Keep OS X Yosemite from sending Spotlight data to Apple.

Spotlight is sending your searches back to Apple Photo: Apple

OS X Yosemite has changed the way your Mac deals with your privacy. On the one hand, Apple has decided to enable hard drive encryption by default, despite the FBI requests not to.

On the other hand, every time you type in Spotlight, your location and local search terms are sent to Apple, and, according to developer Landon Fuller, other third parties like Microsoft.

Fuller’s created a website, Fix Mac OS X Yosemite, where he’s posted up a way to stop Yosemite from sending such private data out. He’s also been contributing to a developer project on GitHub to find out and fix other ways that OS X phones home.

Screengrab: Apple

First of all, launch System Preferences and click on the Spotlight preference pane icon. Click on the Search Results tab if it’s not already selected, and UNCHECK the boxes next to Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Suggestions.

You can also disable Location Services for Spotlight in the Security & Privacy pane of System Preferences, clicking Details next to the System Services section in the Privacy tab, and then disabling Spotlight Suggestions there, as well. You can do this in addition to the above, or as a standalone solution – if you only disable Spotlight suggestions here, your Mac will still send information about your searches to Apple, just not your location.

Screengrab: Apple

When you’re finished, quit System Preferences.

Next, you’ll need to launch Safari and open up the Preferences from the Safari menu.

Screengrab: Cult of Mac

Uncheck Include Spotlight Suggestions there as well. Now when you use Safari, your privacy will be respected as well. There’s not an equivalent in Chrome that I’ve seen, but we’ll updated this article if we find something there to disable, as well.

Further, if you’re of the Python script loving sort, Fuller has a file you can run in Terminal that will do the same thing; you can download the script from his website.

Finally, head on over to the GitHub “Yosemite phone home” project page to see which other apps and services send your info out to Apple or other parties, and be a part of the fixes there.

Here’s a closer look at what Spotlight is sending:

Screengrab: Cult of Mac

A third of Steve Jobs’ patents have been awarded since his death.

Steve Jobs's first patent for a

Steve Jobs was a visionary, a futurist and a business genius … but he was also an inventor with more than 458 patents to his name. What better way to spend this holiday weekend than getting yourself up to speed with the inventions of one of the most prolific patenters of the 20th century?

Over at MIT’s Technology Review, there is a fantastic overview of Jobs’ incredible library of patents, from his first one in 1983 for a Personal Computer to the designing of the dramatic glass cube outside Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store.

I always knew Jobs was prolific, but this overview puts in new perspective just how active he was. In fact, even three years after his death, Jobs is still having patents awarded to him.

That’s not to say Jobs was an inventor in the same way that Benjamin Franklin or Nikola Tesla was. Most of his patents are for the look, feel and design of objects, not the nitty-gritty of how they work. According to his some of co-inventors, many times Jobs would end up on the patent just because he gave formative input on the details of a product. “He had useful comments, suggestions, and it’s worthy of him being on the patent,” said Tim Wasko, who developed the interface for Apple’s QuickTime player and the iPod.

If you’re interested in Jobs’ life and legacy, this is an excellent article to read. Just going by the patent record alone would be enough to make Jobs one of the most influential people of the last 50 years.

Today in the App Store — the best free apps, new apps and app updates.

App Store

Here are some of the best free apps, app updates and new apps that have landed in the App Store recently. All app prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly, so grab them while you can.

Apps Now Free

Instagrab – your Instagram companion [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $2.99] Let Instagrab enhance your existing Instagram experience.

Toy Defense 4: Sci-Fi [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $1.99] Tremble! Robots are going to seize power over the universe!

Chinese Checkers[iOS Universal; Now free, down from $1.99] Transport yourself to the ultimate Zen experience with Chinese Checkers.

Groops [iOS Universal; Now free, down from $0.99] Groops is a puzzle game that will put your mind to the test.

BUZZ Player [iPhone; Now free, down from $3.99] BUZZ Player is a multimedia player supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats.

BUZZ Player HD [iPad; Now free, down from $3.99] BUZZ Player is a multimedia player supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats.

New and Notable Apps

Screeny [iPhone; $0.99] Screeny is an utility app that helps you save space consumed by screenshots.

Swords of Anima [iOS Universal; $2.99] A new tactical turn-based RPG experience.

Civilization: Beyond Earth [OS X; $36.99] Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is a new science-fiction-themed entry into the award-winning Civilization series.

Updates you don’t want to miss

1SecMoney – Record expenses/incomes in one second [iPhone; $1.99] The FIRST iOS app to record expenses and income on widget. Version 1.2 brings the following changes:

  • Improve Timeline UI
  • Improve Widget UI. Can choose how many rows are displayed.
  • Add monthly budget
  • Add daily reminder
  • Improve accuracy of prediction
  • Improve Report UI
  • Can choose period to export and import XLS file via apps that have Document Provider

Deliveries: a package tracker [OS X; $4.99] Deliveries helps you keep track of all your packages, so you always know when they’re going to arrive. Version 1.0.1 brings the following changes:

  • When the dock icon is hidden, the gear button is now a menu that includes other options like About, Help, and Quit.
  • Fixed various bugs related to Amazon orders.
  • Fixed a bug where you might get duplicate deliveries if you were syncing with iCloud and had the app and Today widget open at the same time. Duplicates will be removed for you. This also fixes a bug where it was not possible to delete certain deliveries.
  • Fixed a bug where the sync settings wouldn’t load the first time the app was opened.
  • Improved iCloud support, especially with accounts that have iCloud Drive enabled.
  • Fixed a bug where the app would not always update in the background when it should-particularly after waking from sleep, and if the dock icon was enabled.
  • Notifications now use the correct sound effect.
  • Other various imrprovements

Miss T9 texting on your iPhone? There’s an app for that.

