AWT News Update: March 28, 2017

More updates after the updates, a security whitepaper, and a great way to start weeding out 32-bit iOS apps:

  • One day after swamping the internet with OS updates, Apple releases developer betas of new updates to its operating systems
  • Want to know what makes Apple device security so good? There's a whitepaper that just got published that gives the details on how they do it
  • 32-bit apps are going away later this year. Here's how to start getting them off of your iOS devices

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for March 28th, 2017.

Apple spared no time after delivering all of those updates yesterday to send some new beta operating systems out to developers today. iOS 10.3.2 is out now…which is odd because they appear to have skipped 10.3.1. Developers can download the 10.3.2 update from the Apple Developer Center, or it can be installed over-the-air if the proper configuration profile is installed. Apparently one of the key changes in 10.3.2 will be a fix to the new SiriKit car commands, which didn’t work as expected in 10.3. watchOS also bumped up to version 3.2.2, macOS Sierra is beta in version 10.12.5, and there’s even a beta for tvOS 10.2.1. We’re not sure what changes are available for those other updates, except the usual “stability, compatibility, and security” improvements.

Later this year, probably with the arrival of iOS 11, Apple will pull the plug on 32-bit apps. You might want to start weeding out those apps that haven’t been updated yet, as the developers are probably not going to update them and the apps just won’t work in the future. We found that it’s quite easy to check for 32-bit apps. Launch Settings, tap on General, then About, then Applications. Under the title App Compatibility is a list of 32-bit apps. On my personal iPhone, I found 11 apps that are 32-bit and currently show no signs of being updated anytime soon. Of those, one is an exercise app required for a ResearchKit study, so I’d be willing to bet it will be updated. Four are games that came out years ago and haven’t been updated, three are network utilities that were available for free, one is a recipe app, and one is a reference app. The confusing one is Google Earth; perhaps they’re just never going to update it for iOS. It may be a little early to start pruning the incompatible apps, but then again, why keep using apps that aren’t going to work unless their developers actually update them?

Apple released a new security whitepaper today, something that’s not done very often. But when they do come out, these whitepapers are worth reading just to get an idea of how well the company takes care of your private information. For example, Apple opened up Touch ID to third-party developers in iOS 9 and later versions. The notes show that apps can generate and use keys that can be protected by Touch ID. This is all done on a one-time basis without re-using keys that can be stolen or leaked. Apple also makes sure that your Apple TV, iOS devices, and HomeKit accessories are all kept hacker free using two-factor authentication and then generating temporary keys that are eventually used to secure communications between those devices. The whitepaper also talks about how transaction handoffs work when you use Apple Pay on the web and need to validate the purchase from your iPhone or Apple Watch. The whitepaper can be downloaded from Apple through a link in the show notes.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.