Google Responds to Reports of Unexpected Account Sign-Outs

Google has responded to multiple reports of users being unexpectedly logged out of their Google accounts, in order to assuage fears that the logouts were security related.

The unexpected sign-outs began on Thursday night and continued through Friday, affecting multiple services including Gmail, Chromecast, YouTube, and Google Play.
During routine maintenance, a number of users were signed-out from their Google accounts. This may have resulted in you being signed out of your account or seeing a notification about "A change in your Google account" or "Account Action Required".

We hear your concerns that this appeared to potentially be phishing or another type of security issue. We can assure you that the security of your account was never in danger as a result of this issue.
Google said the issue with its Google Accounts engine also caused some Google Wifi and OnHub devices to automatically revert to factory settings. "Unfortunately, these devices need to be set up again," said Google. "We'd like to share our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience." Instructions on re-setting the Wi-Fi devices can be found here.


The reports initially caused some concern among users, coming in just hours after it was revealed that content delivery network CloudFare had been informed by Google of a bug that leaked memory, which could potentially contain private information cached by search engines.

Cloudflare worked with the affected search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, to erase any remnants of the sensitive data from their caches, and the bug has since been patched.

Tag: Google

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Apple Says Third-Party iPhone Screen Repairs No Longer Fully Void Your Warranty

iPhones that have undergone any third-party screen repair now qualify for warranty coverage, as long as the issue being fixed does not relate to the display itself, according to an internal memo distributed by Apple today. MacRumors confirmed the memo's authenticity with multiple sources.


Previously, an iPhone with a third-party display was not eligible for any authorized repairs under warranty.

When a customer with an iPhone that has a third-party display seeks a repair for a non-display issue, Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers have been advised to inspect the device for any fraud or tampering, and then swap out the device or replace the broken part based on Apple's in-warranty pricing.

iPhones with third-party displays must still be within their warranty coverage period, whether it be Apple's standard 1-year manufacturer's warranty or extended AppleCare coverage, in order for warranty service to be honored.

If the iPhone is out of warranty, or the repair involves a display-related issue, customers will be offered the option to pay Apple's flat rate out-of-warranty pricing. If a customer declines this out-of-warranty pricing, then Apple Authorized Service Providers are instructed to decline service altogether.

If the presence of any third-party part causes the repair to be unsuccessful or breaks the iPhone, Apple said customers will be required to pay the out-of-warranty cost to replace the third-party part, or the entire device if necessary, in order to resolve the issue that the iPhone was initially brought in for.

If a customer wants to pay for an Apple genuine display to replace their third-party display, Apple Authorized Service Providers have been instructed to quote the typical out-of-warranty price for a new display. Apple said AppleCare+ will not cover third-party display or battery repairs.

Apple Authorized Service Providers are still instructed to decline service for any iPhone with a functional failure related to a third-party aluminum enclosure, logic board, battery, Lightning connector, headphone jack, volume buttons, mute switch, sleep/wake button, and certain microphones.

MacRumors has confirmed that the policy applies to repairs in the United States and Canada, while other regions are likely included.

Tags: warranty, AASP

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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Thunderbolt Station 3 Lite From CalDigit

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with CalDigit to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Thunderbolt Station 3 Lite, which is designed to work with the new 2016 MacBook Pro.

The new MacBook Pro is equipped with Thunderbolt 3, but it offers a limited number of ports, making a dock or some form of dongle essential for most users who have older accessories. The TS3 Lite, a small hub that includes support for Thunderbolt 3, is ideal for users who need a robust but portable solution.

The TS3 Lite features two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports with 40Gb/s throughput, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, 1 USB 3.1 Type-C port, a DisplayPort, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and Audio In/Out ports. It doesn't support 85W charging though, so you'll need a separate cable to power your MacBook Pro.


It's able to support a single 5K monitor at 60Hz or dual 4K monitors, and it ships with a Thunderbolt 3 cable. With daisychaining, up to six Thunderbolt 3 devices can be connected to a single computer, and the included USB-A and USB-C ports can be used to connect a variety of other accessories.

For instances when a computer is not available, the TS3 Lite features a Stand Alone Charging function that allows users to charge devices like an iPad or an iPhone using the USB-A ports on the TS3 Lite even when it's not connected to a computer.


The TS3 Lite, which features a brushed aluminum enclosure that matches well with Apple devices, measures in at 8 inches by 3.15 inches and it weighs less than a pound, so it's easy to pack into a bag with your computer and it doesn't take up much space on a desk.

CalDigit charges $199 for the Thunderbolt 3 Station Lite, but we have two to give away to MacRumors readers. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest will run from today (February 24) at 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time on March 3. The winners will be chosen randomly on March 3 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.


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Samsung’s Never-Ending Battle With Apple Over ‘Slide to Unlock’ May be Headed to Supreme Court

A longstanding lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over "Slide to Unlock" may be headed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Samsung has until March 29 to file a petition for a writ of certiorari, aka a request for Supreme Court review, per FOSS Patents.

If it accepts the case, the Supreme Court will review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's decision to reinstate Apple's $119.6 million award last October.

Apple successfully argued that Samsung copied its patents related to slide to unlock, autocorrect, and phone number detection.

The lawsuit is so old that Apple does not even use "Slide to Unlock" anymore. Unlocking an iPhone on iOS 10 requires using Touch ID or pressing down on the Home button, which first brings up the passcode screen if you have one enabled. Swiping to the right now brings up a collection of Lock screen widgets.

This case is not to be confused with another 2011 lawsuit in which Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone's design with its own Galaxy-branded smartphones. That larger case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and is now headed back to the same San Jose district court where it began for a possible damages retrial.


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Cloudflare Bug That Leaked Sensitive User Data From Various Websites and Apps Now Fixed

Content delivery network Cloudflare has confirmed the existence of a bug that caused search engines to cache sensitive user data from a variety of well-known apps and websites. Google researcher Tavis Ormandy discovered and reported the bug to Cloudflare, and the company has since fixed the bug and published a detailed blog post about exactly what happened.

According to Cloudflare, the period of greatest impact for the "parser bug" ran from February 13 to February 18, although the extent of the leak stretches back months. The heart of the issue was a security problem with Cloudflare edge servers, which were returning corrupted web pages by some HTTP requests running on Cloudflare's large network.


In what the company referred to as "some unusual circumstances," occasionally private information was returned as well, including "HTTP cookies, authentication tokens, HTTP POST bodies, and other sensitive data."
It turned out that in some unusual circumstances, which I’ll detail below, our edge servers were running past the end of a buffer and returning memory that contained private information such as HTTP cookies, authentication tokens, HTTP POST bodies, and other sensitive data. And some of that data had been cached by search engines.

The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence.
As shared in a tweet by Ormandy this week, that data also included private dating site messages from OKCupid, full messages from a "well-known chat service," passwords from password managing apps like 1Password, and more (via Fortune). In response, some companies -- like 1Password -- have published blog posts confirming that "no 1Password data is put at any risk through the bug reported about CloudFlare."

To expedite a solution, Cloudflare responded to Ormandy's discovery and turned off three minor features of the network -- email obfuscation, Server-side Excludes, and Automatic HTTPS Rewrites -- discovered to be using the same HTML parser chain "that was causing the leakage."

In its blog post, the company said that it has "not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits" in relation to the time that the parser bug was active. It also noted that, while serious, the scale of the bug was still relatively low: around 1 in every 3,300,000 HTTP requests through Cloudflare potentially resulted in memory leakage. "That’s about 0.00003% of requests," the company noted.

Cloudflare worked with the affected search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, to erase any remnants of the sensitive data from their caches. The company's chief technology officer, John Graham-Cumming, concluded the blog saying, "We are very grateful to our colleagues at Google for contacting us about the problem and working closely with us through its resolution. All of which occurred without any reports that outside parties had identified the issue or exploited it."

Earlier this week, it was reported that Apple cut ties with server supplier Super Micro Computer in order to avoid a potential future scenario where user data might be put at risk, similar to Cloudflare's leak. Early in 2016, Apple was said to have discovered a potential security vulnerability in one of Super Micro Computer's data center servers and effectively ended its business relationship with the network company shortly thereafter.

For a technical dive into Cloudflare's parser bug and its origins, check out the company's blog post.