Photo: Text 9

For us old farts, T9 texting still has a sort of nostalgic allure. Now a new iPhone keyboard allows you to text message your friends like it’s 1999 all over again.

If you’re too young to remember T9 texting, it was a way to type text on a mobile phone that didn’t have a full QWERTY keyboard, but instead had a simple number pad. It worked like this:

Do you see how this works? Each key on the number pad has three or four letters associated with it. To type out a letter, then, you’d hit whatever number was associated with that key x number of times, where x represents its position. So, for example, if I wanted to type in ‘Hi’, I’d hit the number 4 three times (H), wait a minute, than hit 4 another 4 times. (I)

T9 texting also had a predictive aspect, which made it easy to save some keystrokes, but that was the basic principle of how it worked. All of which is beautifully recreated in Type 9, an iOS 8 keyboard that recreates the experience of using a vintage Motorola Razr.

At $0.99, Text 9 isn’t expensive, and in my experience, it works pretty well. But as it turns out, my nostalgia for T9 texting is pretty overblown: as annoying as I find typing out text on my iPhone to be, Text 9 is about ten times worse. So this one’s for nostalgic die-hards only.


Upcoming port brings CarPlay to iPhone/iPad without an external display.


Developer Adam Bell has published a preview of his latest project that attempts to allow CarPlay, Apple’s iOS feature usually reserved for in-car entertainment systems, to run directly on iOS devices. 

Bell notes in a post that the port of CarPlay running on top of SpringBoard is “buggy at the moment,” but published the video and images above and below showing it running on an iPad and an iPhone 6. Bell confirmed the port is still in the early stages, but said it will be a free and open source project. 

In addition to iPad (pictured above and in the video below), the developer posted the screenshot below showing the port running on an iPhone 6:

Currently Apple’s CarPlay system is limited to a small number of new vehicles from Apple’s initial launch partners as well as through third-party installations of head units from Pioneer (our review). A project like Bell’s in theory could allow (at least Jailbreak users) to use an existing iPad or iPhone mounted on a dashboard for CarPlay. 

It might not be a much cheaper solution than installing a third-party system like Pioneer’s, but most of the CarPlay systems on the market, as Bell notes, have resistive touch screens that make for a subpar touchscreen experience compared to Apple’s own iOS devices. Lots of users that already have iOS devices to spare could also get into CarPlay for the price of a dashboard mount rather than being forced to purchase and install a third-party head unit.

Bell said he plans on sharing more on the project’s progress and how exactly it works in the near future.

How to fix Wi-Fi problems in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.

Download iOS 8.0.1 now. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac.

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite users have been plagued by a host of Wi-Fi problems since Apple’s two latest operating systems were released. Apple has released updates for both, but to no avail: People keep suffering through Wi-Fi drops, seemingly at random.

What the heck’s going on? According to one developer, the issue is caused by the custom technology that Apple uses for AirDrop and AirPlay on both iOS 8 and OS X. And there’s a way to fix it!

Mario Ciabarra, the developer behind MiWi, explains the issue on Medium:

I’ve narrowed down the issue to the use of Apple’s Wireless Direct Link (AWDL) that is used for AirDrop, AirPlay, and Gaming connections. I’ll go out on a limb and say the WiFi issues are because of Apple’s choice of using Bonjour over AWDL and that, given the constraints of the WiFi hardware, this will be difficult to get right. But perhaps I’m crazy, and this is just a bug that can be fixed by Apple.

You can duplicate the problem yourself by performing a speed test, then opening Control Center while it’s running (as seen in the video below).

So how do you fix the Wi-Fi problem? If you’re running iOS 8, and have a jailbroken device, you can download a package from Cydia called WiFried that will allow you to disable AWDL, and can conveniently be turned on and off under the AirDrop settings in Control Center.

As for OS X Yosemite? Just open up Terminal and type in the following command to disable AWDL and AirDrop:

sudo ifconfig awdl0 down

And to restore AirDrop and AWDL:

sudo ifconfig awdl0 up

I’ve been lucky enough not to experience the rampant Wi-Fi problems other people are reporting, so let us know if this works for you!

Video: Man creates real-time magnet position detection system using an iPhone.

As smartphones have gotten smarter their insides have had to get smarter with them. Right now the iPhone in your pocket contains an accelerometer, magnetometer digital compass, gyroscope, microphone, proximity sensor, camera, GPS, and more. Ivo Leko is a developer who was inspired by the possibilities inside our phones to create a new way of interaction with the device.

Using the iPhone’s magnetometer, accelerometer and microphone Leko has written a library in Objective-C and C that allows you to detect the position of a magnet in real time. While that may not sound impressive actually watching it in action is another story. The program can detect the magnet across both a 2D and 3D plain, meaning in the future this could be used for a number of active real world situations like virtual keyboards, styluses, and game controllers. In the mean time it’s simply a stunningly interesting demo. Enjoy.