Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

This month, join us and Relay FM in supporting St. Jude.

Email aliases presenting issues in latest Apple updates

Saw this post by Juli Clover over at MacRumors about email aliases not working correctly in iOS 14:

Those aliases are not working as intended as of the iOS 14 update, with the Mail app on iPhone and iPad ignoring the preferred alias that’s selected when sending an email.

I’ve been meaning to write something because I’ve been seeing this behavior on my iMac running macOS 10.15.7. Every time I check the preferences in the Mail app, it’s defaulted my address to instead.1

This has annoyed me several times in the last couple weeks as I’ve sent a message off only to realize that it came from an address I don’t really use. For me, it’s a matter of preference, but I can imagine there are a number of cases in which it could be a more significant issue for users.

Weirdly enough this doesn’t seem to be happening for me on either my iPhone or iPad running iOS 14.0.1. Very peculiar.

  1. 🤮 

Apple-Epic hearing points to long road to come

Patrick McGee, a reporter for the Financial Times, live-tweeted yesterday’s hearing for the Epic v. Apple case in a lengthy thread that’s well worth reading if you’re interested in the case.

Highlights have been pulled out elsewhere, including from Kyle Orland at Ars Technica, but the upshot seems to be that while solid arguments were made on both sides, Epic definitely took the brunt of the judge’s attention yesterday.

A written decision will likely be handed down in the next few days, with the next step being a trial in 2021. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers also suggested that the trial might involve a jury, which adds an additional dimension to the case. Barring Epic and Apple coming to some sort of understanding between now and then—not particularly likely, given the latest shots fired—we’ll have to tune in next summer to see what happens.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

Three ways Apple could improve its core Services experience

Services: they’re so hot right now.

Earlier this year, Apple beat its self-stated goal of doubling Services revenue in 2020 with time to spare, and the company has not only recently announced that it will be launching a new service, Apple Fitness+, but also finally elected to offer a competitively priced bundle of its many services to consumers.

With all of that said, there are some elements of Apple’s services that are still a bit lackluster, and more than a few of them are parts of the very systems on which the company and its users rely. In the same way that you might want to look to patching a foundation before worrying about painting the walls, there are a few places where Apple might want to shore up its fundamentals before launching into something new.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

By Dan Moren

Amazon is selling safety with a side of paranoia

Writing at Fast Company, Jared Newman adroitly points out that a central thread of Amazon’s product announcements this week is that they’re based on fear of crime:

The rapid-fire video presentation had a lot to take in, but through it all, there was one clear, recurring theme: Danger is everywhere; Amazon can make you safe again. Amazon’s vision for the smart home is an increasingly fearful one, in which intruders must be persistently fended off. Even previously innocent products like the Echo speaker now play a key role Amazon’s ever-expanding security push.

Ring Drone

Personally, I’m still goggling a bit at the idea of a drone that flies around your house with a security camera. Having played many stealth action games in my life, these are the kinds of thing that you end up sneaking around to avoid, and it is wild to me that somebody—really, many somebodies—decided that this was a product worth making. I showed this to my wife and it earned an instant “nope”, a sentiment with which I—a self-acknowledged smart home tech enthusiast—wholeheartedly agree. This is just a bridge too far.

Meanwhile, there’s also a Ring car alarm which you can use to remotely sound a siren—because car sirens have definitely proven to be effective1 and not at all annoying. And a mailbox security sensor. And your Echo now listens for more things to warn you about. It seems like you’re going to be getting notifications every few seconds about something to worry about, and frankly, I already get that same effect from news alerts.

Look, I’m not immune to these concerns about safety. As a new homeowner, I bought a couple of Eufy wireless security cameras for my house, not least of all because we haven’t moved in yet, and I wanted to keep an eye on the place. But I also don’t feel the need to turn my house into a fortress. Amazon, however, seems to be of the opinion that your house, car, and property all need 24/7 protection because crime is everywhere.

