Unlox 2.0 (formerly called MacID) now available on the iOS App Store

MacID 2.0 is now called Unlox and it’s finally approved by Apple and is available on the iOS App Store!

You can read more about why MacID is now called Unlox on the Unlox blog.

MacID 1 will continue to be available for the time being because Unlox requires iOS 11.2 and newer. Here’s to the next chapter of Unlox (formerly called MacID)!

Submitting macID 2 for App Store Review

[EDIT] Apple are asking me to change the name. MacID 2 will not longer be called MacID, and will be called Unlox. You can read more about it on the Unlox blog

So! One of the requirements for releasing macID 2 is that I can only support iOS 11.2 and newer, because Apple finally fixed a nasty bug that meant macID couldn’t keep running in the background.

Today, Apple released iOS 11.2 (likely in order to fix a horrible bug that was causing people’s devices to endlessly reboot 🙄), and I spent the whole day trying to get macID into a state that was worthy of being submitted to Apple for App Store Review.

Unfortunately, Apple haven’t updated Xcode 9.2 (which I need to use in order to install an app from Xcode onto iOS 11.2), so Xcode 9.2 is still in beta. Turns out, Apple don’t allow submissions to App Store Review if you’re using an Xcode version that isn’t fully released, so submitting macID 2 will have to wait until Xcode 9.2 is fully released.

The thing that’s worrying me a little is that iOS 11.2 had 6 betas before it was released, but Xcode 9.2 has only had 2 betas. So I have no idea how long it will be until Apple release Xcode 9.2 so I can submit.

A little frustrating because I spend my whole Saturday working to get a decent website ready so I can submit the iOS app today, but hey, live and learn.

So, once again we’re at the mercy of Apple’s release process. I guess we wait! In the meantime I’ll keep working on re-adding features to macID 2 that I haven’t had time to add yet.

I’ll keep everyone updated when I know more!

macID 2

[EDIT 2] Apple are asking me to change the name. MacID 2 will not longer be called MacID, and will be called Unlox. You can read more about it on the Unlox blog

[EDIT] A few people have asked how they can beta test macID 2. If you’re running iOS 11.2 and macOS High Sierra, simply add your details to this form and I will add you with the next batch: https://goo.gl/forms/5HXqoQfdf0B1IZgB3

Now that macID 2 is finally in the hands of beta testers, I thought I would take the time to speak a little about what’s changed, as well as some of the decisions I’ve made.

What’s the deal with macID 2?

Firstly, you might notice that “macID” now starts with a lowercase ‘M’. Small change, but this fits in nicer with the Apple ecosystem and I think it looks great. Autocorrect is having a hard time adjusting to this change after me typing “MacID” for over two years though!

macID 2 is a complete re-write of the iOS, watchOS and macOS apps. Usually, I would advise against re-writing an app completely and instead opting to modularise and re-write parts of the app as you go. However, after running MacID 1 in the iPhone X simulator I quickly realised that some of the choices I’d made for laying out the UI were going to mean a huge change to the underlying code. If I’m going to make that much of a change, I may as well re-write it.

It also gives me the opportunity to write the whole app in Swift – which I am much faster at writing because I do it all day as my day job too – plus it means the app is way less likely to crash. I also hugely enjoy writing Swift now, and Objective-C feels archaic!

A complete re-write means I can use more modern ways of laying out the UI using something called auto-layout, which makes it significantly easier to support iPhone X. It also means that I can refine and simplify both apps to make macID 2 a more intuitive and easy-to-use experience.

I can use this opportunity to write the code in a way that is easier to maintain and build on top of; something that I’ve only learnt how to do really well since launching MacID 1.

Speaking of making things easier to maintain, I’ve taken the difficult decision to only support English in macID 2. This might seem like a lazy thing to do, but I have significantly less free time nowadays compared to when I first launched MacID 1, so finding the time to work on updates has become much harder. Anything I can do to make it quicker for me to update the app will mean more support in the future.

Continue reading macID 2

Tap to Unlock and macOS 10.13.2 beta

[UPDATE] As of the latest 10.13.2 beta (beta 3) Tap to Unlock has been fixed by Apple. Let’s hope it stays like that! Thanks to Katia for letting me know so quickly 🙂

[Original post]

Unfortunately something has changed on macOS that has caused apps that access the trackpad (MacID and Better Touch Tool) to stop working. I’m looking into if it’s fixable but I haven’t found a solution yet.

Please avoid updating to 10.13.2 if you rely on Tap to Unlock because I cannot guarantee it will keep working.

Site outage!

Hello!

It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything, and I didn’t realise until recently that the blog was offline. That’s fixed! However it’s lost all its styling, so won’t look very MacID-y while I sort that back out.

I also appreciate it’s been a while since I’ve updated MacID. Lack of time is prevalent in my life at the moment. If we could extend the length of each day that would be great!

I’ve actually been working on TWO new apps to be part of the MacID family, but they’re slow progress due to my day job being quite full-on.

I will update when I have more information.

Peace!

High cfprefsd CPU usage when using MacID

Update 5: Apple have replied to my bug report informing me that it’s a duplicate of another bug (#24570370). When that bug gets marked as fixed I will be able to see it and update you accordingly, but until it does we’ve done all we can do at this point.

Update 4: Thank you to everyone who’s provided a Bluetooth diagnostic report, I’ve now forwarded them on to Apple with bug report #26194733. 

Update 3: Clearing the OS X Bluetooth cache should help, even if not permanently. To clear the cache, click the MacID menu > More > Reset Bluetooth. It shouldn’t affect any paired keyboards or mice but will clear the cache.

Update 2: Other apps that use Bluetooth APIs on OS X are experiencing the same issue. Hopefully Apple will have a fix for this in the near future. Other people have been filing bugs with Apple too.

Update 1: A user has been kind enough to email to let me know that after reinstalling El Capitan, it has fixed the issue for them. Not an ideal solution by any means, but does help prove the theory Apple can fix it.

There are a few people reporting that while using MacID, the system is reporting high CPU usage for the `cfprefsd` process. I’ve never been able to reproduce this issue so it’s been hard for me to diagnose, but thanks to some helpful people I’ve been told it seems to happen when MacID is searching for your device to connect to.

Unfortunately this means that this is an issue internally where the system is accessing the Bluetooth plist file, and there’s not much I can do about that. If I stop MacID from scanning, then of course MacID would never connect to your device and it would be useless.

Thankfully this doesn’t happen to everyone, but if you are affected the more information you can provide about when it happens will help me narrow the issue down and file a decent bug report with Apple. What would be even more helpful is if you can send me a Bluetooth diagnostics report, along with your model of Mac and the version of OS X you’re using.

Here’s how to start a Bluetooth diagnostics report:

  • When the issue has happened, hold alt/option and click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar
  • From the menu that appears choose “Create Diagnostics Report on the Desktop…”
  • After a moment a zip file will appear on your desktop, forward that file to the feedback email address and I’ll add it to the bug report with Apple

Any help you can provide will go a long way to getting this issue fixed. I can’t file a bug report with Apple until I can either reproduce the issue or forward on a report from someone who has. Thanks!

MacID PopClip Extension

It never ceases to amaze me the things people have been doing with MacID.

I was recently asked about adding a PopClip extension for sending selected text to Mac clipboards. This was actually the first time I’d heard of PopClip, and after a quick Google I found out it was a really nifty tool for quickly actioning selected text on OS X.

Just click the MacID icon to send to all connected iOS devices!
Just click the MacID icon to send to all connected iOS devices!

I noticed that you can use URL schemes to create PopClip extensions, and shortly after replying to Yiplee (who suggested the idea via email) to let them know about MacID’s URL schemes, Yiplee created a working PopClip extension for MacID!

You can find the original project on Yiplee’s GitHub, but I’ve also already turned the extension into a working extension. All you have to do is download it and install into PopClip by double clicking. (PopClip will warn that it’s not signed)

Thank you, Yiplee, for introducing me to PopClip and spending the time to create a working extension!

 

 

MacID – more than just a novelty

One of the things that’s easily overlooked is how much time goes into an app. I work on MacID on my own (although have a small army of beta testers, which I am surpremely thankful for), which means that I often work for many hours a day to finish updates and new features.

This isn’t a tale of woe, however. Much the opposite. Since launching MacID in January my life has significantly changed for the better. I’ve met some amazing people, used some amazing technology and also been lucky enough to change careers into something I truly enjoy. (Today is the last day at my old job, coincidentally)

One thing I didn’t anticipate is how much MacID could help other people too. And this is where I find myself the most motivated, more than money or career prospects. Continue reading MacID – more than just a novelty