What’s new in MacID v1.3.4

Hello!

MacID v1.3.4 has just been released with a plethora of tweaks and fixes.

As always, if you have a moment spare I’d really appreciate it if you could leave a short review for MacID in the iOS App Store, or update an existing rating if you’ve already left one before. Whenever an app gets updated it loses its rating in the search results 🙁

If you find that you get repeat notifications after installing the iOS app, unfortunately the only fix is to restart your device. It’s something related to background modes on iOS and seems to be an issue with iOS 9.

Here’s what’s new:

MacID for iOS

  • URL schemes can now handle multiple Macs per URL. Previously set up URL schemes will continue to work as normal.
  • Adds new “unlock” URL scheme. If you have Touch ID enabled in-app, launching this URL will ask for Touch ID and then unlock any Macs associated with that particular URL. If you have Touch ID disabled in-app then the Macs will unlock as soon as the URL is launched (if they’re connected).
  • When creating new home screen shortcuts, the Safari screen where you save to the home screen now uses your chosen colour scheme.
  • Home screen shortcut icons also now use your chosen colour scheme and have a cleaner design.
  • Adds even more beautiful colour schemes, which work on MacID for OS X and MacID for Apple Watch.
  • You can now long-touch on the Settings navigation bar at the top to jump back to the start. Handy because MacID is getting more customisable with deeper settings navigation.
  • Adds new power saving options so you can decide how MacID throttles the connection for Low Power Mode.
  • Adds new options for MacID for Pebble too, you can now choose if MacID for Pebble automatically launches for all unlock request, just Proximity Wake requests, or none at all.
  • Lifts the 4000 character limit on sending clipboard text between devices.
  • Fixes an issue where the Today widget wouldn’t update if a device disconnects while the widget is visible.
  • Fixes an issue where creating shortcut items could fail.
  • Fixes various little crashes through crash reports, if you’re one of the people who have this enabled in iOS privacy settings then thank you!
  • Fixes an issue where advertising Bluetooth could crash if the device name had particular characters in it.

MacID for Apple Watch

  • Brand new settings screen, tap the cog icon at the bottom of the main screen to access settings like choosing when MacID for Apple Watch plays haptics.
  • Adds new option for the MacID complication to show either the connected count, locked, or both.
  • You can now see the exact version of MacID for Apple Watch on the settings screen.
  • Updated notification design. Unfortunately there’s no way to modify this in code so I can’t make your chosen colour scheme work with this yet.
  • Unlock alerts now show no matter where you are in the app.
  • Much, much better support for switching between multiple Apple Watches paired to one iPhone.
  • Improves retrieving connected Macs when launching from a new install.
  • Leaving audio controls open for a connected Mac will properly update the currently playing track when you wake the screen.
  • Audio controls dismiss themselves if that Mac disconnects.
  • Removes “snooze” option from in-app unlock alerts that aren’t Proximity Wake alerts.
  • Fixes an issue where receiving any kind of MacID notification while the watch is active would show an unlock alert.
  • Fixes an issue where the complication could show the wrong number of Macs connected if the iOS app was restored in the background by iOS.
  • Fixes an issue where the complication wouldn’t update because the iOS was sending too much data in one go. Unfortunately there are still times when the system won’t let the complication update but it should be more reliable now.

MacID for OS X

  • You can now enable Tap to Unlock to work when Terminal is active, but note that there is no was for MacID to know if Terminal is asking for a password. This means tapping your tap pattern will always type your password into a Terminal window if it’s active.
  • You can also now ask MacID to notify you when the Mac App Store requires your password. This also enables Tap to Unlock for the Mac App Store. This feature requires that your OS X account password and Mac App Store password are the same.
  • The two new options above can be found in the new Advanced menu under More
  • Increases the size of the Lock Screen menu item.
  • Improves reconnection times a little.
  • Includes support for the new MacID colours which you can choose in MacID for iOS.
  • Improves elevated auth requests/admin requests by only notifying you if the system is actually asking for a password. Sometimes the system is just asking for your approval but not asking for a password, MacID can now tell the difference.
  • Adds an option to make any paired device the primary device.
  • Improves Tap to Unlock responsiveness when waking from deep sleep.
  • Adds option to stop searching for devices when it’s in the “Looking for…” stage.
  • Lifts the 4000 character limit for sending clipboard text.
  • Fixes an issue where a device disconnecting and reconnecting during password setup could cause the setup window to close.
  • Bluetooth scanning now ‘pauses’ between each connection attempt to help alleviate cfprefsd CPU issues.
  • Fixes an issue where an unlock request would get sent if an iOS device connects while the screensaver is running but the lock screen isn’t visible.
  • Fixes an issue where Proximity Wake would continually press the return key.
  • Fixes an issue where elevated auth requests would get sent even if the account isn’t an admin account.
  • Fixes an issue where selecting some Auto-lock options would cause “Limit to battery power” to become enabled.
  • Fixes an issue where MacID would MacID wouldn’t stop scanning after searching for new devices.
  • MacID now forces itself to activate when showing alerts so it’s better for VoiceOver users.
  • Fixes an issue where the lock screen icon may not always appear.
  • Prevents a Spotify-related crash.
  • Prevents an issue where “lock on disconnect” may fail.
  • Fixes an issue where forgetting a primary device wouldn’t automatically assign a new primary device.
  • Fixes an issue where choosing “Reconnect” wouldn’t show that it’s “Looking” even though it was searching for the device.
  • Fixes an issue where choosing “Uninstall” would re-save known devices just before uninstalling.
  • Fixes an issue where the Auto-lock menu wouldn’t properly disable items if Proximity Wake was set to a conflicting option.

