Apple releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6 with new wallpapers & icons

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Right on schedule, Apple has released the sixth preview of the upcoming OS X Yosemite to developers today. This new seed comes two weeks following the previous release, and it likely continues to bring performance enhancements, interface tweaks, and bug fixes. We’ll be updating this post with the changes in Preview 6 as they are discovered. If you find something new, you can let us know at tips@9to5mac.com. The release version of Yosemite is currently scheduled for the later half of October, and it will ship separately from iOS 8, which is not seeing a new beta today. Here’s what’s new:

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Apple bolstering ‘Report A Problem’ Maps options in iOS 8

Apple has shown a renewed focus on Maps with iOS 8. Although headline features like transit did not show at WWDC, recent iOS 8 betas are bringing improvements to the ‘Report A Problem’ features. The frequency at which these updates are passed through has also improved dramatically in the past couple of months.

Apple has added a new explicit ‘follow-up by email’ option at the end of the Report A Problem form. This means Apple is now actively looking to get additional information about map queries from customers via email.

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Apple starts using China Telecom’s data centers to store iCloud data for China users, rather than US locations

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Update: Apple confirmed the use of China Telecom servers in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

But the company said Friday in a statement to The Wall Street Journal that all data stored is encrypted, meaning China Telecom won’t have access to its content.

“Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously. We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland China,” it said.

Apple has begun using Chinese data centers to store iCloud data for local Apple customers, the first time Apple has used mainland China for iCloud account and information storage. On a municipal government website, Fuzhuo City Telecom said that ‘Apple China has completed the iCloud data dump into China Telecom’s cloud services’. The post has since been taken down from the government site, however.

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Apple seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 build 13F12 to developers

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Apple today has provided developers with the second beta of the upcoming OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 release. The new build number is 13F12 and it is available on the Mac Developer Center and in Software Update in the Mac App Store for those running the earlier build. Apple asks developers to focus testing on USB, USB Smart Cards, Safari, Graphics, and Thunderbolt.

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New Apple TV beta brings refreshed look with iOS-like icons and thinner text (Gallery)

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In addition to issuing updates to the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite betas, Apple has released a new beta version of the Apple TV software. While earlier Apple TV betas did not bring more than new Family Sharing and iCloud Photos support, today’s update brings a refined look to the Apple TV Home screen. Taking cues from iOS and OS X, the new update brings completely redesigned icons to the Apple set-top-box and a new thinner font first introduced last year with iOS 7. A couple more images of the new interface are below:

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Apple releases iOS 8 beta 5 to developers with Health enhancements, UI tweaks

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As expected, Apple has released iOS 8 beta 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to developers this morning. This update, like the past betas, includes various performance and bug fixes. The previous beta brought various minor user-interface touch-ups and a new Tips app to iOS 8. We’ll be updating this post as new discoveries are made in iOS 8 beta, and you can send us what you find to tips@9to5mac.com. You can find what’s new in beta 5, below:

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iCloud Mail experiencing issues with slower than normal responses

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iCloud Mail is currently experiencing service issues. The conflict has been impacting users for more than an hour and is currently ongoing according to Apple’s system status page. “Users may experience slower than normal response when using iCloud mail,” Apple’s description of the service disruption says.

It appears Apple’s App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store also experienced down time with customers not being able to make purchases, but Apple’s system status page says that outage was resolved after just over an hour. The iCloud Mail issue, however, is ongoing. (Update: Resolved as expected.)

Nope, it’s not just you, John Hodgman, but we do miss your ads.

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Apple to again wipe all CloudKit data tomorrow, July 22nd

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Apple’s release notes for OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 4 reveal that the company will be wiping CloudKit data tomorrow.

This data has to do with the new iCloud storage APIs in iOS 8 and Yosemite as well as with the upcoming iCloud Drive online storage feature. It’s best to safely store anything of importance before tomorrow’s wipe:

CloudKit Note: All public CloudKit databases are scheduled to be emptied on Tuesday, July 22nd.

Apple previously wiped CloudKit data ahead of iOS 8 beta 3 and OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 3. Thanks, Genady!

Update: Apple has emailed developers about the wipe, noting that iCloud Drive, Photos, and other iCloud-related products besides CloudKit storage will not be wiped:

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iOS 8 beta 4 includes new Tips app with quick feature tutorials (Gallery)

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iOS 8 beta 4 brings a new app to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch called Tips. The application, as the name implies, provides quick tips and tutorials about iOS features. The app will be updated on a regular basis with new ways to use iOS device features. Apple has also launched a Tips website (in beta) so these tutorials can be accessed from a Mac web browser. You can find a full gallery of the current implementation of Tips, below:

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Apple ID two-step verification feature rolls out to dozens of new countries

Apple this week has greatly expanded the availability of its Apple ID two-step verification, bringing the feature from 11 countries to 59 countries. Two-step verification for Apple IDs uses either iOS’s Find my iPhone application or SMS to provide login verification in addition to a password. The feature first rolled out for both Apple ID and iCloud IDs in early 2013 and it expanded to a few more countries later that year. Here are all the countries that support two-step verification (both the original countries and the new ones):

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Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers

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Last month Apple confirmed that it would soon beef up encryption for iCloud email following a report detailing security flaws in major email services. While Apple previously encrypted emails sent between its own iCloud customers, now the company has enabled encryption for emails in transit between iCloud and third-party services for me.com and mac.com email addresses. 

The change is documented on Google’s transparency website that shows the percentage of emails encrypted in transit for both inbound and outbound email exchanges (pictured below): Read more

Apple seeking ‘photography enthusiast’ retail employees to test OS X Photos app

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Apple is seeking employees from its own retail stores who have shown an enthusiasm for photography to test the upcoming OS X Photos application and iCloud Photos feature. Apple, last week, reached out to retail employees offering such a “career experience,” and here is the message to retail staff as provided by multiple retail employees:

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