iOS 11.4 Beta: All the New and Hidden Features

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Apple seeded iOS 11.4 beta 1 to developers earlier today. We take a look at all the new and hidden features that will be available in the upcoming update. Continue reading
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7 Hidden Tricks That Make Your iPhone Easier to Use

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Apple’s products have a reputation for being simple and easy to use. That’s because Apple specifically tailors its devices to “just work” — and the iPhone is probably the champion of that design philosophy. Out of the box, you probably won’t find a more straightforward product to get the hang of. But despite that, there […]
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Apple will fix iOS bug that allows Siri to read hidden notifications in upcoming update

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iPhone X hands-on angle

Yesterday, news broke of a new iOS bug that allows Siri to read your notifications aloud, even if you’ve got them set to hidden. Now Apple has responded to the issue.

Apple has said that it’s aware of this bug and has told MacRumors that it’ll be fixed in an upcoming software update. No other details were given, so it’s unclear if Apple will roll a fix into the upcoming iOS 11.3 update or if we’ll see a special iOS 11.2.7 update or something similar.

With this iOS bug, Siri will read your notifications even if they’re set to be hidden. iOS allows you to have your notifications hidden on the lock screen until you unlock using Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode by going into Settings > Notifications > Show Previews. However, it was recently discovered that if you ask Siri to read your notifications, it’ll read the contents of your messages even if the notifications are hidden.

This is a pretty serious security issue, so it’s good to hear that Apple is aware and working on a fix. Here’s to hoping that the patch comes soon.

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Siri Reading Hidden Notifications On iOS Lock Screen Bug To Be Fixed In Upcoming Update, Apple Confirms

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Apple has confirmed that iOS 11.2.7 or iOS 11.3 final version will fix Siri reading hidden notifications on lock screen bug.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Apple to fix Siri bug that read out hidden iPhone lockscreen notifications

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A future Apple update will solve an iOS security flaw allowing Siri to read out otherwise hidden lockscreen notifications, but AppleInsider can show you how to work around it now.
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Apple acknowledges a bug that lets Siri read out hidden notifications, a fix is coming soon

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A bug in iOS 11 that lets Siri read out hidden notifications will be fixed…. Read the rest of this post here


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10 Hidden Apple Notes Features You Should Know About

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For a first party solution from Apple, it’s shocking just how good Apple Notes has become over the past couple of years. The syncing is rock-solid, the app is in active development, and we get new and interesting features every year. If you don’t need to view notes on Windows or Android, Apple Notes should be your default note taking system.

Apple Notes is full of awesome features but because Apple’s design favors simplicity, most are stuffed behind menus and obscured behind generic buttons. Here are several you should know about.

1. Add Notes Using Siri

Apple Notes Features - Ask Siri

While Siri isn’t great when it comes to knowledge-based answers, it’s surprisingly good when it comes to dealing with native apps.

The next time you have a brilliant idea when you’re driving or walking your dog, just say Hey Siri, take a note. Then dictate your note. The next time you open the Notes app, you’ll find your dictation in text form.

2. Notes Shortcut in Control Center

Apple Notes Features - Control Center Shortcut

If you’re running iOS 11 on your iPhone or iPad, you can add a little shortcut to the Apple Notes app right in the Control Center.

Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls to enable the Notes control. Now, when you tap on the Notes control, you’ll be taken to the Notes app with a blank note ready to go. You can tap and hold on the Notes toggle to start a new checklist or begin with a photo.

3. Share a Note

Apple Notes Features - Share Notes

The App Store is filled with apps that let you share a note or list with multiple people. But you don’t need any of those. Just start a note, throw in a checklist, and tap on the Share note button from the toolbar. Send an invite using the Messages or Mail apps. Once someone joins in, they’ll be able to edit notes.

This can be a great way to share a grocery list with your spouse.

