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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
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Snapchat launches new digital literacy program

Snapchat

Snapchat on Thursday unveiled a new digital literacy program aimed at educating its users about issues like data privacy and security.

Why it matters: Snapchat intends to help its young-skewing user base understand the risks associated with navigating an under-regulated web.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker