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Folder

Apple ships iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support – and more

Apple has updated iPhones, iPads, Macs and the Apple Watch/Apple TV, offering up  some of the features we’ve been talking about for weeks, including iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support and more

The productivity update

You could argue that the update is a boost to productivity, particularly as it includes support for features that should be quite useful to remote workers – namely iCloud Folder Sharing and trackpad support for iPads.

It’s an important update that introduces a string of essential improvements:

  • iCloud folder sharing.
  • Mouse and trackpad support for iPads.
  • Universal app purchases.
  • Toolbar improvements in Mail.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Photos.
  • New CarPlay controls.

You also get support for the recently introduced Beats Powerbeats 4 earphones and a selection of nine new Memoji stickers.

Mac users gain Screen Time Communication Limits (useful for remote workers  attempting to keep life under control) and real-time Apple Music lyrics. And recently played Apple Arcade games now appear in the Arcade tab, making it much easier to play them across all your Apple devices.

What is iCloud folder sharing?

Without a doubt the marquee feature in this release, iCloud Folder Sharing means you can share entire folders of documents, images and other digital stuff with others. Simple to use, the feature was originally announced at WWDC 2019. (Apple may have had problems ensuring consistent behavior in the feature, which turns iCloud Drive into a Dropbox replacement for the rest of us.)

What is mouse and trackpad support for iPads?

I wrote a whole article about this feature; essentially trackpad support means your iPad becomes an even more effective (and far more use flexible) MacBook replacement. It gives you a new cursor design that highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps.

What are Universal app purchases?

Remember the old days when you had to purchase an app for iOS and an app for Mac using two separate App Stores? You still do, but now you (may) only need to pay once for the privilege, as Universal App Purchases let developers make both apps available for one price exchange.

What is the new Mail toolbar?

The new Mail toolbar is a big improvement to a little problem. People complained that the delete and reply to controls were too close together in iOS 13, which led them to accidentally delete mails they wanted to keep.

The update puts a little space between the two and adds new Folder and Compose buttons. Enterprise users will want to know that responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME for this.

What are the new CarPlay controls?

You now get support for third-party navigation apps and call controls on the dashboard when on a call via the Phone app or any (compatible) VoIP app that supports CarPlay.

Is there anything else?

You mean beyond the customary list of patched problems? Of course. You’ll find a new Shazam It Shortcut you can use to identify a song that’s playing, some new keyboard shortcuts if you happen to be using Photos and audio playback for USDZ files.

What about Apple Watch?

Apple also updated Apple Watch to watchOS 6.2. This offers support for in-app purchases on the device and brings ECG support to Chile, New Zealand and Turkey. The company also introduced tvOS 13.4, which improves Family Sharing.

You can read Apple’s notes on the iOS/iPadOS update here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple ships iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support, more

Apple has updated iPhones, iPads, Macs and the Apple Watch/Apple TV, introducing some of the features we’ve been talking about for weeks, including iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support, and more

The productivity update

You could argue that the update is a boost to productivity, particularly as it includes support for features that should be quite useful to remote workers, namely iCloud Folder Sharing and trackpad support for iPads.

It’s an important update that introduces a string of essential improvements:

  • iCloud folder sharing.
  • Mouse and trackpad support for iPads.
  • Universal app purchases.
  • Toolbar improvements in Mail.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Photos.
  • New CarPlay controls.

You also get support for the recently introduced Beats Powerbeats 4 earphones and a selection of nine new Memoji stickers.

Mac users gain Screen Time Communication Limits (so useful for the remote worker attempting to keep life under control) and real-time Apple Music lyrics.

Recently played Apple Arcade games now appear in the Arcade tab, making it much easier to play them across all your Apple devices.

What is iCloud folder sharing?

Without doubt the marquee feature in this release, iCloud Folder Sharing means you can share entire folders of documents, images and other digital stuff with others. Simple to use, Apple may have had problems ensuring consistent behavior in the feature, which turns iCloud Drive into a Dropbox replacement for the rest of us.

The feature was originally announced at WWDC 2019.

What is mouse and trackpad support for iPads?

I wrote a whole article about this, but essentially trackpad support means your iPad becomes an even more effective (and far more use flexible) MacBook replacement. It gives you a new cursor design that highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps. Take a look.

What are Universal app purchases?

Remember the old days when you had to purchase an app for iOS and an application for Mac on two separate App Stores? You still do, but now you (may) only need to pay once for the privilege, as Universal App Purchases let developers make both apps available for one price exchange.

What is the new Mail toolbar?

The new Mail toolbar is a big improvement to a little problem. People complained that the delete and reply to controls were too close together in iOS 13, which led them to accidentally delete mails they wanted to keep.