Moreover, Amazon is also making a big point of networking its devices together—and not just your devices. Amazon Sidewalk, which is enabled on new Amazon Echo devices and Ring cameras and will also be offered to owners of existing devices, connects these smart devices throughout your neighborhood. Which proponents might argue creates a sort of digital “Neighborhood Watch” situation—but that’s a type of organization that is certainly not without deep-rooted problems in issues like racial discrimination.2

And while I hesitate to throw out statistics, the latest crime numbers from the FBI (which covers 2018—the 2019 numbers are still pending) suggest that burglaries are way down in the last decade. Whether there’s an effect from the fact that society is just generally more surveilled—i.e. not only the growth of smart home tech, but also the fact that we’re all carrying smart communications devices with cameras these days—is nothing more than supposition on my part, but it is an interesting consideration when put up against this sales pitch on Amazon’s part.3

Frankly, though, the biggest question for me about selling a home security drone at this particular moment in time is: who the heck is leaving their house enough that they need this?

But, hey, fear sells, and Amazon surely knows that. That said, one thing that I don’t think gets enough attention here is the fine line between surveillance and safety: sure, these products might protect you from people physically entering your homes…but you’re also inviting in even more devices that can watch and track you. So, in the net, are you really actually any safer?

  1. </sarcasm> 
  2. Not the first place where Amazon has tried this either
  3. And, of course, that’s after the recession too, suggesting that the rebound in the economy might have an effect. Lots of possible factors, and I don’t want to make any arguments about causation. 

[Dan Moren is the official Dan of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

More shots fired in App Store anticompetition war

Epic is taking its battle with Apple to the next level by recruiting a bunch of like-minded companies for a team-up. The Coalition for App Fairness is a non-profit that counts among its members Basecamp, Deezer, Spotify, ProtonMail, and Tile, with the stated aim “to preserve consumer choice and a level playing field for app and game developers that rely on app stores and the most popular gatekeeper platforms.” And if you think that means Apple, well, yeah, pretty much.

Among the chief allegations the Coalition focuses on Apple is anticompetitive behavior, for which it uses examples of Tile (for which Apple is rumored to launch a competing device, though it hasn’t yet done so) and…the Kindle. Which, okay, though perhaps picking the world’s most popular e-reader and book store doesn’t exactly make the most convincing argument. It also argues that the App Store’s 30 percent cut is excessive, and that the App Store limits consumer freedom.

Apple, meanwhile, has posted new pages on the App Store, touting the benefits of its marketplace, including the trust and security that it argues have made it so popular, as well as making the case for developers, though it obviously doesn’t draw a lot of attention to the cut it takes, or how that has bolstered its bottom-line Services revenue.

So, in short, this battle is far from over—in fact, it’s just heating up. Many of the companies in the CAF are direct competitors to Apple, which certainly colors some of their arguments. Long term, any real challenge to Apple’s status is going to likely have to come from one of two sources: first, Apple’s own concessions, and secondly, governmental regulation. Neither of which seem likely to happen any time in the immediate future. But it will be interesting to see if Epic can continue to grow its alliance of developers, and whether it can get to the point where it’s big enough that Apple has to take notice.

Homescreen customization, favorite iOS 14 features and bugs, the devices on which we work, and vintage tech we coveted.

By Dan Moren

Enabling the Debug menu in Safari 14 on Big Sur and Catalina

Update 9/22: After further testing, it seems the standard defaults write command does continue to work in macOS Catalina with Safari 14, though the Big Sur beta may require the method mentioned below.

Update 2 9/22: Oh, what a tangled web we weave… It turns out it’s a little more complicated than the post below makes it sound. Developer Jeff Johnson has written a great blog post explaining exactly what’s going on here: it involves a combination of macOS sandboxing and System Integrity Protection. In certain cases you can use defaults write in Big Sur—if you’ve granted Terminal access to your disk in the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences.

With new Apple software updates come new questions, and reader Martin has one related to an old tip of mine:

Thanks for the great tip on fixing tab behavior.

However, the directions on how to get the debug menu no longer seem to work with Safari 14. Any idea on how to enable nowadays?

Great question! The tip in question deals with making new Safari tabs open at the end of the window rather than next to the active tab, a behavior that many users prefer. Thus far you’ve been able to change that setting in Safari’s hidden Debug menu, but Martin’s right that Safari 14 adds some additional complications.

It seems that the trusty defaults write command does no longer allows users to enable Safari’s Debug menu. So I enlisted my pal, dicemaster, and developer extraordinaire James Thomson to help me figure out this puzzle.

First, just to note: it seems that, having already had the Debug menu enabled on my iMac running Catalina, it’s persisted with the update to Safari 14. But if you want to newly enable it in Safari 14 on Catalina (or on the Big Sur beta), you’ll need to use the following process.

