Dear Apple,

Bought a shiny new Series 4 Apple Watch (finally reasonably functional, useful for recording my current diet/workout plan, and promising decent battery life) on Monday.

Battery was surprisingly drained when I got home last night. (farewell dinner for a member of our already-understaffed IT department, joy!)

This morning? It went from 100% to 18% in just over 3 hours, and all I’m doing is sitting at my laptop working. Maybe I get up occasionally, stretch, and grab a (diet) soda.


Naturally, Apple offers no visibility into what could be draining the battery, but force-killing the few apps I have and turning off pretty much all background activity and notifications haven’t slowed the drain.

In the time it took me to type this, it dropped another 3%.

“Dear Apple, stop mining bitcoin on my wrist”


Good: Power-cycling the watch seems to have fixed it (for now).

Bad: I power-cycled my watch. This is not the future I was promised.

Dear Apple,

On an iPad Mini 4 under iOS 12.1.3, Mobile Safari crashes every few minutes. I really hope you already know this…


Oh, I see, it’s the same old “crash after iCloud history is cleared” problem, being triggered more often because desktop Safari is now obeying the “Remove history items” preference more reliably.

Dear Apple,

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight: all your remarkably expensive phones are soooo thin and light that they have terrible battery life, so now you’ve released big chunky battery packs that make them even more expensive, but also clumsier to use and store in pockets.

Y’know, product design isn’t just about fashion and marketing bullet points. Sometimes ya have to provide value for the price…

Dear Apple,

Fixed that for ya:

Four hours I want back…

It started with an apparently-failing keyboard, a common problem with modern Apple Laptops. Painfully for a Unix guy, it was the “|” key, either doubling or skipping.

For a first test, I just wanted to power-cycle the machine rather than drive 40 minutes to an Apple store, but since there was a security update and a Safari update, I made sure my backups were up to date, installed those, and after it came back up to the login prompt, powered off.

When I powered it back on, the screen flashed red during boot, and then came up to a screen complaining that the OS installation was incomplete, with boilerplate making it sound like I had nothing useful on the disk at all.

My external backup drive took forever to boot from (FFS, Apple, your OS has gotten that slow on spinning disks now?!?), but when it came up, it showed the perfectly-intact internal drive.

It also tried to start syncing with cloud services and kick off a Time Machine backup, which I managed to cancel despite the incredibly poor performance.

I made Yet Another bootable backup, just in case, which took a few hours, and then tried to bring it back up. Same error. Booted in Safe Mode and it came up, so I fscked the disks and rebooted again.

Same error. I manually selected the startup disk, told it to restart, and (without resetting the progress bar) it booted successfully.

Checked installed updates, and the most recent security update isn’t on the list, and isn’t available, either. Power-cycled again, and all seems to be well.

Immediately kicked off Time Machine, followed by one of the bootable external backups…

Oh, and my “|” key? None of this changed anything, but some vigorous testing seems to have destroyed whatever tiny bit of dust crept into Apple’s fragile design.


Three hours later, it’s offering me the security update again…

…and Time Machine is doing a full sync of 300+ GB, joy.

Hopefully this works in iOS 12…

In iOS 11, Apple added a feature to quickly disable fingerprint and face logins. Unfortunately, it only works on iPhones; if you use the fingerprint reader on an iPad, the only way to disable it is to shut the device off.

I haven’t tested this in iOS 12 yet, because I need my devices to work, so I don’t upgrade them until at least the first patch release, usually the third. Because x.0 releases from Apple have been a disaster for many, many years.

In fairness to their many hardware problems, everyone’s dot-oh hardware releases are dubious. You learn an awful lot while that first batch of devices is crossing the Pacific on a container ship. This is why the best way to get a reliable product from Apple is to buy their factory-refurbished units that are extensively tested and eligible for AppleCare.

Dear Apple,

How many Geniuses does it take to name your new iPhone the “excess max”? Couldn’t you at least have called it the Ne Plus Ultra.

Or even just the Plus Ultra?

(and, no, claiming that the “X” should be pronounced “10” doesn’t get you off the hook, because you don’t get to decide how millions of people pronounce a letter, and “tennis max” is dumb, too)

History repeats itself, Safari edition

I’m a big fan of the Cookie app for MacOS, which does an excellent job of scrubbing unwanted privacy-tracking cookies and other cruft from your web-browsing experience. But there’s one little problem: it can’t delete your history if you have iCloud bookmark sharing enabled, and Safari’s automatic “Remove history items” preference won’t do it either.

Meanwhile, the only Apple-supported method for clearing history nukes everything, including useful cookies like the ones that keep your bank from sending you text messages every time you try to login from a “new” browser.

The following AppleScript appears to be the only way to delete just your history from iCloud:

tell application "Safari"
    close windows
    make new document
    tell application "System Events"
        tell process "safari"
            keystroke "y" using command down
            delay 1.0
            keystroke "a" using command down
            key code 51 # delete
        end tell
    end tell
end tell

After running it, you need to leave Safari open for a minute or two without using it, or else it will repopulate with the iCloud history from your iPhone or iPad (“ask me how I know”).


Seems this has the side-effect of causing Mobile Safari to freeze if it’s suspended on an iOS device, requiring you to force-quit it. At least, I’d never had Safari lock up on iOS so often. It’s almost like iCloud isn’t very good at this whole “sync” thing…

Update 2

Bumped the delay to a full second. If you have a lot of history to nuke, it can take that long to load it all. The Mobile Safari freezes continue to be an issue after running this script, but it seems it will eventually recover on its own if you leave it running, and doing so will keep it from freezing again.

…until the next time you clean out your history, anyway. “Dear Apple, up your sync game”

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”