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Apple Extended its MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program

If you purchased a 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro with Retina display and have experienced issues with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating, Apple will repair the notebook free of charge.


Apple will replace Retina displays on eligible models purchased as far back as June 2012 until October 16, 2017, or within three years of the original date of purchase, whichever is longer. The program was extended to provide affected customers with a longer window of time to get their notebook serviced.

The program has not been publicly announced, but Apple confirmed to MacRumors that repairs continue to be handled internally through AppleCare. Apple does not plan to announce the program publicly at this time, unlike its iPhone 6s battery replacement program and over a dozen others listed on its website.

We recommend affected customers schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store or contact Apple support by phone, online chat, or email. Click on "get help" on this page, and then select Mac > Mac notebooks > Hardware Issues > Display Issue and support options should be presented to you.

Apple's support website will ask for your Mac's serial number, which can be found by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and clicking on About This Mac in the dropdown menu.

Affected customers can also visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their notebook is eligible for coverage. If you have already incurred out-of-warranty costs related to this issue, you may be eligible for a refund, which can be initiated by contacting Apple support directly.

MacRumors revealed the repair program's existence in October 2015 following over two years of online complaints from thousands of customers within our discussion forums, on the Apple Support Communities, and elsewhere.

A website called Staingate contains a gallery of MacBook Pro models with seemingly damaged anti-reflective coating, revealing that the blemishes can extend across the entire screen in extreme cases. Meanwhile, a Facebook group related to the issue has nearly 9,000 members and continues to see regular activity.


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Cellebrite Says it Now Supports ‘Lawful Unlocking’ of iPhone 6 and Older Models

Cellebrite director of forensic research Shahar Tal recently tweeted out that the company's Advanced Investigative Service can now unlock and extract the full file system for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (via CyberScoop). To date, CAIS "supports lawful unlocking and evidence extraction" from the following iPhone generations: 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus. No mention has been made whether or not the developer has attempted to unlock newer-generation iPhones, including the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, or 7 Plus.


The company reportedly charges $1,500 to unlock an individual phone and $250,000 for a yearly subscription to the data extracting service. In addition to the basic system and user data it can get, the hack also targets various apps within the iPhone, including personal data stored in Uber, Facebook, Chrome, and some dating apps.

At the same time this week, Cellebrite announced the next generation of its "Content Transfer" tool, which will allow retailers and operators to fully duplicate a customer's existing iPhone onto a brand new iPhone at an average content transfer speed of 1GB per minute. The developer said this should reduce wait times in stores while also pleasing anxious customers worried about losing data when upgrading to a new iPhone generation.

Cellebrite said the most important settings get transferred in the process, including wallpaper, alarm settings, weather, photos, videos, contacts, and apps. Not included are account passwords, Wi-Fi settings, health data, and website history. The company plans to hold a demonstration of the Full Transfer service for iPhones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs next week from February 27 – March 2.
“With content transfer speeds averaging 1 GB per minute, this new service is a complete game changer.” said Yehuda Holtzman, CEO of Cellebrite Mobile Lifecycle. “With Full Transfer, the average iPhone customer with 10GB of personal data can walk out of the store with a mirror-image of their old iPhone in just 10 minutes, offering customer experience that’s far superior to anything else available today.”
Although the developer has been most recognizably in the public eye for its relation to the Apple-FBI drama and its smartphone-cracking expertise, Cellebrite also offers a collection of services for retailers and businesses. Cellebrite Touch2 and Cellebrite Desktop power in-store smartphones and desktop computers, respectively, with software that the company claims offers flexibility by operating through a store's existing IT infrastructure to "deliver a fast, consistent service."


Earlier in February, Cellebrite found itself at the hands of a hacker when someone stole and publicly released a cache of Cellebrite's most sensitive data, including tools it uses to get into older iPhones. The hacker shared the data on Pastebin, intending to highlight the importance of the inevitability that any brute force tools aimed at bypassing encryption software "will make it out" into the public -- a prime fear of Apple CEO Tim Cook when the FBI originally demanded the company create a backdoor into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5c last year.


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Steve Jobs Would Have Been 62 Today While MacRumors Turns 17

Steve Jobs, born on February 24, 1955, would have celebrated his 62nd birthday today. The late Apple co-founder, who passed away on October 5, 2011 following a lengthy battle with cancer, is remembered not only as a visionary and marketing genius, but also as a friend, father, and husband.


Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, introduced three of Apple's most iconic products in its history: the Macintosh in 1984, and after a twelve-year absence from the company, the iPod in 2001 and iPhone in 2007. His iconic career had its fair share of highs and lows.

In 1985, following a power struggle with then-CEO John Sculley, Jobs resigned from Apple. He went on to found NeXT later that year, and while its hardware business was largely unsuccessful, Apple acquired the company in 1997 to use its NeXTSTEP operating system as the foundation of Mac OS X.

Jobs would become Apple CEO again later that year and guide it from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s to become the world's most valuable company just two months prior to his death. His legacy lives on at Apple, which recently said the theater on its new Apple Park campus will be named after him.

Apple CEO Tim Cook:
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved the most energy-efficient building of its kind in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
Coincidentally, today also marks the 17th anniversary of MacRumors.com, founded by Arnold Kim on February 24, 2000 during his fourth year of medical school. Kim stopped practicing medicine in 2008 to focus on this website full time, and the community now reaches millions of Apple fans around the world.

As always, we express our gratitude to our readers, forum members, contributors, volunteers, sponsors, and all those who allow us to continue sharing the latest Apple news and rumors.


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Apple Investigating iPhone 7 Plus Caught Melting on Video

Apple is investigating a melting iPhone 7 Plus that's the subject of a viral video on Twitter, reports Mashable. The owner of the phone, Brianna Olivas, says her phone exploded and started smoking Wednesday morning. Her boyfriend grabbed his phone and started recording the video, which has garnered 21,340 retweets on Twitter.


Olivas tells Mashable her phone wouldn't turn on Tuesday, so she took it to the Apple Store. After a couple of tests, employees told her the iPhone was fine and it soon began working normally again. She charged the phone near her as she slept that night, and the next morning her boyfriend moved the phone to the dresser. As he went to the bathroom he saw the phone smoking and heard it squealing. It soon caught fire and he "quickly grabbed it and threw it into the restroom," where it blew up.

Olivas has since turned the phone over to Apple for further testing, with the Cupertino company saying it'll know more within a week. An Apple spokesperson said the company is in touch with Olivas and is "looking into" the matter.

Photos via Brianna Olivas
Exploding smartphones have garnered increased attention since Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was plagued with widespread reports of exploding devices, prompting an "unprecedented" recall of the popular device. Lithium-ion batteries are more prone to malfunctioning and exploding when manufacturers and suppliers don't take proper care in preparing the batteries for use. For example, Samsung blames the Note 7's battery problems on a flaw that caused two incompatible parts of the battery came together.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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10.5-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPads May Not Ship Until May or June

The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads that Apple is expected to debut at a March event aren't expected to ship until May or June, supply chain sources tell DigiTimes. An entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, however, is expected to ship within close proximity of the March event.

In January, DigiTimes reported that the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads were expected to enter mass production in the Q2 of 2017 while the 9.7-inch iPad would enter mass production in Q1 2017. The potential release dates partly line up with a recent report from Mac Otakara, which said the 10.5-inch iPad may not be ready to ship until May. However, that report said the three other iPad models rumored to debut at the March event, new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, are expected to ship in March.

12.9-inch iPad shipments have been drying up around the world in recent weeks, slipping to shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. While increasing shipping times are a sign of an impending refresh, in this case it seems to be a supply issue.

During Apple's latest earning call, CEO Tim Cook said that the company underestimated iPad demand in the past quarter and had an issue with one of its suppliers. Cook said the issue would probably not be resolved this quarter, likely leading to shriveling 12.9-inch iPad stock. Similarly, the supply issue could keep the refreshed 12.9-inch iPad from shipping before May.

The new 10.5-inch model is expected to be the flagship model in Apple's new iPad lineup, sporting an edge-to-edge display on the same footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad. Alongside new iPads at a March event, Apple is also expected to debut a 128 GB iPhone SE and red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus color variations.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: digitimes.com
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution)

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