4. Make a Table

Apple Notes Features - Make Table

While this won’t add an Excel-style spreadsheet in your note, the table functionality comes in really handy any time you want to visually organize information. For instance, before my last trip, I ended up calling a dozen or so hotels in the area (it was the fastest way to get it done).

I needed a place to record the name of the hotel, the availability, the phone number, and the cost. Instead of going to Google Sheets, I quickly created a table in Notes, expanded it for four columns, and got started. Speaking of which, the Notes app is a great way to organize all your travel information before you take off. Create a folder and start adding your PDFs, images, and confirmation numbers for easy access.

On Mac, you’ll find the Table icon in the top toolbar. On iPhone and iPad, the Table icon is the first one in the toolbar on top of the keyboard view.

Once you’ve inserted a table, tap on the dotted menu button next to the boxes to add or delete rows and columns.

5. Lock Notes

Apple Notes Features - Lock Notes

Let’s say you’ve got some private entries in the Notes app that you’d rather not share with the world. You can protect it using a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

After opening the note, tap on the Share button and select Lock Note. Enter a passcode, or enable Touch ID or Face ID, and your note is protected.

6. Share Links and Text to Notes App

Apple Notes Features - Save To Notes

The Notes app has a robust share extension on both iOS and macOS. It’s actually the best way to add text and links to a note when you’re researching on the web. When you come across something interesting in an app like Safari, tap on the Share button and select Add to Notes.

From the popup, you can choose to make a new note or to add it an existing note. If there’s a link involved, you’ll see a little preview right there and you can even add a bit of text before sending it off to the Notes app by tapping on the Save button.

If you’ve got an iPad running iOS 11, this process becomes even simpler. Dock the Notes app next to Safari in split screen mode and simply drag and drop links, photos, or text from Safari to the Notes app.

7. Organize Notes in Folders

Apple Notes Features - Organize Notes in Folders

Once you start using Notes as your main note taking app, you’ll eventually end up with way too many notes. I have over 400 notes in my iCloud folder. And no, I’m not ready to let go of any of them.

In times like this, a bit of mindful organization helps. After opening the Notes app, tap on the Back button on the notes view to get to the Folders view. Tap on New Folder from the bottom of the screen, give it a title, tap on Save, and it will show up in the Folders list.

Here’s a pro tip: If you’re using a Mac, you can create subfolders as well (something that’s not allowed in iOS but once created on Mac, they’ll sync with all your devices). On Mac, use the New Folder option to create a new folder.

We’ll call this the child folder. From the list, locate the folder in which you want to include the child folder. We’ll call this the parent folder. Now, simply drag the child folder on top of the parent folder. The parent folder will now have an expand option. This way, you can have multiple child subfolders for a single parent folder.

If you don’t want to archive or delete old notes but you still want then accessible in an organized manner, this can be a good solution.

8. Pin Note

Apple Notes Features - Pin Notes

Even if you have hundreds of notes, you’ll probably end up spending most of your time in a handful of them. Try pinning them so the next time you open the Notes list or a specific folder, your favorite note will be right at the top.

Just swipe right on any note from the list and tap on the Pin icon to pin it (the process for unpinning the note is the same).

9. Formatting Options and Shortcuts

Apple Notes Features - Formatting Options

While the Notes app text area is pretty sparse, there’s a selection of formatting tools hidden behind the Aa icon. From here, you can switch to Heading font or a Monospace font.

You can quickly indent or outdent text or start a bulleted list. If you’re using a Mac or iPad with a Smart Keyboard, you can use keyboard shortcuts for quickly formatting text.

  • Bold: Cmd + B
  • Italics: Cmd + I
  • Underline: Cmd + U
  • Title: Cmd + Shift + T
  • Heading: Cmd + Shift + H
  • Checklist: Cmd + Shift + L
  • Table: Cmd + Option + T
  • Indent Right: Cmd + ] (right bracket)
  • Find in Note: Cmd + F
  • New Note: Cmd + N

10. Mac App Tricks

Apple Notes Features - Font Size

In many ways, Notes is a robust system, but it falls short in some specific ways. For instance, you can’t change the font size on an iPhone or iPad in the Notes app. However, if you’ve increased the font size from the Settings app, Notes will honor that.

On Mac, you can make the font size a bit bigger but it works on a per-note basis. Open a note and from the menu bar, go to View and click on Zoom in.

Apple Notes Features - Mac Floating Window

There’s also a hidden floating window option for a note. Open a note and from the menu bar, go to Window > Float Selected Note and once again go to the Window section and select Float on Top. Now you can go about browsing or watching a video. The notes window will always be on the top and ready for note taking.

Search and Sort in Notes

The Notes app makes it easy to search within all your notes. Even if you’ve taken handwritten notes using Apple Pencil, they can be searched using Spotlight. In fact, if you give unique names to your notes, Spotlight search can be a great way to quickly jump into a note right from the Home screen.

When you’re inside a note, just use the Cmd + F option to start searching within a note (on the iPhone, use the Find in Note option from the Share menu).

iOS 11 also added a plethora of powerful iPad-specific features to the Notes app. You can directly open a note by touching the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro lock screen. You can change the note background to something that’s more suitable for handwritten note taking, and much more.

iPhone and iPad – MakeUseOf

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iOS bug lets Siri read your notifications aloud when they’re hidden

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iPhone X hands-on video

Apple tried to beef up iOS security in iOS 11 by letting you hide the content of notifications until you unlock your iPhone, but it looks like a bug has caused that feature to become useless.

A new iOS bug has been discovered that will reveal the contents of your hidden notifications. Just ask Siri to read your notifications and it will do just that, even if you’ve gone into Settings > Notifications > Show Previews and set it to “When Unlocked”. This setting is supposed to force notifications to just appear as “Notification” until you’ve unlocked your device, but this bug circumvents that.

The bug has been confirmed to exist on iOS 11.2.6, the latest public version of iOS, and Mac Magazine says that it exists in the iOS 11.3 beta as well. The only app that seems to be unaffected by the bug is Apple’s own Messages app, which Siri is unable to read texts from until you unlock your phone.

This is a pretty serious security issue, as it means that anyone has access to the contents of your incoming messages even if you haven’t unlocked your device. Apple has yet to comment on the bug, but with iOS 11.3 still in testing, perhaps Apple can slip in a fix for this issue before it releases iOS 11.3 to the public.

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How To Use HAR Files To Find The Hidden Performance Bottlenecks In Your App

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Introduction

App performance can be a killer problem for any digital company, especially when the performance issues take too long to identify. What I have found by working with many of our customers is that the answer can be hiding in the HAR file data- which is why you should always check your HAR files.

Step 1: What is a HAR File?

HAR (HTTP Archive Viewer) is a JSON file that contains a record of the network traffic between client and server. It contains all the end to end HTTP requests/responses that are sent and received between the two network components.

Step 2: What can I do with a HAR file?

HAR files allow developers and testers to learn what actually happens when a transaction is executed and to help find performance bottlenecks and security issues in the original and 3rd party code.

Example:

One of our customers came to me with a recurring performance degradation in their native mobile app. They had no idea what was causing the given issue; no big changes were pushed to the code and the problem was not reproducing on the Dev/QA environments. After collecting the HAR file from the production environment, we found that the analytics calls were taking twice as long because of a change made by the 3rd party analytics company.

Step 3: How to record a HAR file?

In order to record the HAR, you should set a proxy between the server and the client. All the data which goes through the proxy will be stored in a HAR file.

A couple tools that can be used to record data :

 

Step 4: Visualize your HAR file:

I would like to suggest two UI tools in order to help you visual the HAR data and help focus on the interesting data.

