Apple: We’ll ‘soon’ begin encrypting iCloud email in transit between providers

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Following the publication of an NPR article detailing the security of major email services, Apple has informed the network that it is working on an update to its iCloud Mail service that encrypts emails in transit from other providers. As of right now, iCloud emails are solely encrypted in transit from one iCloud email account to another, but an email sent from iCloud to Gmail or Yahoo (as examples) or vice versa is not currently encrypted. This is what will change:

Apple encrypts e-mail from its customers to iCloud. However, Apple is one of the few global email providers based in the U.S. that is not encrypting any of its customers’ email in transit between providers. After we published, the company told us this would soon change. This affects users of me.com and mac.com email addresses.

The enhancement will come into effect “soon,” but Apple is not more specific than that on the timeframe. While the quote above oddly does not specify icloud.com addresses, that newer Apple email domain likely falls into the same category as me.com and mac.com. The lack of end-to-end iCloud Mail encryption with Gmail, for example, is shown on Google’s data protection transparency website:

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Skype for iPhone gets ground-up redesign; top designer talks future iPad & iOS 8 updates

A few years ago, Skype was the rockstar of the messaging world, but now with smartphones and mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, Skype’s iPhone feature-set and application have begun to stagnate. However, the Skype development team has not been standing still. The Microsoft-owned company is revealing today that it is nearing the launch of a completely revamped Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch. I met with lead Skype designer Guilherme Schneider last week for an exclusive preview and an interview regarding the new software, and the application certainly seems impressive…

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OS X Yosemite introduces iMessage screen sharing, FaceTime Audio conference calls with iOS 8

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Apple has made a few new changes to its first-party voice and text services in the newest versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems. Some users are reporting that iOS 8 now features the ability to create conference FaceTime Audio calls. Previously FaceTime audio calls could only be made from one user to another, but now you can add additional users to a call in progress.

OS X Yosemite sports a new addition to its iMessage capabilities. While screen sharing has always been possible over alternative services like AIM, Apple now allows you to use the built-in screen sharing feature in the Messages app over an iMessage account. Unfortunately the feature seems to be broken in the first Yosemite beta, but it is expected to be functional by the time the software ships.

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A detailed look at the Messages app’s new features in iOS 8 (Video)

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At first glance, you may not notice anything different about the Messages app in iOS 8, but there is definitely a lot more going on when compared to iOS 7. Within the Messages app, Apple added several features including Tap to Talk which allows you to quickly record an audio/video message to send and playback inline within the app and the ability to quick reply to incoming messges.

Along with that, there’s a new Details tab that contains several useful features like an attachment gallery, Do Not Disturb (per message thread), and location sharing abilities. Check out our hands-on video with the new Messages app to get a first look at all of new feature you can expect when iOS 8 is released later this year.

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Apple formally acknowledges iMessage issue, says bug fix coming in a ‘future software update’

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In a statement to Re/code, Apple has acknowledged the iMessage issue which affects customers who switch away from the iPhone, without disabling iMessage. This means that texts to these users are never delivered, as iPhone devices continue to use the iMessage protocol on the phone number that is no longer associated with an iPhone. Aside from a second-hand report by an AppleCare representative, this is Apple’s first official response to the recent criticism.

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Apple reportedly acknowledges hijacked text message problem

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Adam Pash, former lead editor of Lifehacker, reports that Apple has acknowledged a problem we’ve heard reported before: text messages continue to be converted to iMessages and forwarded to an Apple ID even when that ID is no longer in use. This means that any text messages sent from an iPhone are reported as delivered while actually disappearing into the ether.

[The AppleCare rep] explained:

  1. This is a problem a lot of people are facing.
  2. The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it.
  3. There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in my boat …

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Apple publishes new legal process guidelines for law enforcement information requests

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Earlier this month Apple announced its decision to notify customers of law enforcement requests for user information. Today the company also published a new set of guidelines for law enforcement officials regarding how it will handle such requests, what types of information can be obtained, and more.

Most of the document contains information regular customers won’t ever need to know, but for those interested in Apple’s participation in the legal process will find a wealth of information here. The document also confirms once again that Apple will notify users in most cases where law enforcement requests their personal information:

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Reasons for delay in SSL fix to OS X unclear as a single line of code found responsible

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Update: Apple issued OS X 10.9.2 the following day, which included a fix for the SSL bug.

After Apple fixed the SSL bug in iOS, it’s unclear why three days have passed without an OS X fix after it was revealed by Reuters that the vulnerability was created by an error in a single line of code.

The problem lies in the way the software recognizes the digital certificates used by banking sites, Google’s Gmail service, Facebook and others to establish encrypted connections. A single line in the program and an omitted bracket meant that those certificates were not authenticated at all, so that hackers can impersonate the website being sought and capture all the electronic traffic before passing it along to the real site.

As the bug is in Apple’s SSL authentication code, it leaves a whole range of apps vulnerable, not just Safari …  Read more

Apple seeds a pair of OS X Mavericks updates internally

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Apple has seeded two software upgrades for OS X Mavericks internally, according to a source with knowledge of the upcoming updates. This person says that the updates are labeled as OS X 10.9.1 and OS X 10.9.2. The first update is expected to be released later this month, and it will serve as an update to squash bugs that accompanied the OS X 10.9.0 release of Mavericks last month. Many users have complained about issues relating to the Mail and iBooks applications, and Apple is preparing to release individual bug-fix updates for those apps in the coming days…

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Apple confirms some users experiencing iTunes Store outage

Some users may be experiencing difficulty making purchases on the iTunes Store, according to Apple’s system status page. We’ve heard mentions of issues beginning this morning, and Apple reports trouble starting around 1:30 PM EST. Game Center and FaceTime also experienced issues this afternoon, though the former may be somewhat difficult to notice.

Apple’s iMessage service has been suffering turbulence for days now, which is not reflected on the system status page as it may be limited to iOS 7 users. Apple told the WSJ it is working on a fix for its iMessage issues in a future software update and recommends a workaround in the meantime. Read more

iMessage issues? Apple says fix available in upcoming software update

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Over the past few days, several iOS 7 users have been reporting issues with sending and receiving iMessages. A quick (partially successful) fix has been to Reset Network Settings inside of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch Settings app. However, this mostly has only been working for outgoing iMessages.

Instead of sending as an iMessage, texts have either been reverting to SMS or just hanging without ever sending. Now, Apple has told the WSJ that it is aware of the issue and it is working on a fix for an upcoming software update:

“We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update,” Apple said in a statement. “In the meantime, we encourage any users having problems to reference our troubleshooting documents or contact AppleCare to help resolve their issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes impacted users.”

In the meantime, Apple is recommending that users contact AppleCare. We’re not so sure that will solve anything as this is clearly a software issue that Apple has acknowledged (in the same statement!) will be solved with an actual update. As our own analytics have shown, Apple is widely testing iOS 7.0.3, so perhaps this will be the release with the answers to our iMessage troubles.

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