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Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote was a lightning-fast (even in the full 1:44-long video—or try the 3-minute recap) look at what Apple is bringing to the software side of the Apple experience in the next year. Although some past keynotes have introduced hardware like new Macs and the Vision Pro, this year’s keynote stuck to new operating system features before previewing a suite of AI features collected under the umbrella term “Apple Intelligence.” 





Apple previewed a boatload of new features and listed even more on its website. We’ll focus on those we think will make the biggest splash in your Apple experience, but we recommend that you scroll through Apple’s pages for each operating system to see more of what’s coming. Those are linked below, along with basic hardware requirements so you can see if your devices will be eligible to upgrade (not all features will be available on all devices):

  • macOS 15 Sequoia: iMac Pro from 2017, MacBook Pro and Mac mini from 2018 and later, iMac and Mac Pro from 2019 and later, MacBook Air from 2020 and later, and Mac Studio from 2022 and later

  • iOS 18: Second-generation iPhone SE, iPhone XR, and later (same as iOS 17)

  • iPadOS 18: Seventh-generation iPad and later, fifth-generation iPad mini and later, third-generation iPad Air and later (including M2 models), first-generation 11-inch iPad Pro and later, and third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and later, and all M4 iPad Pro models

  • watchOS 11: Second-generation Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 6 and later, and Apple Watch Ultra and later

  • tvOS 18: Apple TV HD (with fewer features), Apple TV 4K

  • visionOS 2: All Vision Pro headsets

Here are a handful of new features we think Apple users will find most interesting. Then we’ll look at Apple Intelligence.


 

Personalize Your iPhone and iPad Home Screen

iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 introduce significantly enhanced Home Screen customization options aimed at letting your creativity shine through. You can leave blank spaces between icons and arrange icons and widgets however you like. Additionally, you can change the size of icons and widgets and apply color tints. 

 

Tile Windows Automatically in Sequoia

macOS has long had a subtle window alignment effect that makes it easy to line up windows, but in macOS 15 Sequoia, when you drag a window to the side of the screen, macOS suggests a tiled position on your desktop, intelligently sizing it for the window’s content. Window tiling makes it easy to put windows side-by-side and fill the screen without wasting space. Keyboard jockeys will appreciate new keyboard shortcuts for window tiling as well. (If you don’t want to wait for Sequoia, numerous utilities offer similar features now, including Amethyst,BetterTouchTool,Magnet,Moom,Rectangle, and Yabai.)

 

Notes and Phone Gain Audio Recording and Transcription

If you find yourself wanting to revisit what was said in a lecture, appointment, or phone call, a pair of upcoming features can boost your recall. The Notes app on all platforms will record audio and create live transcriptions, allowing you to pay attention during a talk rather than furiously taking notes. Plus, the Phone app in iOS 18 will let you record and transcribe a live call—when you start recording, participants are automatically notified so everyone knows it’s happening.


Mirror Your iPhone on Your Mac

If you frequently pull out your iPhone while working on your Mac, you’ll appreciate Sequoia’s new iPhone mirroring feature. It lets you use your Mac’s pointing device and keyboard to interact with all your iPhone apps in a window on your Mac while the iPhone remains locked or in StandBy. Audio from the iPhone plays through your Mac, and you can share data between devices with drag and drop. A related Continuity feature displays iPhone notifications on your Mac—when mirroring your iPhone, clicking those notifications opens the associated iPhone app.


Passwords Breaks Free of Settings

At long last, Apple has given us a dedicated Passwords app in Sequoia, iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and visionOS 2. The company’s password management features have become quite good over the past few years, but they are awkward to access in Settings on the iPhone and iPad and System Settings on the Mac. We don’t anticipate significant feature changes beyond the addition of categories, but the Passwords app should make managing your logins even easier. Passwords still won’t fully match up to the likes of 1Password, but you won’t go wrong with Apple’s built-in solution. Remember that if you use a Web browser other than Safari, you’ll need the iCloud Passwords extension we’ve mentioned previously. You can also share your passwords with a Windows PC using iCloud for Windows.

 

Five More Welcome Features

For more reasons to upgrade once these new operating systems are out and stable, consider the following additional features:


  • Customize Control Center: iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 feature a thoroughly revamped Control Center, accessible with a continuous swipe down on the Home Screen. You can create custom groups of controls—some from third-party apps—with resizing and mixing options.

  • iPad Calculator app and Math Notes: Not only does the iPad finally get a Calculator app, but it also introduces Math Notes. You handwrite an equation with an Apple Pencil, and when you write an equals sign, Calculator solves the equation. Math Notes works with keyboards, too, and you can also find it in the Notes app.

  • Lock and hide iPhone apps: New privacy features in iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 let you lock apps with Face ID or Touch ID so the friend who’s scrolling through your vacation photos can’t also read your journal. You can also move apps to a hidden folder in the App Library that can’t be opened without biometric authentication.

  • More tapbacks: In Messages, when you want to use a tapback to acknowledge a message without typing out a reply, you’ll be able to use any emoji or sticker, or a new AI-powered Genmoji.

  • Vitals app collects overnight data: When you wear your Apple Watch to sleep, a new Vitals app in watchOS 11 collects and displays your overnight health metrics on your wrist, including heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood oxygen, and sleep duration. It might help you rest up to fight off that cold that’s going around.

Apple usually releases its new operating systems in September or October; we’ll write more about them as we get closer. Generally speaking, it’s OK to upgrade to everything but macOS shortly after release; with macOS, we recommend caution to ensure your existing apps and workflows won’t be impacted.


Apple Intelligence

Apple devoted a large chunk of the keynote to introducing Apple Intelligence, a collection of AI-powered features coming to the Apple ecosystem over the next year. These features will enable your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to understand language and create both text and images, plus take actions aimed at simplifying your interactions with apps. What sets Apple Intelligence apart from AI efforts from other companies is its focus on—and understanding of—your personal context. Apple Intelligence will know about your contacts, schedule, email, messages, photos, and much more.


The most significant use of Apple Intelligence will come with Siri, which will let us speak more naturally and understand what we mean if we make mistakes. We’ve trained ourselves to say only things Siri is likely to be able to handle, but that won’t be necessary when Siri gains Apple Intelligence capabilities. You’ll be able to search for photos of your child holding a fishing rod, for instance, or ask Siri to find something when you can’t remember if it was in Mail or Messages. Siri will also gain context awareness, so you can ask what the weather will be like at the beach tomorrow, and if the response is good enough, have it schedule a trip there. Siri will even know a lot more about your Apple devices and can help you use them. For the most part, though, Siri won’t have global knowledge. If Siri can’t answer your query directly, it will offer to send it to ChatGPT for free.


Apple Intelligence also includes writing tools, but unlike ChatGPT, it’s not aimed at creating text from scratch. Instead, it can rewrite text you’ve written to help you fine-tune the wording or adjust the tone to be more appropriate. It can also proofread text, helping you with grammar, word choice, and sentence structure (if you need this now, check ou tGrammarly). Even when Apple Intelligence does create text, such as the Smart Reply feature coming to Mail, it asks you questions to guide its response.


Text summarization powered by Apple Intelligence shows up repeatedly. In Notes, you’ll be able to summarize a transcription. If you save a long article to Safari’s Reader, it can provide a table of contents and summary. In Mail, instead of the first few sentences appearing in the message list, you’ll get a short summary. Apple Intelligence can even prioritize and summarize notifications.


Unsurprisingly, Apple Intelligence lets you create and edit images, but it’s a far cry from the AI artbots that let you create photo-realistic images. Instead, Apple Intelligence lets you create custom emoji, called Genmoji, which let you express yourself graphically in ways that standard emoji can’t support. Image Playground lets you create images for inclusion in conversations and documents, but it limits you to three styles: Sketch, Illustration, and Paint. Apple doesn’t want anyone making deepfakes with Apple Intelligence. A new Image Wand feature in Notes even turns your rough sketches into polished images.


Apple took great pains to emphasize the privacy aspects of Apple Intelligence. Most Apple Intelligence tasks will take place entirely on your device, hence the need for powerful Apple silicon chips with their Neural Engines and Secure Enclaves. Some tasks require more processing power; to handle those, Apple has developed a highly secure system called Private Cloud Compute. It relies on Apple silicon servers, transfers only the data necessary to the task, and stores nothing. 


Apple Intelligence features will start arriving in the fall and continue to roll out in feature-release updates over the next 6–8 months. They will run only on the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPads and Macs with M1 or later chips. Intel-based Macs and less-powerful iPads and iPhones need not apply. Apple Intelligence will also require Siri and the device language to be set to US English in the early releases, with other languages to follow.


Overall, Apple appears to have put a great deal of thought and effort into integrating AI into the Apple experience in focused, helpful ways that offer new capabilities while preserving user privacy. We won’t know how well these features will work until they ship, but we look forward to seeing how they can improve interactions with our Apple devices.

