Monthly Archives: January 2017

Apple’s Ability to Hire Foreign Workers May Be Impacted by Trump Overhaul of Work-Visa Programs

United States President Donald Trump and his administration have drafted an executive order that intends to overhaul the work-visa programs that various technology companies — including Apple — rely on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.

According to a draft of the order acquired by Bloomberg, affected visa programs include L-1, E-2, and B1. Directly affecting tech companies is H-1B, which lets companies like Apple hire appropriately skilled workers for specific jobs when there is a dearth of local talent available.

Image Credit: @MacRumors


Falling in line with Trump’s “America first” intentions, which previously ignited reports of Apple turning to U.S.-based iPhone manufacturing, the order explains that the country’s policy on immigration should not give priority to foreign workers. Its intent aims to prioritize and protect American workers, as well as their current and future jobs.

“Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest,” the draft proposal reads, according to a copy reviewed by Bloomberg. “Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.”

Although some companies use the visa programs to find high-skilled talent overseas, Bloomberg notes that allegations in recent years have claimed that the system can be abused to simply hire workers at a cheaper rate “to fill jobs that otherwise may go to Americans.” Outsourced workers in India are said to be the main targets of the H-1B visa, filling in the technology departments of large corporations “with largely imported staff.”

Since the executive order is only in the drafting stages, it’s not yet clear how much force or backing it would receive if made official. According to Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University, companies who potentially use the work-visa programs to hire cheap labor will be affected most, likely ending up having to pay more to their employees if the order is signed. Companies using the programs to legally hire skilled workers may be able to find alternative visas elsewhere, but the intent to make the process more difficult is clear.

“If firms are using the program for cheap labor, I think it will affect them and they will have to pay workers more,” said Ron Hira, an associate professor at Howard University. “If tech firms are using the program for specialized labor, they may find there are more visas available.”

The current legislation caps workers who can enter the U.S. each year at 85,000, including educated workers with college degrees. According to the most recent data available, workers with H-1B visas at companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are paid more than $100,000 per year, while outsourcing firms reportedly intent on hiring for quantity over quality are said to pay workers less than $70,000 annually.

Trump’s order aims to bring transparency to these issues, with the intent to publish reports “with basic statistics on who uses the immigration programs within one month of the end of the government’s fiscal year.”

Today’s news comes a few days after Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday, which left refugees and immigrants stranded at airports around the country over the weekend. In a letter to employees, Cook said that Trump’s order is “not a policy we support,” and that the company has “reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.”

By Mitchel Broussard – MacRumors

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Apple Removes Tool to Check if an iPhone or iPad is Activation Locked

Apple has removed its Activation Lock status checker on iCloud.com at some point in the past few days. The tool enabled users to enter the serial number or IMEI of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and find out if the device is secured with Activation Lock, helping buyers avoid purchasing a device locked to another user.


A user purchasing a used iPhone on eBay or another website, for example, was able to request the device’s serial number and use Apple’s tool to verify that Activation Lock had been turned off. If the device was still locked, or if the seller refused to provide the serial number, then it was likely lost or stolen.

The iCloud page where the tool was available now returns a “Not Found” page aka 404 error. Apple also removed the following reference to the tool from a related Find My iPhone support document earlier this week:

How do I check for Activation Lock before purchasing a used device? When you buy an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch from someone other than Apple or an authorized Apple reseller, it is up to you to ensure that the device is erased and no longer linked to the previous owner’s account. You can check the current Activation Lock status of a device when you visit icloud.com/activationlock from any Mac or PC.

Apple has not explained why it removed the page. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Activation Lock, enabled automatically when you turn on Find My iPhone, is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch if it is ever lost or stolen. A device with Activation Lock enabled requires the owner’s Apple ID and password before it can be used, even if it is erased or reactivated.

Last year, a number of users who purchased a brand new iPhone experienced an Activation Lock issue where their device was locked to someone else’s Apple ID. Apple disabled Activation Lock for affected users upon being provided proof of purchase, but it is unclear if the strange issue factored into the page’s removal.

Activation Lock was introduced alongside iOS 7. The tool to check the Activation Lock status of a device had been available since October 2014.
By JOE ROSSIGNOL – MacRumors

Do This One Thing On Your iPhone To Save Your Life

Aren’t iPhones incredible? Not only can you look at the Internet all day long, your iPhone is capable of so much more. For example, ‘Word Lens’ means you can point it over a foreign word and get it translated in real time… plus your iPhone could save your life one day.
Doctors are urging iPhone users to do this one small thing immediately for one simple reason – it could be a lifesaver.

What is it?

It’s basically the Emergency app – in the bottom left hand corner you can dial 999 but it lets you store all your Medical ID – like your blood type, any allergies you may have – and also a next of kin.

Doctors can access all this info even if your phone is locked.

Most people who end up in hospital with a locked phone and no info in their Medical ID – and having that info to hand could save precious minutes in an emergency.

It only takes two minutes – so update this info on your phone ASAP!

But before you go praising your iPhone and cuddling it into your chest, remember cell phones aren’t just lifesavers. They can have some negative effects too.

They make us more stressed – which is ironic as they’re supposed to make things easier and make us feel more connected than ever.

But they make us feel like we can never “switch off” and unwind – so try and have a digital detox once in a while and you’ll realise how much you were missing out on.

Mobile phones can also cause chronic neck and back pain.

Uh oh! It’s all that hunching over the phone, scrolling for hours on end, going from Instagram to Snapchat to checking your emails then back to Facebook. Remember to stretch once in a while.

People are also reporting increased migraines, headaches and blurry vision.

Like with your laptop of computer, you should try and look up every ten or fifteen minutes from the screen. This lets your eyes adjust. Being on your phone right before bed can also lead to sleeping problems – if you can try and put it down an hour before bed, that would be idea. If that’s just never going to happen, you can put it on “Night Mode” – it’s in Settings. You can even time it to go into Night Mode at night. It changes the colour of the screen and it will help your eyes and your sleep.

Apparently there is more bacteria on iPhones than toilets.

Gross! Considering we put it to our ear every day, give it a wipe with antibacterial spray every so often.

And mobile phones also cause car accidents.

Goes without saying that you shouldn’t use it when you’re driving.

Words Laura Hamilton

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Apple Releases iOS 10.2.1 With Bug Fixes, Performance Improvements

Apple today released iOS 10.2.1 to the public following several weeks of testing. iOS 10.2.1 also comes more than a month after the release of iOS 10.2, the second major update to the iOS 10 operating system.

iOS 10.2.1 is a free over-the-air update available to all iOS 10 users. It can also be downloaded and installed on iOS devices using iTunes on a Mac or PC. The update is still rolling out and may not be immediately available on all devices.


No outward-facing changes or new features were discovered during the beta testing process, suggesting the update focuses on bug fixes and performance improvements.

The iOS 10.2.1 update will soon be followed by a new iOS 10.3 beta, if rumors are correct. The first iOS 10.3 beta, with a new “Theatre Mode” was rumored to be coming out on January 10, but has not yet appeared.

By Juli Clover – MacRumors

Apple Investigating Issue With AirPods Randomly Disconnecting During Calls

Apple is investigating multiple reports from iPhone owners of AirPods randomly disconnecting and reconnecting during calls, MacRumors has learned.

A long thread on Apple’s Support Communities website has been generated by AirPods users who are regularly experiencing Bluetooth connection dropouts during phone calls, despite the fact that the wireless earphones almost never lose their connection when used to listen to music or anything else.

At present, the issue appears to be limited to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus devices, with several users reporting no such problems after upgrading to an iPhone 7. MacRumors was also unable to replicate the problem on Apple’s latest handset.

Initial reports suggested the dropout issue only occurs if users also have an Apple Watch paired to their iPhone, but MacRumors was able to replicate the problem with a Fitbit Blaze, suggesting a more general conflict when other Bluetooth devices are also connected.

Unpairing and then repairing the AirPods does not appear to solve the problem, neither does rebooting nor resetting the iPhone. Until Apple offers a solution, users are advised to use only one AirPod for conducting calls, as the dropouts only seem to occur when both earpieces are in use.

By Tim Hardwick -MacRumors

Apple and Foxconn weighing $7 billion display plant in U.S., report says

Apple’s main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is considering the possibility of a $7 billion joint investment in an automated display production facility in the U.S., the latter company’s chairman said on Sunday.


“Apple is willing to invest in the facility together because they need the [panels] as well,” Terry Gou told the press following a year-end party in Taiwan, according to Nikkei. The proposed facility, first rumored earlier this month, would allegedly create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs.

Although U.S. electronics manufacturing is typically more expensive — due to currency values, and higher labor and operational costs — Gou claimed that growing demand for bigger display panels makes U.S. production a better option than importing parts from China.

Foxconn is also said to be planning a new molding plant in the U.S., with Pennsylvania being a possible target in the wake of investment talks with the state. In fact, a representative from Pennsylvania’s trade office is said to have attended Sunday’s party.
The decision to increase U.S. manufacturing is potentially a response to President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise of growing domestic jobs, and has threatened to renegotiate NAFTA as well as make it expensive to import Chinese goods. Gou noted that a Canadian interactive display company, Smart Technologies, could be relocated to the U.S. because of Trump’s NAFTA plans.

He urged the U.S. government to offer concessions on land and electricity to encourage manufacturing, warning that products could otherwise become unaffordably expensive.

“In the future they [shoppers] may be paying some $500 more for products, but those do not necessarily work better than a $300 phone,” he said.

Trump has claimed that Apple CEO Tim Cook could bring iPhone manufacturing to the U.S., perhaps lured by the promised of a “very large tax cut” for relocating jobs. In November Nikkei said that Apple had asked Foxconn to consider the possibility.
Gou commented however that Foxconn will continue expanding in China. One such effort is believed to be an Apple prototype facility located in Shenzhen.

By Roger Fingas – AppleInsider

Prank crashes iPhones with rainbow emoji messages

Jokers are exploiting a bug in iOS and are sending messages stuffed with 🌈 emojis which cause recipients’ iPhones or iPads to freeze

Boobytrapped emoji messages filled with white flags and rainbows are causing Apple iPhones and iPads to crash. Photograph: Alvy / Microsiervos/Flickr


A bug in iOS is being exploited in a prank aimed at crashing iPhones and iPads using the power of simple text, flag and rainbow emojis.

The bug has two variants. One text string includes a waving white flag emoji, a zero, a rainbow and a hidden character called a variation selector, which can be copied into an iMessage conversation and sent to anyone. The other is the same string of characters, but embedded within a contacts file, which can be shared via iCloud Drive to an iMessage contact.

Both will crash and iPhone or iPad to varying degrees, although the text string sent via a standard iMessage only appears to affect iPhones and iPads with iOS 10.1 or below. The boobytrapped contact card affects all versions of iOS 10, including the latest iOS 10.2, the Guardian can confirm.

The bug was originally reported by YouTuber EverythingApplePro, which has a history of reporting on iPhone crash pranks.

Watch here to see how it’s done
French iOS developer Vincent Desmurs, who claims to have discovered the bug, suggested that the issue is caused by Apple’s handling of the variation selector and the emojis beside it. He said: “What variation selector 16 (VS16) does in this case essentially is tell the device to combine the two surrounding characters into one emoji, yielding the rainbow flag.

“The text you’re copying is actually a waving white flag, VS16, zero, rainbow emoji. What I’m assuming is happening is that the phone tries to combine the waving white flag and the zero into an emoji, but this obviously can’t be done.”

Users sent either the emojis via iMessage or the contact card see their iPhone or iPad crash after a short period of time, either resulting in a full lock up requiring a reboot, or a partial lockup that triggers a quick reboot. The irony of the prank this time is that by using the contact card it is quite difficult to avoid crashing the sender’s smartphone or even Mac computer, if sent through the desktop Messages app.

Users will need to delete their iMessage conversation with whichever prankster sent them the booby-trapped emoji to avoid repeated crashes on opening the messages. Some users have reported having their iPhones repeatedly lock up without being able to delete the conversation. Some have reported being sent a new message, or creating one with Siri before opening Messages to clear the block.

Apple’s iOS has a history of abnormal strings of text or videos causing crashes, which are then used to prank iPhone and iPad users, crashing their devices and in some cases preventing them from re-opening certain apps without clearing the prank messages.

Apple declined to comment.

By Samuel Gibbs – The Guardian