What happens if Apple release their own version of MacID?

Yesterday, MacRumors posted an article that suggests Apple are going to be incorporating a similar idea to MacID baked into iOS and OS X. Since then I’ve had a few people message me and let me know their support and concerns (and some taunts…).

Firstly, let me put it to rest that if Apple do this, I won’t be shelving MacID. At least not while it’s still worth my time. Remember that MacID does more than just unlocking your Mac, it has the highest ratings out of all unlocking apps and a strong base of users.

It’s unlikely that Apple’s implementation will have any of these features:

  • Tap to Unlock (which in v1.3.4 will also work with Terminal and the Mac App Store)
  • Proximity based locking, waking and unlocking
  • Custom proximity triggers
  • Remotely share clipboards and start screensavers
  • Touch ID for administrator password requests
  • Multiple iOS devices per Mac, and multiple Macs per iOS device (this is possible, but unlikely)
  • Limiting features based on whether you’re connected to a power source or not
  • Audio controls
  • Full (and super fast) Apple Watch app
  • Pebble watch support
  • Custom URL schemes
  • Home screen shortcuts
  • iOS 8 and 9 support
  • Support for devices that don’t have Touch ID (effectively turning them into keys)
  • Constant supply of updates and new tweaks and features (MacID’s been updated 8 times since launching, which is an update about every 2 months)

The reason MacID exists is because I was bored of waiting for Apple to implement it themselves, so I can’t get angry that they finally have. Am I concerned? A little, I won’t lie, but this is software development this sort of stuff is what happens, especially to independent devs!

Although MacRumors are respectable and quite often right, it’s also worthwhile noting that they aren’t always right and they don’t cite any sources in their article.

I’ll be at WWDC this year so I’ll be the first to hear about it, and if worst comes to the worst and MacID’s downloads completely stop, it will free up time to work on whatever new awesome stuff announced and make another killer app.

Whatever happens, thanks for all the support over the last year and I’ll keep doing what I do!

Why MacID might say your Mac is locked when its not

If you set your Mac to require a password for anything other than “immediately” in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > “Require password after sleep or screensaver begins”, then unfortunately the system will always report to MacID that your screen is locked regardless as soon as your display sleeps or the screensaver starts.

Unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done my end, although as ever I’ve submitted a bug report to Apple so hopefully this will get resolved quickly.

For now, if this is causing an issue for you I would suggest changing the option to just require a password “immediately” or disable it altogether and just use MacID to lock your screen.

MacID for OS X reconnection procedure

As MacID becomes more popular, more and more people in offices are using it.

This is awesome, but in an environment like this it really shows up an issue where MacID has to “ping” everything nearby to reconnect to your device.

I really wish I didn’t have to do this, but there are a couple of issues with Bluetooth on OS X that mean I have to.

  1. The APIs are meant to allow apps to search only for devices that have a specific service. Unfortunately this just doesn’t work, I’ve spoken to other devs and they’ve had the same issue.
  2. Apps are also meant to be able to save a device’s identifier to reconnect to it at a later date. This works, until iOS changes its identifier, which happens randomly. I suspect this is something to do with protecting users’ privacy, but it makes reconnecting difficult.

As you can imagine, both of these issues present a problem. The only solution to which is to scan for everything and then try and figure out which is the right device.

Every new version of OS X I check if this has been fixed so I can at least search for just devices that are advertising the right services but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet.