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TikTok continues to dominate the App Store in 2020.
Congress is worried that apps could pose a security weakness.
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

Apple doesn’t want users covering up their MacBook cameras

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MacBook
Why would you deface your gorgeous MacBook by covering up its FaceTime camera?
Photo: Apple

Mark Zuckerberg introduced large numbers of people to the idea of taping over their MacBook’s camera when, in 2016, he uploaded a photo that revealed a few of his security measures.

But Apple says using camera coverings can hurt MacBooks. In a new support document, Apple notes that covering the MacBook’s built-in FaceTime camera could interfere with the computer’s ambient light sensor, which is located next to the camera. The sensor controls True Tone and the Mac’s automatic brightness feature.

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Need to manage employees' Apple devices? Hexnode offers the tools you need.
Need to remotely manage employee iPhones, Macs and iPads? Hexnode offers the tools you need.
Photo: Hexnode

Apple insists big Mail app security flaws have not been exploited

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Mail app inbox
Nothing to worry about?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple insisted on Friday that there is no evidence to suggest serious security flaws in its Mail app have been exploited.

The company says the issues do not pose an immediate risk to iPhone and iPad users. Its statement seems to dispute earlier claims from security researchers, who published details of at multiple suspected “attacks” on Wednesday.

How to protect yourself against the iOS Mail attack

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insecure mailbox
Would you put your mail in this mailbox?
Photo: Pineapple L/Unsplash

Right now, you shouldn’t be using the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad. Thanks to a serious exploit, a hacker can take control of your iOS Mail app just by sending you a malicious email.

You don’t need to open that mail for it to do its bad business. In fact, you don’t even have to have the Mail app open for the attack to work. Yesterday, we covered the news of this attack, and you can read all about the consequences. Today we’ll show you how to protect yourself by changing just one setting.

Yes, you can train Face ID to unlock while wearing a mask

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train Face ID with a mask
Face ID will let you train it while wearing a folded mask.
Photo: Xuanwu Lab

Face ID is great, as long as your iPhone can see your face. A mask — like the ones we all should be wearing to slow the coronavirus pandemic — blocks the iPhone’s Face ID sensor from seeing your face. That means you either need to remove the mask (bad) to unlock your iPhone, type in your passcode every time (annoying), or disable the passcode entirely (a terrible idea).

But, according to in-depth research from China’s Tencent Xuanwu Lab, you can train Face ID to work while you’re wearing a mask. It needs some careful setup, but once it’s done, it works reliablly and quickly. You can even wear glasses.

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.

2020 iPad Pro microphone has ‘hardware disconnect’ for added security

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Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro
It stops software from listening in when you think your iPad is asleep.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest iPad Pro has the ability to disconnect its microphone when the device is not in use for increased security. The disconnect happens at a hardware level so software cannot override it — but there’s a catch.

The feature only works for you if you have the right accessories.