Apple eliminates iPhone camera hijack; pays hacker $75,000

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iPhone-11-cameras
Safari flaws allowed camera and microphone access on iPhone.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple has eliminated a number of serious flaws that allowed an iPhone’s camera to be hijacked.

Hacker Ryan Pickren discovered the vulnerabilities during a “pretty intense” bug-hunting expedition in Safari. He was paid $75,000 through Apple’s Bug Bounty Program for his efforts.

PSA: For COVID-19 Disaster Loan applications, use Chrome not Safari

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The SBA's new online COVID-19 loan form doesn't work properly in Safari.
The SBA's new online COVID-19 loan form doesn't work properly in Safari.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Here’s a tip for small-business owners trying to fill out the Small Business Administration’s new online COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program application: Use Google’s Chrome browser, not Safari.

Unfortunately, the online form for the SBA’s COVID-19 loans doesn’t function correctly using Apple’s browser.

How to force Safari to open tabs the way it should

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paper notebook with tabs
Tabs, just like those that Safari now messes up.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

At some point, fairly recently, Safari started opening new tabs to the right of the currently open tab, instead of opening them at the end of the tab bar, as nature intended. This means that you have to search for the newly opened tab, instead of just knowing exactly where it is. I can see the point of opening tabs next to the current one, but I don’t like it.

Happily, there’s a way to revert Safari’s behavior to the good old way — the way my grandmother, and her grandmother before her, dealt with their tabs. It’s a simple option inside Safari’s debug menu. Wait? Debug menu?

How to change your Safari downloads folder on iPhone and iPad

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books
Don't let your iCloud Drive end up looking like this.
Photo: lle dnuor/Unsplash

By default, Safari on iOS downloads all files to a folder in your iCloud. This means you can access those files from all your devices. But it also means those files fill up your iCloud Drive. Worse, every megabyte you download also gets uploaded back to iCloud, doubling your bandwidth usage.

Today we’ll see how to change the location of your Safari downloads folder in iOS 13.

Apple ‘discussing’ plans to allow third-party browsers, email apps to be defaults on iOS

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close all tabs
You might not be stuck with Safari for much longer.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is finally “considering” giving users the ability to set third-party web browsers and email clients as defaults on iOS, according to a new Bloomberg report. It could also open up HomePod to rival music streaming services.

iPhone and iPad owners can already install third-party alternatives, but iOS currently does not allow them to override Apple’s built-in services. That could change as Apple faces increasing pressure over the tight control it imposes over its mobile devices.

Google finds 5 privacy vulnerabilities in Safari’s privacy tools

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safari
Apple's innovative Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature had some big flaws.
Photo: Apple

Google’s security researchers unearthed some huge security vulnerabilities in Safari that let users’ online behavior to be tracked.

Ironically, the researchers found the vulnerabilities in the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature Apple added in 2017 to shield users from tracking in the first place.

How to stop Safari asking permission to download everything

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safari download
Imagine if real deliveries had to be given permission to arrive. What a second…
Photo: Kelli McClintock/Unsplash

Ever since Safari 13, the Mac browser now prompts you every time you try to download a file. In this way, it behaves much like Safari for iOS. It’s a security feature, clearly designed to stop websites sneaking files onto your computer. But perhaps you value the convenience of uncontrolled downloads more than this added security? If so, you’re in luck, because you can turn this feature off. Better still, you can still block Safari downloads from “bad” sites, even while allowing new ones automatically.

How to highlight text and add post-its in Safari

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Highlighter for Safari.
Highlight in Safari.
Photo: Denise Jans/Unsplash

There are a handful of webpages I keep referring back to, often reading the same parts over and over. They may be part of an instruction manual, or other reference material1. And sometimes, while researching an article, I want to highlight sections and phrases to find them more easily. Just like using a highlighter marker on a sheet of paper.

Until now, I’ve never found good way to do it. Apps required me to sign up for an account, or store my highlights on their servers, or pay a subscription. Or the app was just plain clunky. Then I found Highlighter for Safari.