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With iOS 12, Apple launched a new Screen Time functionality for monitoring device and app usage. As part of that, TechCrunch reports today that Apple is cracking down on third-party screen time trackers in the App Store with stricter reviews and in several cases, removal from the App Store.

What’s important to note is that these applications had not been using any official, Apple-approved frameworks or methods for tracking screen time. Instead, they relied on combinations of VPNs, MDM solutions, and background location functionality. In some cases, they create privacy concerns for Apple and the end-user.

TechCrunch outlines several applications affected by Apple’s crackdown on screen time workaround apps. One such app is Mute, which publicly announced its removal from the App Store in October, while another is the three-year old screen time app Space, which was removed in November.

Several other applications were also reportedly removed from the App Store or had updates rejected, but did not want to be publicly named. In most cases, developers were told they were in violation of an Apple Store guideline related to location functionality:

Some of the developers, we understand, were told they were in violation of App Store developer guideline 2.5.4, which specifies when multitasking apps are allowed to use background location. Specifically, developers were told they were “misusing background location mode for purposes other than location-related features.”

Other apps were cited for violation of a different guideline related to how they implemented public APIs.

However, it hasn’t been all bad news for some of these screen time applications. Both Space and Mute, after going public about their removal from the App Store, were contacted directly by Apple for additional details on user privacy and how they use location-based services. In the case of both, the apps were reinstated to the App Store.

The Apple reps asked the companies about how they handled data privacy, and reminded them they have to have a customer-facing feature that requires location-based services in order to legitimize their use of such an approach, they reported.

“We are of course hugely grateful that Apple has chosen to continue to allow our business to operate,” said Space CEO Georgina Powell.

Not all applications have had such luck, though, including OurPact and ACTIVATE FITNESS. Both of these applications were informed by Apple that they could no longer use MDM – mobile device management – technology for building screen time functionality.

Amir Moussavian, CEO of OurPact parent company Eturi, said the following in a statement to TechCrunch:

“Our team has received confirmation from Apple that managing application access and content outside of iOS Screen Time will not be permitted in the Apple device ecosystem. It’s incredibly disappointing that Apple is choosing to dissolve the iOS parental control market at a time when childhood and adolescent screen time management is finally being understood as a necessity.”

Other applications, such as Kidslox, haven’t been completely removed from the App Store yet, but instead Apple is rejecting recent updates to the apps. Kidslox CEO Viktor Yevpak accused Apple of “systematic destruction” of the third-party screen time management industry in a blog post.

But sources familiar with Apple’s thinking dismissed this as being some sort of targeted crackdown against third-party screen time apps. Rather, the pushback developers received was part of Apple’s ongoing app review process, they said, and noted that the rules these apps violate have been in place for years.

Apple has a history of going against applications that mimic built-in iOS functionality, but whether or not that is actually what’s going on here is unclear. The timing of the crackdown on APIs used by third-party screen time apps, which is just months after the introduction of the first-party Screen Time feature, is certainly suspicious.

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Yahoo! Closes The Door On Third

The deadline for switching to the latest version of its instant messaging software having come and gone, Yahoo! has booted users of third-party IM clients off its instant messaging network.

Earlier this month, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Web portal began sending warnings about required upgrades to users of older versions of its Yahoo! Messenger IM client. Users who didn’t upgrade would not be able to connect to the service after its messaging protocol was changed on after Sept. 24.

Yahoo! told chúng tôi last week that the protocol upgrade was designed to thwart instant messaging spammers.

However, many who use unauthorized, third-party software to connect to Yahoo!’s network — like multi-network IM clients Trillian, gaim, and Fire — also received the warnings. That’s because most popular third-party clients rely on an older version of the Yahoo! protocol.

As a result, those users weren’t able to connect to the service after the deadline. Users of those clients report seeing messages indicating that their passwords are incorrect. This occurred despite efforts of teams at Trillian, Fire, and elsewhere to patch their software before the date of cut-off.

The team also said they are working with the developers of libyahoo2 — an open-source C library for connection to the Yahoo! network, used by Fire, Everybuddy, Ayttm, KYIM, and others — to address the issues, and would release new version of Fire “as soon as it is available.”