Long ago, before macOS was as stable as it is today, Mac users restarted their Macs regularly. Back then, Macs couldn’t sleep, either, so it was common for users to shut down at the end of the day and start up the next morning, effectively restarting daily.



With modern Macs using the barest trickle of power in sleep and both apps and macOS almost never crashing, many Mac users have gone to the opposite extreme, letting their Macs run for months between restarts. However, such an approach brings with it new problems, and as with so many things, there’s a happy medium.



Why are we banging this particular drum? As an off-the-cuff estimate, about a quarter of the problems reported to us can be solved by a restart. Really! Just click the Apple menu and choose Restart. As long as you save your work first or when prompted, nothing bad will happen.



Here are our top six reasons you should restart periodically:

  • Improved security: Restarting itself doesn’t generally improve security (although it could theoretically clear malicious code running in memory). However, installing macOS updates requires a restart, and we strongly recommend installing security-focused updates shortly after they’re released. If you resist installing updates because of the need to restart, you’re increasing your risk significantly. 

  • Resolve problems: Modern Macs may be more stable than ever, but things can still get funky. If apps are crashing, peripherals aren’t connecting, you’re seeing visual glitches, or anything else seems wrong, the first troubleshooting step is a restart. 

  • Better performance: We all have a feel for how long different tasks on our Macs take. If icons for launching apps bounce longer than usual, windows draw slowly, or you see the spinning pinwheel repeatedly, restart. Performance problems are often caused by a poorly coded app or out-of-control process causing your Mac to run out of physical memory and switch to slower virtual memory. Restarting clears such issues.

  • Recover drive space: Another memory-related bonus of restarting is that it can free up drive space. When macOS starts to rely on virtual memory, it creates swap files that can consume gigabytes of space. Restart, and all that space is returned, at least until your app usage requires it again.

  • Get updates: Most apps notify you of updates at launch, and some automatically download their updates but install them only when you quit. Either way, a restart results in all your apps quitting and relaunching, which ensures they either install or at least notify you of important updates.

  • Start fresh: Even if having 20 or more apps open isn’t affecting your Mac’s performance, a clean slate can help you focus on your work better. A simple restart quits everything and lets you start over with just those apps set to launch at login. For a completely fresh start, make sure to deselect “Reopen windows when logging back in” in the restart dialog. Of course, if you have a lot of documents open and need to return to them, leave that checkbox selected to pick up exactly where you left off.

There’s no set schedule on which you should restart, but if you use a Mac at work and like routines, it wouldn’t be problematic to restart on Friday evening as you wind down to leave for the weekend. That way, you’d return to a clean slate on Monday morning. It’s also totally fine to restart whenever it might be helpful.



Just don’t fear the restart—modern Macs, especially those with Apple silicon, restart quickly, and the benefits far outweigh the few minutes of downtime.

The ease of sending and receiving email makes it an attractive way to run scams like phishing attacks. One telltale mark of a phishing attack is the sender’s address not matching their purported domain; attacks that appear to come from legitimate email addresses are much more likely to fool the victim. 


You can protect your organization’s email accounts from being compromised and used in phishing attacks by training your users to identify forged emails and use password managers, which won’t autofill a password on a malicious site. But how do you prevent bad guys from forging email that looks like it comes from inside your organization? You can’t, but you can reduce the chances that other email servers will accept it. In the process, you’ll enhance the deliverability of legitimate email from your domain.


The rest of this article is aimed at two types of readers. The first is the IT professional who needs an overview of email authentication technologies and pointers to helpful tools. For other readers, this article will give you an idea of what’s involved so you can talk more knowledgeably with your IT staff or better appreciate what they manage for you.


Whether your email is hosted at Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, or managed by your Internet service provider or IT department, if your organization has its own domain for email addresses—yourname@yourcompany.com—you need to know about and set up three authentication technologies: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC:

  • SPF, which stands for Sender Policy Framework, lets you specify which servers and domains are allowed to send email for your organization. It allows receiving mail servers to verify that incoming messages from your organization are actually from you.

  • DKIM, or DomainKeys Internet Mail, adds a digital signature to every message sent from your organization. Receiving mail servers can use your public key to verify that messages actually came from you and were not changed in transit.

