macOS Mail bug exposes portions of encrypted emails

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MacMail
Your encrypted emails on Mac might not be as private as you think.
Photo: Apple

Apple failed to kill a bug in the Mail app for macOS for months despite its potential to expose private details in emails that the user thought was encrypted.

Security researcher Bob Gendler first discovered the flaw in July and notified Apple of it. Despite releasing four updates for macOS since that time, the privacy flaw still hasn’t been fixed. Apple says it’s working to resolve the issue soon though.

Spanish Siri labels Bolivian president a ‘dictator’

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Spanish Siri labels Bolivian president a ‘dictator’
Siri's getting political. (Until Apple fixed it.)
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Siri is in trouble again — or, at least, Siri’s Spanish-speaking cousin. According to a new report, the Spanish language version of Siri has been criticized for describing long-standing Bolivian president Evo Morales as a “dictator.”

Morales recently won a controversial fourth presidential term in Bolivia. However, thousands of citizens have marched across the country decrying voter fraud. It seems that Spanish language Siri was spiritually among them.

How to play relaxing, ambient sounds with your HomePod

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HomePod, Siri, music
What could be more relaxing than this?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Stressed? On edge? Struggling to block out the annoying construction work down the street? Or do you just hate silence, and the way it reminds you that your life is tick-ticking away? Then you need some room-filling ambient sounds.

How about a nice, relaxing rainstorm to help you fall asleep? Or some white noise to fill the space left by your grownup children when they left you behind to start their own lives? If you have a HomePod running iOS 13.2 or later, your smart speaker stands ready to help blank out the soul-bleeding silence of your empty life. You just need to ask.

How to customize AirPods Pro controls for noise cancellation and Siri

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The new AirPods Pro, and a dongle for scale.
The new AirPods Pro, and a dongle for scale.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The brand-new AirPods Pro replace the original AirPods’ tap-based controls with a squeezable stick. In use, this works just like the old inline remote on Apple’s wired EarPods, only there’s no actual click. Instead, a click sound plays through the AirPods you just squeezed — and the resulting audio illusion is pretty convincing. It really seems like you feel a physical click.

You can squeeze either AirPod Pro stem. And, just as with regular AirPods, you can tweak these squeezes. Here’s how to customize AirPods Pro controls to switch quickly between active noise cancellation and Transparency mode.

Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.

iOS 13.2 inches closer to launch with latest bug-squashing beta

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ios13emoji
These are just a few of the new emoji coming.
Photo: Apple

Progress on iOS 13.2’s public release has hit a blistering pace after Apple seeded the fourth beta build to developers today.

iOS 13.2 beta 4 arrived one week after Apple seeded beta 3 to developers. Apple’s website hinted that the public release could come by the end of the month, bringing new emoji, Siri features and more to iPhones and iPads very soon.

How to make your Mac’s dictionary popup way, way faster

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spotlight popup
A spotlight, looking something up.
Photo: Richard Ciraulo/Unsplash

What happens when you use a three-finger tap on your Mac’s touchpad to look up a word? In olden times, it would bring up a dictionary definition, instantly. Today, it probably doesn’t do anything. Not for a few seconds at least. Or rather, it pops up a panel right away, but then it takes a few seconds to load whatever Siri reckons you might be looking for.

So, how do we stop this madness? Easy. We switch it off in the Mac’s settings, aka System Preferences.

How to stop Siri from snooping on you

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Stop siri snooping: LOL look how small Apple made the
LOL look how small Apple made the "Not Now" button.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 13.2 adds controls for Apple’s unpopular Siri data collection program. Now, users can opt in to “Siri and Dictation Analytics,” which translates to letting your iPhone or iPad upload all your Siri interactions so Cupertino can improve the virtual assistant’s accuracy.

Previously, Apple disabled this program because of its unpopularity. Now, it’s back — but under your control.