  • HAR viewer – http://www.softwareishard.com/har/viewer/ – a free web based tool showing a waterfall graph of all the calls with the ability to drill down to a specific request.
  • Charles Proxy – Charles is an HTTP proxy / HTTP monitor which allows you to record and see the data.

Step 5: How to analyze performance through the HAR file:

1.Execute one flow and record the data. In the following example I went to amazon and searched for a laptop.

Total transaction time was 12.45s , a good performance, but what is causing the difference in the html displays?

 

2. Drill down to a specific request

In the  drill down I found that as part of the display request the server also executes a request from the mobile-ads which takes 80% of the time.

 

 

I did the same exercise with Best Buy by opening a page and searching for a laptop.

This site transaction took 42.8 seconds!! I traced the longest calls and drilled down:

 

The search call took 1.1s.

 

 

 

As shown on Charles I can see that the delay (server query) took 1 sec.

 

One of the useful features in Charles is to get curl url – it gives you the full url call which you executed from your command line, in this case I found that this specific call for device details took around 2 seconds:

curl -H ‘Host: www.bestbuy.com’ -H ‘Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1’ -H ‘User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; SM-G935F Build/MMB29K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/62.0.3202.84 Mobile Safari/537.36’ -H ‘Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8’ -H ‘Referer: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?st=XBOX&_dyncharset=UTF-8&_dynSessConf=&id=pcat17071&type=page&sc=Global&cp=1&nrp=&sp=&qp=&list=n&af=true&iht=y&usc=All+Categories&ks=960&keys=keys’ -H ‘Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.9’ -H ‘Cookie……..c?id=pcmcat303600050004′</font=10>

It helps to isolate the issue and now I can drill down to the code and understand where the bottleneck is occurring.

 

 

 

On the Best Buy page I also found that  the ad image size is 1000×1000, good for big desktop but when I search on mobile I should get a smaller image. On mobile it takes time to download big images (network) but also to display it on screen (rendering). By reducing the image size, it will not affect the mobile user experience and it will improve the site performance.

 

 

 

Summary

 User expectations are raising the bar on app performance and release velocity are requiring Dev & QA to fix fast. In most cases the performance issues are related to access to the databases or network. Analyzing the HAR file will give you more information about both and help you with the following:

  • What has been transferred over the network
  • How much time it took to execute specific transaction
  • How the third party integration affects your app
  • Was the right image matched to the right screen size

BUT …

Keeping everything we just spoke about in mind and how beneficial the HAR files can be, it is also important to understand that this process is very complicated and requires manual actions to setup an HAR file. This is why the Perfecto cloud made it simple to collect HAR file data as part of the automation scripts; in order to give our customer the ability to analyze their mobile and web  applications and improve quality based on the network data.

To read more on HAR file check out:

http://developers.perfectomobile.com/display/PD/Generate+and+Analyze+HAR+files

 

 

Perfecto Blog

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Siri bug in iOS 11 enables access to hidden notifications

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iOS 11 Bug

One of the more clever security features of the iPhone X is that messages and other notifications on the lock screen can only be viewed in their entirety when a person’s face is authorized via Face ID. The feature is turned on by default and prevents individuals in your vicinity from taking a quick peek at potentially sensitive information.

Now comes word that a pesky Siri bug provides people with an avenue to look at the content of lock screen notifications without authorization. Originally spotted by Mac Magazine, all someone has to do is ask Siri to read a notification out loud whereupon Siri will read it aloud.

According to the report, the bug only seems to work when applied to third-party notifications, which is to say that your private text messages via Apple’s Messages app are still secure.Still, given the plethora of messaging apps used today — such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp — it’s definitely an issue worth highlighting and one that could be problematic for a large number of users.

The bug works on the most recent iteration of iOS (iOS 11.2.6) and is said to work on the iOS 11.3 beta as well.

Hopefully Apple will fix the bug ASAP, because the illusion of security is arguably more dangerous than no security at all. In the latter case, users will at the very least take steps to keep their phone away from prying eyes.

Apple – BGR

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