Not being able to logon to Yahoo! is problematic enough for many fans of these clients. But some users of certain software — Trillian and Fire, in particular — who had configured their IM clients to auto-connect to Yahoo! were unable to start their applications at all after the deadline.

“We are also aware of a crash which can happen when attempting to re-connect to Fire after being disconnected,” the Fire team said. “This will also be fixed in that new release.”

While Yahoo!’s move affects efforts by unauthorized clients to connect to its network, signs indicate that the company could be planning to develop its own multi-network IM client that would tap into rivals’ systems.

In recent weeks, Yahoo! has been asking its Web site visitors about whether they’d consider paying for a multi-network IM client similar to Trillian.Officials at Yahoo! dismissed the survey as customer research that didn’t represent any concrete plans for such a product.

Acknowledging that unauthorized third-party clients would also be affected by the change in its network, Microsoft also launched a certification program enabling the developers behind those clients to apply for continued access to the MSN network. However, it’s not clear what kind of licensing fees or terms would be required for the third-party clients wishing to become legit users of the network.

Aside from the new development of Microsoft’s effort to woo unauthorized clients into the fold, the entire situation is reminiscent of an earlier period of hostilities between the major IM networks and third-party clients. In particular, America Online and Trillian sparred over connectivity to the AOL Instant Messenger network during several months of 2002.

Ironically, years earlier, Yahoo! and Microsoft both also sought to establish connections with the AIM network — but ultimately were stymied by continued changes to the AIM OSCAR protocol.

How do new developments in public instant messaging affect your business? Join us at the Instant Messaging Planet Fall Conference and Expo, Oct. 15 and 16 in San Jose, Calif.Sessions include: “Public vs. Enterprise IM” and “State of Interoperability and the Impact on Your Business.”

Apple Tiger Teams Reexamining Supply Chain, Down To Screws And Plastic Inserts

A new report says that Apple tiger teams involving hundreds of employees are working on reexamining the company’s supply chain – all the way down to screws and plastic inserts.

The goal is to ensure backup suppliers for every component, as well as to reduce dependence on China …

Apple tiger teams

The term “tiger teams” was first coined way back in 1964 to describe cross-disciplinary teams brought together to take an aggressive and rapid approach to problem-solving – where no potential solution is off the table, and no respect need be shown to past ways of doing things.

The most famous example was the Apollo 13 troubleshooting team, originally named the White Team, and later renamed the Tiger Team. They were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for saving the astronauts aboard the module.

It’s common for these teams to report directly to very senior execs, and in Apple’s case, Bloomberg reports that CEO Tim Cook has direct involvement.

Reducing dependence on China

We’ve been warning for many years about both the need and the difficulty of reducing Apple’s dependence on China, but the pandemic made even clearer the risks of the company having most of its manufacturing eggs in one basket. COVID-19-related disruption at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.

During Cook’s recent visit to China, he praised the “symbiotic relationship” the company enjoys with the country – while his tiger teams were hard at work to reduce the extent of it.

Even as Cook was smoothing things over in Beijing, Apple executives were hard at work developing ties to other countries to lessen reliance on the country, according to multiple people familiar with Apple’s operations […]

Apple’s efforts center on India as a location for production of iPhones and accessories, Vietnam for AirPods and Mac assembly, Malaysia for some Mac production, and Ireland—where suppliers currently build the relatively easy-to-produce iMacs—for a range of simpler products. Managers in Apple’s operations department have instructed employees to focus on sourcing additional components and locating production lines outside China for more new products coming in 2024.

Backup suppliers

Apple has always liked to have multiple suppliers for as many components as possible. This lessens the risks of relying on a single company, and also enables the iPhone maker to play multiple suppliers against each other in order to negotiate the best possible terms.

But the pandemic made backup suppliers even more important, and today’s report says that the company is now taking this to new levels of detail, within China as well as outside it.

It has expanded the efforts of these teams, which set up shop in suppliers’ factories in China and other countries, assess facility maintenance schedules, and assemble more extensive lists of backup suppliers for every component, right down to screws and plastic inserts. The company is working to improve its forecasts, component by component, to better anticipate potential shortages.