So, with the Safari 14 update, the preferences file that you need to edit to enable the Debug menu no longer resides in the Preferences directory of your library1, and the defaults command thus can’t edit it. However, it’s still possible to make the Debug menu show up—it’s just a little more complicated.

You’ll want to navigate to ~/Library/Containers/—note that if you’re trying this on the Big Sur beta and you’re using the Finder and not Terminal, the path is ~/Library/Containers/Safari/Data/Library/Preferences/.2

No matter how you get to that folder, open the file in it using your favorite text editor—I’d, naturally, recommend BBEdit, but TextEdit should work too.

Scroll down or search the file to find the phrase IncludeDevelopMenu—this isn’t the key that you want to edit, but it’s handy to keep things organized. Above that entry (which should start with <key>), paste the following two lines:


Save the file, reboot Safari, and voilà, the Debug menu should appear, allowing you to once again set your tab behavior to that which is undeniably correct. Happy tabbing!

  1. That clearly made too much sense. 
  2. It’s the same directory, but in Big Sur it displays differently in the command-line and the GUI for…reasons?) 

[Dan Moren is the official Dan of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

By Dan Moren

Some quick thoughts on today’s Apple event

Apple’s concluded its latest event and it was a quick, efficient affair at just over an hour. Still, Apple didn’t waste too much time, rolling out a handful of expected announcements, one or two surprises, and some unforeseen details. Here’s a quick rundown of what was shown off and the salient details that struck me.

Apple Watch goes to VI

Apple Watch

There are two new Apple Watch models: at the top of the spectrum, the new Series 6, which packs in additional features—an improved always-on display, a new system chip, and a blood oxygen sensor; and the Apple Watch SE which doesn’t replace the low-end Series 3, as expected, but stakes out a $279 GPS/$329 GPS + Cellular middle ground. It uses the new larger screen form factor, but lacks the always-on display, ECG capabilities, and new blood oxygen sensor as the Series 6. It also comes in an aluminum finish only and a smaller range of colors. (Hey, there are blue and red Apple Watch finishes now! Awesome!)

Overall, Apple’s reserved the always-on screen as one of its primary selling points for the Series 6 which, though disappointing, is hardly surprising. There will come a day, surely, when every Apple Watch being sold has an always-on display, but today is not the day. Still, at 65-70 percent of the price of the Series 6, it seems to provide more than 65-70 percent of the features, so I imagine it’ll convert a lot of people who want the cheap price of the Series 3, but the much nicer bigger screen.

Ditching the power adapter for the Watch seems like a solid idea—of Apple’s products, I imagine it’s the one that requires the lowest power draw; any old USB power adapter can probably handle it. The new Family Setup option is another nice addition; perhaps more plausible to get a Watch for a younger kid than an iPhone?

Those new bands are cool, but don’t expect them all to be affordable. The Solo Loop is $49, which isn’t surprising, but the Braided Loop is a pretty eye-popping $99. Just on the edge of impulse purchase there.

Service lineup shapes up with Fitness+

An Apple fitness service has been rumored for some time, and if you had to guess what it might look like, this seems pretty much it: close integration with Apple Watch sensor details, custom Apple Music playlists, and professional trainers.

Apple Fitness+
Look, I’m excited about Apple Fitness+, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be THIS excited.

Interesting to see Apple roll this out when they still maintain a partnership with Nike, which offers its own fitness service—though Nike also has a free tier, which Apple Fitness+ lacks. (You do get that three free months with a new purchase, which is on par with the original Apple Music trial, if not quite the generous terms of that one-year free of Apple TV+.) The rest of us get a free month.

Apple’s not only been making a big deal about fitness for a while, but it’s also clearly been backing that up by building out a fitness team, and from little we saw of Fitness+, it’s not a fly-by-night affair. I think a lot of people currently stuck in their houses are going to be inspired to give it a shot, and tying it into other Apple products1 is potentially going to win it some converts.

Speaking of tying it in with other products….

Bundle up!

Apple One
Apple One to rule them all.

With the leaks over the weekend, the news about the Apple One bundle did not come as a shock—even the name was pretty well staked out. But what we do have now are details—specifically three plans.

Individual costs $14.95 per month and includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage. (Individually, around $21/month.)

