows in dual boot mode on your Mac. The iMac Graphic FW Update 3.0 is now available for download, weighing in at a paltry 482KB. Apple says the firmware update “fixes a graphics issue that may cause an iMac to hang under certain conditions”. You can also download this update by choosing Software Update from the Apple menu, in which case the update mechanism will determine whether your iMac’s graphics card needs updating and offer the refreshed software appropriately. Also, Boot Camp got a small update for Windows 7 (version 3.3).  The 200MB download includes critical bug fixes and hardware support. It is recommended for all Boot Camp 3.2 users and requires Windows 7 plus an existing installation of Boot Camp 3.2 on your system.



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