Fear of Chinese retaliation

While the tiger teams are geared to rapid change, there are hurdles to be overcome – including retaliation by the Chinese government, or push-back from Chinese consumers.

Apple’s leadership is concerned that China might retaliate if it moves too much capacity to other countries, or transitions too rapidly. Customers in China could turn against US-designed products amid heightened nationalism. The company also has concerns about its ability to ensure high standards of quality in Vietnam and particularly Malaysia, given the current state of the manufacturing industries in those countries.

The full piece is worth reading.

Photo: Efe Yağız Soysal/Unsplash

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Apple Admits It Slows Down Old Iphones (But For The Right Reasons)

Speaking to TechCrunch today, Apple has shared an official statement regarding the decreased performance of iPhones with older batteries. While Apple’s response doesn’t offer much that’s new, it does reveal that the company plans on rolling out the battery stabilizing feature to more iPhones. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino shares a thorough look at this situation with some actionable feedback for Apple.

Earlier this week, Geekbench developer John Poole shared detailed test results of the iPhone 6s and 7 as he looked further into the performance/battery age issues that gained a lot of attention on Reddit.

Poole concluded that the decreased performance was a combination of new features rolled into iOS updates and battery age. He also shared the concern that Apple has created a third state of iPhone performance without any notifications for users, noting that the feature was most recently applied to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.

In today’s TechCrunch report, Matthew Panzarino shares an official statement from Apple, but first shares some good reasons why Apple isn’t trying to “force customers to upgrade their phones by making their old phones run slower.”

It would be beyond stupid and incredibly shortsighted for Apple to do this and, if it was actually true, would likely lead to tangles of a governmental and legal nature that no company like Apple would ever want to happen.

Instead, Apple is focusing attention on smoothing out the very high and quick peaks of power draw that can cause problems with older batteries.

As for Apple’s statement, there isn’t much new, but it did confirm it has plans to roll out the same battery saving/performance reducing features in the future.

Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components. 

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

Panzarino notes that Poole’s tests and charts seem accurate and that Apple hasn’t denied any of the results. However, he mentions that benchmark testing will naturally induce more peaks and valleys in performance, and that this is a battery chemistry issue, not an Apple specific one.

When it comes to what Apple can improve, Panzarino thinks the company can find a better balance in how much information it gives users and that this controversy may have been much less of an issue if Apple had been more transparent upfront.

Conversely, he mentions the issues of giving too much information to consumers.

If you give a user enough rope they will hang themselves, so to speak, by replacing batteries too early or replacing phones that don’t need replacing.

Here are his ideas for Apple moving forward:

The point at which iOS will tell you that your battery has gone to hell is currently very, very conservative. Perhaps this can be set to be more aggressive. Then, of course, users will complain that Apple is cash grabbing on battery replacements but humans will remain humans.

It’s clear that people just didn’t understand that protecting an iPhone with an older battery was going to directly affect performance. Perhaps this is a failing of Apple messaging or a failure of myself (and other journalists) in not explaining it as clearly as possible.

How about you? Would these proposed changes satisfy you? Or are you interested in a different approach?

Apple could’ve avoided iPhone battery backlash if they were more upfront with users: Expert from CNBC.

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Snapchat Launches New Game Platform, Stories In Third

At the first Snap Partner Summit today in Los Angeles, Snapchat unveiled four major announcements for the platform. It has launched its new Snap Games platform, introduced new AR camera features, announced new original content, and unveiled third-party app integrations via App Stories, Bitmoji Kit, Creative Kit, and Ad Kit. Notably, the App Stories tool will bring the platform’s popular Stories to third-party apps like Tinder and more for the first time.

After the Snap Partner Summit, Snapchat detailed all the announcements in a press release.

“Landmarkers” will be a new way for users to have fun with Lenses at popular landmarks around the world in augmented reality. Landmarkers were made by Snapchat users and offer the ability to have fun with 5 landmarks.

Today’s Lens Studio update now includes even more templates for augmented reality creators — including Landmarkers, which empower creators to build Lenses that can transform the world’s most iconic landmarks in real-time. There are also new templates for hand-tracking, body-tracking, and more, which you can use to create Lenses that could appear when Snapchatters use Scan!