The update puts a little space between the two and adds new Folder and Compose buttons. Enterprise users will want to know of that responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME for this.

What are the new CarPlay controls?

You now get support for third-party navigation apps and call controls on the dashboard when on a call via the Phone app or any (compatible) VoIP app that supports CarPlay.

Is there anything else?

You mean beyond the customary list of patched problems? Of course. You’ll find a new Shazam It Shortcut you can use to identify a song that’s playing, some new keyboard shortcuts if you happen to be using Photos and audio playback for USDZ files.

What about Apple Watch?

Apple has also updated Apple Watch to watchOS 6.2.  This offers support for in-app purchases on the device and bring ECG support to Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey. The company also introduced tvOS 13.4, which improves Family Sharing.

You can read Apple’s notes on the iOS/iPadOS update here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Is Apple’s iCloud folder sharing a shadow IT problem?

After a long delay, Apple is preparing to introduce iCloud Folder Sharing across both its Mac and iOS platforms. This is a big blessing for collaboration, but is it safe?

What is iCloud Folder Sharing?

iCloud Folder Sharing was first announced at WWDC 2019, but delayed until – well, at present it is still delayed and was only recently made available inside the latest iOS and macOS developer betas. Which means it should be on the way.

Probably.

How it works?

It works in a similar way to iCloud file sharing, except you can define shared folders as well as shared files.

In use, you can choose to make it possible to share a folder with anyone who has a specific link or choose to limit access solely to named parties. You also get to choose if people you share items with can edit them, or just take a look.

It is reasonable to assume these items/folders will also be available to those using iCloud for Windows. Mobile device support on other platforms was also recently improved.

A little bit.

In theory, iCloud Folder Sharing means Apple now offers a relatively cross-platform tool with which teams can share and collaborate on projects – though it isn’t as smooth, feature-rich or as cross platform compatible as Dropbox or Box.

Your company already uses iCloud

The thing is, with tens of millions of iPhone and Mac users in place across the enterprise market, it seems pretty clear that most of your employees are likely already using iCloud.

The new feature just makes it more likely they’ll use it more, including to collaborate on projects. After all, one of the huge benefits of the service is that it’s as easy to use as anything else Apple does – and ease-of-use is one of the big drivers for Shadow IT.

 And that is where iCloud may become a bigger problem for enterprise security chiefs trying to handle the challenge of unauthorized use of apps by their mobile employees.

iCloud and encryption

It is of course true to say that iCloud is a relatively secure system.

Not only are Macs and iOS devices way more secure than any other platform (though no platform is perfect), but iCloud’s two-factor authentication (2FA), deep platform integration, and the nature of the encryption that protects information as it is transmitted to and from the service all provide good protection.

The problem with iCloud is (and always is) the user:

While it is possible to protect your iCloud with complex alpha-numeric passcodes, most people just don’t. Indeed, I can recall reading a recent report that claims around a third of iCloud users still haven’t enabled 2FA on their systems.

That’s up to them, I guess, but when a highly secure iCloud user with complex passcodes and 2FA enabled chooses to share highly confidential enterprise-related documents inside a folder with another user, how are they to know how well secured that other user’s iCloud access actually is?

They don’t.

And this is a problem enterprise security teams will need to address pretty quickly now we know iCloud Folder Sharing is coming.

Update enterprise security policy today

I’m certain some enterprises may ban use of iCloud, just as many already attempt ban use of any consumer-grade cloud-based document services, but I don’t think bans work – they just create a blame culture in which employees become reluctant to seek help when things go wrong.

It seems much more sensible to assume these things will be used, and take steps to manage such use, than to issue terse memos banning use of services you as the head of department are probably also making use of yourself.

What does work is policy.

In this case, it seems sensible for enterprise security chiefs to advise employees who choose to use iCloud for work to protect their account with complex alphanumeric passcodes.

That’s not the only protection that needs to be put in place.

Employees must be encouraged to use 2FA and to keep their devices up-to-date (unless controlled by you with an MDM solution.

This is why. Apple’s iCloud security pages tell us:

“iCloud secures your information by encrypting it when it’s in transit, storing it in iCloud in an encrypted format, and using secure tokens for authentication. For certain sensitive information, Apple uses end-to-end encryption. This means that only you can access your information, and only on devices where you’re signed into iCloud. No one else, not even Apple, can access end-to-end encrypted information.”

Thing is, and this is important, in order for end-to-end encryption to work it is necessary that two-factor authentication is turned on for the Apple ID.

The difference between how Apple protects your information in iCloud and on your device is encryption. iCloud Drive data is protected by “a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption,” according to Apple.

That’s quite strong I suppose, but may not be as secure as what you define in your security policy – and it is important to note that data stored in the drive is not protected by end-to-end encryption while there, though it is encrypted in transit.