Family bumps that to 200GB of iCloud storage that you can share among six family members for $19.95 per month. (Individually, around $28/month.)

Premier also includes Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud Storage “where available” (countries that support Apple News+, presumably), for $29.95 and can still be shared amongst six family members. (Individually, around $55/month.)

Currently, I’m only paying for Apple Music and 200GB of iCloud storage, which costs me $12.98, but that’s because I’m still on that one year Apple TV+ free trial. Once that’s over, it’ll bump me up to $17.97 (assuming the $4.99 Apple TV+ subscription holds true). Which means if I sign up for the Family Plan—something which I don’t currently need—I’ll get Apple Arcade for essentially $2 per month which, okay, fine, but not something that really does it for me.

Apple One Premier

The Premier plan seems the most attractive, pricewise, but the real question is whether you use or would use enough of those services to justify the savings. But Apple News+ very much feels like it’s being thrown in there after the fact because it’s the service nobody really wants?

Worst of all, today’s announcements did nothing for iCloud storage tiers. Everybody still gets a measly 5GB to start, so if you’re going to be paying more for some of those plans, might be worth it to at least get some additional services for a discount.

iPad goes out for some Air

The eighth-generation iPad update was one of the more surprising announcements, but it’s not as though it’s a major one. The A12 Bionic provides a nice speed bump and holds down that valuable $329 price point, but that’s about it.

iPad Air
Such pretty colors!

The iPad Air, though, got the big expected redesign, mimicking the Pro’s look but with some novel aspects. Most significantly, the iPad debuts—possibly for the first time ever—Apple’s next-generation silicon, the A14. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will also be in the iPhone 12, and was likely supposed to debut simultaneously in both, had the iPhone been ready in time. I’ve also crossed my fingers that whatever Apple silicon Mac gets unveiled by the end of the year will have a version of it as well.

There’s also the new Touch ID sensor embedded in the Sleep/Wake button. There’s been speculation for a long time that Apple wasn’t done with Touch ID yet, and now we’ve got our answer. The big question is whether that will make it into other Apple products: I imagine the underlying improved sensor could show up in a Mac, for example, but given the problems our face-mask lifestyles have raised, might the soon-to-arrive iPhone 12 have both Touch ID and Face ID? Doesn’t seem out of the question to me, and it would be a welcome addition.

The Air also gets a USB-C port and support for the Magic Keyboard, a smart move since it opens up sales of that accessory to a big new market. Other than the additional cameras, LIDAR, and the bigger screen option, the Air is pretty competitive against the Pro; the big thing holding it back at present is storage—the base model is just 64GB, and you’ll have to fork over another $150 to move up to 256GB.

Unlike the Apple Watch, the iPad Air does include a charger in the box. For one thing, it’s a USB-C adapter to provide faster charging; I have noticed that even my 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017 struggles to power up from a low charge with a USB-C-to-Lightning cable connected to my iMac. For another, many users probably don’t have a USB-C charger sitting around as they do with countless traditional USB power plugs, and, as Washington Post tech reporter and my former Macworld colleague Heather Kelly pointed out, the majority of recent iPad purchasers are new to iPad period.

Finally, let’s all give a big welcome back to color! The blue and green iPads look great to me, and I’d happily take either of them to replace my tried-and-true space gray model. Here’s hoping that more color makes its way to the Mac lineup too!

Update: A previous version of this article misstated the base-level iPad Air storage as 32GB; it’s 64GB.

  1. I note the Apple press release on Fitness+ calls out the iPhone 6s or later, iPhone SE, iPad Pro, 5th generation iPad or later, iPad mini 4 or later, iPad Air 2 or third-generation iPad Air, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD…but no mention of the Mac whatsoever. Even though the Fitness app could run on forthcoming Apple Silicon Macs? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

[Dan Moren is the official Dan of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

By Dan Moren for Macworld

What to expect at Apple’s ‘Time Flies’ event

Sooner than perhaps any of us might have anticipated, Apple news is upon us. On Tuesday, the company will unveil its first products of the fall as it ramps up for the holiday quarter to come.

A September event is, obviously, nothing new for Apple, which has been holding them regularly for the last decade. In years past, that’s meant rolling out new models of iPhones, but expectations have been set by Apple (during its last quarterly conference call) and what seem like some strategic leaks that the iPhones will be arriving later than usual this year. To wit: don’t look for them this week.