Another update to Snapchat’s camera features is the “Scan” platform gaining two new partners to allow users to find GIFs based on real world objects powered by Giphy. Users will soon be able to also get help with math homework via a new Photomath integration.

Along with these new features, Snapchat is gaining a new “AR Bar” menu. Check out the video below detailing the updates:

Another major announcement from the summit today was the launch of company’s Snap Games platform, which had been rumored last month.

But friendship is more than just the things you talk about. Friendship is also about the experiences you have together — so we’ve been working hard to build an entirely new experience for friends to play together.

Introducing Snap Games: mobile games, made for friends!

The first game launching today is Bitmoji Party (a la Mario Party-style mini games), with five more titles arriving on the platform:

In Bitmoji Party, you can play as yourself in a series of quick, wacky mini-games.

In Tiny Royale from Zynga, you and your friends shoot to the top in bite-sized Battle Royale action.

In Snake Squad from Game Closure, you and your squad work together to be the last ones standing!

In C.A.T.S. Drift Race from ZeptoLab, you’ll drift around the track and speed past friends for the win!

In Zombie Rescue Squad from PikPok, your squad will rescue survivors in a zombie-infested city.

In Alphabear Hustle from Spry Fox, you’ll collaborate to form words — fast! — to build your village.

Here’s the rundown on all the new developer tools:

Today we’re excited to announce new Snap Kit experiences:

Introducing App Stories

App Stories allow Snapchatters to share content right from the Snapchat camera to a Story inside another app.

Share a Snap of your hidden talent to a Story on your Tinder profile.

Share a Snap of your day to a Story on Houseparty.

Share a Snap of your latest trip on AdventureAide to inspire customers to join you next time.

Creative Kit

Conversation is so often about the content and causes you care about. We’re excited to announce that soon, you’ll be able to share custom stickers from your favorite services right on a Snap.

Use Netflix to share the show you’re watching.

Use Breaker or Anchor to share the podcast you’re listening to.

Use Anghami (in the Middle East) or JioSavvn (in India) to share a song you love.

Use GoFundMe to share a meaningful cause.

Use VSCO to share a beautiful photo with your friends on Snapchat.

With many of these integrations, friends can simply swipe up to watch, listen, or donate on their own!

Bitmoji Kit

Bitmoji Kit helps our community bring their Bitmoji with them to even more places.

Use Bitmoji to add context to your payments on Venmo.

Watch your Bitmoji react, right on your wrist, as you move with Fitbit. Now that’s self-motivation!

Introducing Ad Kit

We’re accepting applications for Ad Kit and App Stories (part of Story Kit) at chúng tôi beginning today.

Snapchat further detailed its success with original content so far and announced more to come.

Today we’re excited to announce our new slate of Snap Originals programming!

These Shows span docuseries and scripted, comedies, and teen dramas — but they all have one thing in common. It’s not just the Shows that are original, it’s the way the stories are told.

Here’s a look at all the original shows:

In Two Sides from New Form, a young couple navigates a breakup — told from both characters’ points of view at the same time.

Can’t Talk Now from New Form is a teen soap that takes place inside the phones of a few high school freshman BFFs.

In Commanders from Dakota Pictures, two high school outcasts discover a retro computer with a mysterious code that can alter real life.

Denton’s Death Date from Insurrection Media centers on Denton Little: a high school junior whose death date is only a week away.

While Black from Indigo is a docuseries that explores racially charged social issues through disarmingly candid conversations led by author, filmmaker, recording artist, and educator MK Asante.

BuzzFeed’s upcoming daily afternoon show will bring viewers the latest celebrity, entertainment, and sheer OMG moments blowing up the internet.

In Dead of Night from Bazelevs, a teenage girl must escape a quarantined city full of zombies armed with only her phone.

Compton Dreams from October Films is a docuseries following the highs and lows of three up-and-coming artists from Compton.

In Stranded with Sam and Colby from Bunim/Murray, two paranormal investigators go off the grid into a cursed Pennsylvania town.

