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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Mac owners ran into a variety of challenges Thursday as Apple rolled out Big Sur, the latest version of OS X. Many Mac users who weren't installing the operating system update also found their systems slowing down.

The state of play: Apple confirmed to Axios Sunday that the slowdown resulted from a cascade of problems stemming from checks against Apple servers that an app's developer certificate is still valid. Troubles included a server configuration issue and a problem with Apple's content delivery network.

Why it matters: Privacy-conscious customers are often wary when systems "phone home," and Apple has extensively marketed its commitment to privacy as a fundamental right.

The big picture: Apple posted additional information on its web site on Sunday to clarify the process it uses to verify that an app has not had its credentials revoked.

  • Some critics worried about the possibility Apple might be tracking which apps they were opening, but Apple noted that it never included a user's Apple ID or other identity information when making the query to Apple's servers.
  • The company said that, "to further protect privacy," it has also stopped logging the IP addresses of computers making developer ID certificate checks and will remove any IP addresses it has collected from its logs.

What they’re saying: Experts said, contrary to some initial speculation, Apple didn’t appear to be doing anything untoward in the application-checking process. Some said the company’s approach to verifying application authenticity is praiseworthy (when it’s working properly).

What's next: Apple said it plans to introduce an encrypted protocol for such checks as well as a new preference allowing people to opt out of the security protection entirely.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 20, 2020 - Technology

Cloud gaming services use iPhone's web browser door

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

One of the biggest trends in gaming is the ability to play console games wherever you are, on whatever type of device, thanks to the magic of cloud streaming. The tricky part has been finding a way to bring such gaming to iOS — since Apple wants to review and approve each game as a separate app.

Yes, but: Google, Nvidia and Microsoft have decided to work around, rather than with, Apple's rules. In recent weeks, all three have announced plans to bring their game services to iOS via the web browser — the one big opening in the wall around Apple's garden.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Google Pay adds peer-to-peer payments and more

Image: Google

Google announced a significant expansion of its Google Pay service on Wednesday, adding peer-to-peer payments to its contactless payment system as well as a partnership with banks to incorporate banking and checking services next year.

Why it matters: Contactless payments can be a gateway to other financial services, as Apple has shown by expanding from Apple Pay to Apple Card.

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.