So, with Apple’s new smartphones out of the running, what exactly is in store for this event? Let’s run down the most likely contenders.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

By Dan Moren

Command performance: Mission Control

One of the reasons I still gravitate toward my Mac for most of my working needs is its unparalleled implementation of multitasking—it’s one place that the iPad still hasn’t really caught up, in my opinion. The Mac, of course, has been doing multitasking in one way or another for thirty-plus years, and in that time, while it’s gotten more powerful, it’s also gotten more overwhelming. You can be running a dozen apps on your Mac at the same time, never mind all the little programs running beneath the surface. How do you keep track of everything that’s going on?

Well, if you’re Apple, you make a feature that lets you get a top-down view of all your open windows. In 2003, as the company was introducing Mac OS X 10.3 Panther1, it showed off what it then called Exposé2. The idea was simple: hit a keystroke and all of your windows would shrink down and appear as little thumbnails, carefully laid out so as not to overlap; another key would show you just the windows for the foreground app.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

Apple codifies policy for game streaming services on App Store

Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines to add specific rules about streaming games, in the wake of its disputes with Microsoft and Epic:

Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.

Moreover, sub-clauses require that each game must be listed in the App Store as an individual app, and catalog apps that let users sign up for a streaming service must comply with other guidelines, including subscribing via in-app purchase and using Sign in with Apple.

From Apple’s point of view, it now has explicit rules to point to, but honestly, all this really means is that there won’t be game streaming services on the App Store. Neither Microsoft nor Epic is going to spend the time or money on what is not an insignificant amount of work and have to hand over the 30 percent cut to Apple on top of that. Just not going to happen.

To my mind, this remains a short-sighted and ill thought out decision on Apple’s part. Game streaming services aren’t going away, and if iOS is the only platform that they’re not available on, then, honestly, that just hurts iOS. Apple has clearly decided that it doesn’t care about losing those customers—that it’s an acceptable trade-off for not losing the revenue and the control over App Store contents.

But, as the company continues to find itself under fire for restrictive and potentially anticompetitive behavior on the App Store, it certainly seems as though it’s yet another log on the fire for those developers wondering if the App Store is really the right fit for them. Apple may be able to win this fight on technicalities, but there’s a high risk for it losing out in the long run.

Apple event hopes, finding joy, our NFC uses, and how virtual conferences have changed things for the better.

Apple fall event happening September 15

Some of Apple’s announcements may be delayed, but it looks like the company will still be holding its fall event more or less right on schedule. Set your calendars for September 15 at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern.

As to what precisely will be announced at such an event, well, there are options almost too numerous to consider: new iPhone models, new Apple Watches, rumored updates to the iPad Air, a cheaper HomePod, over-the-ear headphones, AirTags, Apple-silicon-powered Macs…and maybe some surprises?

We here at Six Colors World Headquarters will provide some coverage of the event as it happens (though not from Apple Park), so be sure to keep your eyes on this very site or on our Six Colors Event Twitter feed on the day of for blow-by-blow reactions.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

Does the Apple TV have a future?

The Apple TV: perhaps the most unloved of Apple’s major platforms? Even though the Apple TV has been around about as long as the iPhone—it was actually shown off by Steve Jobs before the iPhone’s announcement, though it was then called the “iTV”—the set-top box has long seemed an afterthought for the company.

That’s only increased more recently as Apple has embarked upon partnerships with third-party makers of televisions and set-top competitors to expand the footprint of its Apple TV+ service, bringing those devices features like the Apple TV app and AirPlay 2.

Still, recent rumors suggest that an updated Apple TV may be waiting in the wings, though what enhancements it might feature are largely anybody’s guess. But with all of the changes in the streaming world and Apple’s position in it, is there still room for the Apple TV as a distinct product?

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

This week, on the 30-minute tech podcast that’s ready to eat, Dan and Mikah are joined by special guests Shelly Brisbin an Joe Rosensteel. Hot topics include: What’s your online fact-finding process? Is the pandemic causing our social skills to atrophy? What Apple rumors have you most — and least — excited? If you could use a high-performance virtual workstation offsite, would you?

We’re here to preach the gospel of Ted Lasso and tell you how you can get anointed by a fav from Jason Sudeikis. Turns out it’s pretty easy.

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