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Windows Computer Shuts Down While Gaming

While playing games on PC, if your Windows 11/10 computer shuts down automatically, then these suggestions will help you identify and troubleshoot the problem. There could be several reasons apart from the overheating, and this article explains most of the causes and solutions in detail.

Windows computer shuts down while gaming

If Windows 11/10 computer shuts down while gaming, follow these suggestions to resolve the issue:

Check if your PC meets the game’s system requirements

Close unnecessary apps

Check RAM

Check UPS

Verify Scheduled shut down settings

Scan PC with adware removal tool

Verify graphics card

Find the cause of an Unexpected Shutdown.

To learn more about these steps, continue reading.

1] Check if your PC meets the game’s system requirements

You need to first check if your PC meets the game’s system requirements. Go to the game’s website and note the minimum hardware requirements.

Then use one of these methods to find the hardware specs of your PC and see if you meet or exceed the requirements.

Read: Microsoft Surface Studio overheating while gaming

2] Close unnecessary apps

It is probably the first thing you need to do when your PC shuts down automatically while playing games. Let’s assume that you have an aged computer and often run multiple heavy-weight apps simultaneously. If so, there is a chance of getting your computer hung and lagged at times. That is why it is recommended to run the Task Manager and close all the unnecessary apps before starting the game.

Pro Tip: Don’t add unnecessary apps at startup. You might not be able to notice them, but some of the apps might consume a lot of resources unknowingly. You can follow this guide to remove apps from running at startup.

3] Check RAM

RAM or Random-Access Memory is one of the most important parts of your computer, which helps you perform almost anything. From starting up your computer to shutting down, everything depends on your RAM. If you have an old RAM, maybe it requires cleaning.

If you recently installed a second or third RAM, you might get the same problem on your PC. Let’s assume that you had 2400 MHz RAM and installed 3200 MHz RAM. In that case, your computer may shut down automatically. At such moments, it is recommended to verify the RAM speed before installing it.

Read: How to check how much Video RAM (VRAM) you have

4] Check UPS

Most home computer users use a UPS that keeps the computer on during power cuts. The problem with using a UPS is that it must be running all the time to power up your computer. If there is an issue with the UPS, your computer won’t turn on. Similarly, the same problem can cause sudden shut down as well. That is why it is recommended to check if your UPS is fully functioning or not.

Read: How to prevent Overheating issues in your computer

5] Verify Scheduled shut down settings

There could be numerous reasons why your computer can turn itself off at times. For example, if a restart is pending for installing Windows Update, and it is already scheduled, your PC might not take permission to shut it down even when you play games. Alternatively, there are other ways to schedule a shutdown of Windows computers, e.g., Command Prompt, Task Scheduler, etc. If you used any of the methods, that could cause the same problem.

Read: How to check the GPU Temperature in Windows.

6] Scan PC with adware removal tool

Adware can be irritating in many ways, and it is one of them. That is why you can use any adware removal tool to scan your PC. For example, you can use AdwCleaner, Ultra Adware Killer, etc.

Related: Windows computer shuts down when playing or watching videos

7] Verify graphics card

It is probably the last thing you want to check. If your graphics card has issues processing the data, your computer might shut down automatically. Also, the same problem might occur when you have an aged graphics card. Dust can also be a reason why your graphics card or motherboard is not functioning well.

Read: How to increase dedicated Video RAM.

8] Find the cause of an Unexpected Shutdown

If nothing helps, you need to find the cause of an Unexpected Shutdown on Windows using Event Viewer, PowerShell or Command Prompt.

How to fix if computer randomly shuts down while running a game?

If your computer randomly shuts down while running a game, you need to follow the above-mentioned solutions. Apart from these, overheating can also cause the same problem. However, you need to close unnecessary apps, remove apps from startup, check the RAM, verify the graphic card, etc.

What to do if computer shuts off while playing games?

If your computer shuts off while playing games, you must check the RAM first. However, if you have new RAMs, you might want to check if the UPS is running well or not. On the other hand, Also, a faulty or unsupported graphics card can cause the same problem on your PC.

That’s all! Hope these solutions worked.

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