  • DMARC, which expands to Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, leverages SPF and DKIM to publish policies that tell receiving mail servers what to do with messages that fail authentication: deliver, quarantine, or reject them. A message fails DMARC authentication only if it fails both SPF and DKIM—only one is necessary for the message to pass DMARC’s checks.

These three authentication technologies exist inside DNS (Domain Name System) records. The primary use of DNS is to link your human-usable domain name with the underlying IP addresses of the servers that manage your Internet presence; for example, matching www.yourcompany.com with an IP address like 192.168.1.23. However, DNS can also contain TXT records with additional information about your domain—you configure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC using TXT records.


These TXT records must be carefully constructed to work correctly—an incorrect configuration could cause email failures. You could build them manually, but it’s safer to use a tool that asks you questions and spits out a correctly formatted TXT record for you to add to your DNS configuration. If all that sounds intimidating, work with your ISP or email service provider, or ask us for help. But here are the basics.


 

SPF

SPF is the oldest of these technologies. To get started, all you need to do is specify the names or IP addresses of servers that are allowed to send email from your domain. The mx (mail exchanger) and a radio buttons automatically add the servers listed in your DNS records, and anything you put in the Includes field will allow email sent from anything allowed by a third party that sends email on your behalf. It’s common to put Google, Amazon SES, SendGrid, or other systems there. The IPv4, IPv6, and Hostnames fields let you specify other allowed servers, but aren’t necessary.


The Policy menu is important—you can choose from Fail, SoftFail, and Neutral. Start with Neutral, which should allow messages to be accepted (it prefixes all in the TXT record with a ?). Then bump up to SoftFail (a tilde ~ prefix) to have messages accepted but marked. When you’re confident everything is working correctly, move to Fail, which uses a - prefix.


DKIM

Because it relies on public key cryptography, DKIM is significantly more complicated. It’s much more likely that you’ll use a tool managed by the company that hosts your email to create your keys. That tool will automatically install the private key and give you the necessary details to add to a TXT record in your DNS settings.


DMARC

Where SPF and DKIM are all about authenticating email messages, DMARC lets you say what happens when authentication fails. For Policy and Subdomain Policy, you can choose None, Quarantine, or Reject—those specify what will happen to messages that fail both SPF and DKIM authentication. Start with None to see what happens in your reporting, move to Quarantine, and if everything seems OK, end up at Reject. 


To set up reporting, DMARC reports are daily XML digests that aren’t human-readable, so they should be sent to a service that will parse them and provide you with a dashboard for exploring the problems.


Configuring DNS

Once you’ve generated your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records, you have to configure them in your DNS settings. How you do that depends on your DNS host.

For each case, you’re creating a TXT record, but what goes in the Name and Content fields varies:

  • SPF: The name for an SPF record in most cases should be the @ character, signifying the root level of your domain. Paste the text that the SPF Generator tool created in the Content field. You can have only one SPF record for each domain, although you can set up separate SPF records for subdomains.

  • DKIM: You can have as many DKIM records as services that send email on your behalf, so the first part of the name can vary—we show example below. However, the ._domainkey part is required for each DKIM record. For the content, paste the text given to you by the email-sending service. Note that some email services may require you to create one or more CNAME records instead of a TXT record—just follow their instructions.

  • DMARC: For DMARC, the name must be _dmarc. Once again, you’ll paste the text given to you by the DMARC Generator tool in the Content field.

Reporting and Evaluation

After you set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, it’s essential to keep an eye on your email. If you’ve started with SPF in Neutral mode and DMARC in None, nothing should go wrong. You can look through the headers of test messages you send to verify. This DMARCLY article explains what to look for. If you’ve signed up for an aggregate reporting service, you’ll be able to see reports like this one from Cloudflare that show the percentage of email that passes each of the authentication technologies.



If everything looks good and most email passes, change SPF to SoftFail and DMARC to Quarantine. Make sure you can send email to some known personal addresses on Gmail, Yahoo, or iCloud. Also, tell people who send email from your domain to be on the alert if they don’t hear back from someone who typically replies quickly—if a misconfiguration is causing your email to be marked as spam, you want to know about that quickly. If you’re using a DMARC reporting service, look at those reports to see if any email services are sending a lot of messages that fail DMARC. 


After you’ve run with those settings for a month or two, bump SPF up to Fail and DMARC to Reject. Continue to monitor your DMARC reporting and pay attention to any complaints from users about the messages they send not arriving.



That’s a lot, we know. Feel free to contact us if you need help with any step of the process. We take care of this for our customers aa part of our standard offerings.

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