If you want data to be kept securely in your or your employee’s drives, it makes sense to encrypt that information before uploading it.

While this adds friction to the sharing/collaboration process it also means your enterprise’s confidential data (or your personal info) has better protection.

(I’ll be looking at good encryption solutions for this task in the next few weeks, so do follow me on social media to learn what I find out.)

You can also deploy MDM solutions to control iCloud and data access across your network. Though the best protection will always be to offer approved secure collaboration spaces that are as easy-to-use as iCloud or any other consumer service.

Final thoughts

Even with all the protection in place – policy, approved collaboration tools, even edge device security, the inconvenient truth is that data will slip, employees with poorly-protected consumer services such as iCloud will use those services, and security problems will emerge.

That’s why it’s so important to ensure everyone at your organization feels sufficiently safeguarded that in the event something does go wrong they’ll not waste time before letting IT security know a problem exists. Because not knowing a problem exists is usually a bigger problem than the problem itself.

Summing up: Employees will use iCloud Drive, they already do and now they’ll use it to collaborate on some tasks. They should be encouraged to:

  • Use 2FA.
  • Use complex alphanumeric passcodes.
  • Keep software up to date.
  • Confirm people they share data with are equally security conscious.
  • Should encrypt data before uploading to the service.
  • Should have some way to ask for help if things go wrong.

I’ll be interested to hear any other good advice on this matter.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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How to Set the Default Finder Folder on Your Mac

Finder icon and finder app show on a MacBook Pro
Khamosh Pathak

Finder is your window to the Mac file system. Every time you open Finder, it defaults to the Recents folder. But if you usually save your work in a different folder, you might want to change the button’s default behavior.

First, open the Finder app by clicking on the button in the Dock that looks like a face. From the menu bar, click on the “Finder” option. Next, click on “Preferences.” Alternatively, you can use the “Command+,” (Command key and the comma) keyboard shortcut to quickly open the Preferences window.

Click on Finder from menu bar and then select Preferences

In this window, select the “General” tab and then locate “New Finder Window Show.” Click on the drop-down menu below the option.

Click on the drop-down to select the new default finder window

From here, you can select from a list of pre-defined options. You’ll find the iCloud Drive, Desktop, and Documents folders here.

You can also click on the “Other” option and choose any folder from the file directory (for instance, the Downloads folder).

Choose a common folder as default window or click on Other

Browse through the file directory and select the folder you want as the default. Then click on the “Choose” button.

Click on Choose button to choose the selected folder as new default destination

You’ll be taken back to the Preferences menu with your selection as the new default folder for the Finder app. The next time you open the Finder app, it will open whichever folder you selected.

Now that you’ve improved your Finder opening experience, take a look at some other ways to make Finder suck less.

RELATED: How to Make the macOS Finder Suck Less





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“Access Denied” Folder Errors on Windows 10? 5 Easy Fixes

You might find it strange when Windows tells you that you don’t have permission to access something on your own computer. Usually, this is a result of permissions in the NTFS file system Windows uses by default.

If you see access is denied messages on Windows 10 when trying to access a file or folder, we’ll walk you through the steps to resolve this.

1. Are You an Administrator?

Windows 10 Admin User

In the majority of cases, you’ll need to be an administrator on your PC to make changes to file/folder ownership. You may be able to tweak the permissions in directories that belong to you, but won’t have much control elsewhere.

This is to keep everyone’s files on a computer private. Only administrators can gain access to files that belong to another user. In addition, you’ll need to provide admin permissions to make changes to system files, such as those in the Program Files and Windows folders.

See our guide to getting admin rights in Windows


How to Get Admin Rights on Windows




How to Get Admin Rights on Windows

Do you need to get administrator privileges on your PC? We show you what’s restricting your admin rights and how to recover control over Windows.
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if you haven’t done so yet. We’ll assume you’re an administrator moving forward.

2. Fix Access Denied Errors by Taking Ownership

The most basic fix to try when you see “folder access denied” is to take ownership of the folder through the File Explorer. Here’s how to do this.

First, right-click the folder or file in question and select Properties. On the resulting window, switch to the Security tab. We’re interested in the Advanced button; click this.

Windows Folder Security Window

At the top of the next window, you’ll see a field labeled Owner. This will likely say Unable to display current owner if you’re having an issue. Click the blue Change link next to this to fix it—note that you’ll need to be an administrator to do so.

Windows Folder Advanced Security Settings

You’ll now see a dialog box titled Select User or Group. Inside this, enter the account name of the new folder owner. This can be either an account username, or a group of users on your PC. Groups include standard units like Administrators (if you want all computer admins to own it), or Users (for everyone to own it). In home usage, it usually makes the most sense to assign ownership to one person.

We assume that you want to take ownership of the folder with your own account, so type your username here. If you use a Microsoft account to sign into Windows 10, your username is the first five letters of your email address. Hit Check Names once you’re done to make sure it’s correct. If you are, it will automatically change to PCNAMEUSERNAME. Click OK.

Windows Taking Ownership of Folder

Back on the main Advanced window, you’ll notice a box at the bottom that starts with Replace all child object permission entries. If you want your changes to apply to all folders inside the current one (which you probably do in most cases), check this box. Then hit OK twice, and you’re all done.

Be Careful When Changing File Ownership Settings

When dealing with “access denied” errors, you should apply the above steps with care. Avoid taking ownership of folders in system directories like Windows, Program Files, Program Data, or similar.

Doing so will weaken the security of your system, because normal accounts aren’t meant to be the owners of these directories. They contain important Windows folders that you shouldn’t touch


5 Default Windows Files and Folders You Should Never Touch




5 Default Windows Files and Folders You Should Never Touch

Windows contains countless default files and folders, many of which the average user shouldn’t touch. Here are five folders you should leave alone to avoid damaging your system.
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.

You can still get access to these folders, using the method above, without becoming the owner.

3. Review Folder Permissions

Windows Edit Folder Permissions

If taking ownership of a folder doesn’t work, or you’re an administrator trying to give permissions to someone else, you should next review what users have which permissions on the folder in question.

Pull up the same Security tab in a folder’s properties as before. At the top, you’ll see a list of users and groups on your PC. Select an entry here, and the bottom panel will show what permissions they have for this folder.

As you’d expect, Full control gives you complete power over the folder and everything inside. Read is the most restrictive option, as it only allows you to see what’s in the folder. See Microsoft’s page on file and folder permissions for a more detailed breakdown.

4. Double-Check Your Antivirus Settings

Windows Defender Controlled Folder Access

Sometimes, your antivirus can get overzealous and end up messing with your ability to access files. If you’ve confirmed that everything is square with your file permissions above, you might consider testing this next.

Take a look around your antivirus program’s settings and see if there’s a file shield or similar setting. Try disabling this and then access the file again. If it doesn’t have an effect, temporarily disable your antivirus entirely and see if that helps.

5. Check for File Encryption

Windows Folder Content Encryption

Another reason you might see the “access is denied” message is that a folder’s contents are encrypted. As you may know, encryption protects a file by only allowing someone with the key to view it.

You can encrypt folder contents in Windows, though this feature is only available in Professional versions. To do so, right-click it, and on the resulting window, click the Advanced button on the General tab. Here, check Encrypt contents to secure data. With this in place, everything inside the folder will be locked.

This type of encryption is transparent, meaning that the owner never notices the encryption. As long as they’re logged into the system, they can access these files. But if you don’t have the certificate used to encrypt the folder, Windows will deny you access. Whoever encrypted the file will need to unlock it.

This isn’t the only way to encrypt files in Windows 10, but it could cause the error you’re seeing.

Other Potential “File Access Denied” Fixes

We’ve covered the most important solutions for the “folder access denied” problem. You’ll see a lot of advice floating around the web for this issue, but not all of it is great. Some of it revolves around gaining admin permissions, which we’ve already discussed.

Other advice may not work in every case, but it’s worth bringing up in case nothing else was successful for you.

One common tactic is to disable User Account Control (UAC). To do this, type UAC into the Start Menu and choose Change User Account Control settings. Drag the slider all the way down and hit OK.

UAC Windows 10

Once you’ve done this, try the above steps again to take ownership. After you’re done, make sure to reset the UAC setting to where it was.

As another troubleshooting step, try booting your computer in Safe Mode


How to Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode




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and running through the steps to take ownership. This rules out any interference from third-party programs.

Finally, make sure that nothing else is using the folder or file you want to access. Another process could have the file locked, which is why you can’t make any changes to it.

Fixing “Destination Folder Access Denied”

You might see the more specific “destination folder access denied” issue pop up instead. In most cases, you can fix this using the same troubleshooting methods as above.

Despite the message, don’t look to fix just the destination folder. Check the permissions on the source folder, too.

Access Is Denied? We’ll See About That

We’ve taken a look at how to resolve folder and file “access denied” problems in Windows. Usually, this comes down to a simple permission fix. Make sure you have administrator rights, then you can try taking ownership and adjusting permissions as needed. Just avoid changing ownership of protected system folders, which could compromise your system security.

For more on Windows account management, see our guide to locking down Windows user accounts


How to Lock Down Windows User Accounts




How to Lock Down Windows User Accounts

Letting people use your computer while you’re gone could lead to problems. We show you how to restrict Windows features on standard or child accounts so others can’t access sensitive info.
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