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MacStories Unwind: Apple Frames 2.0, an Upcoming Apple Event, and a Safari Extension for iPad

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Sponsored by: Discourse – A Powerful, Customizable Platform for Civilized Discussion

This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • Federico on Remind Me Faster
    • A Reminders tip for applying tags to tasks with Siri
    • John on the future of read-it-later apps
    • Apps, links, and more

AppStories

Unwind


AppStories, Episode 244 – iOS and iPadOS 15 Top Tips

This week on AppStories, we share a long list of iOS and iPadOS 15 tips, highlighting lesser-known features that we are using to get the most out of the latest versions of the OSes.


On AppStories+, John tries to convince Federico to try a robot vacuum cleaner and Federico explains the technique he’s using to bring localization to his popular Apple Frames shortcut.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.

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Apple Announces October 18, 2021 Media Event

As tweeted by Greg Joswiak, Apple has announced an online media event for October 18, 2021, at 10:00 am Pacific.

Based on the latest speculation and rumors, Apple is likely to introduce new Apple silicon-based Macs. Apple has already replaced part of its Mac product line with models based on its own chip architecture, but it’s expected that the company is preparing to introduce new MacBook Pros and perhaps other models at the high end of its product line. Another product we could see introduced at the event is the long-rumored AirPods 3. With the winter holidays approaching, now seems like the perfect time to rekindle interest in AirPods.

Apple may also take the opportunity to announce a release date for macOS 12.0 Monterey. If last month’s Apple event and the timing of iOS and iPadOS are any indication, the final version of Monterey should be released to the public within days after the event.


Apple Frames 2.0: Faster, Lighter, and Featuring Support for iPhone 13, iPad mini, iPad 10.2”, iMac 24”, MacBook Air, and Multiple Languages

Apple Frames 2.0.

Apple Frames 2.0.

Today, I’m pleased to introduce Apple Frames 2.0, an all-new version of my popular shortcut to put screenshots inside physical device frames of Apple products. The new Apple Frames, which you can download at the end of this post or on the MacStories Shortcuts Archive, has been completely rewritten so it’s faster and lighter, comes with support for the latest iPhone 13 lineup and iPad mini, brings support for framing iMac and MacBook Air screenshots, and, at long last, is available internationally in seven different languages.

This is a massive update to Apple Frames, so let’s dive in.

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Our thanks to Discourse for sponsoring MacStories this week.


ActiveTab Safari Extension Launched on iPad

Last week, I wrote about ActiveTab, a Safari extension that draws a colorful line beneath the active tab in Safari for Mac, which makes it far easier to identify the tab you’re viewing. However, the Mac isn’t the only platform where Safari’s tabs are problematic. As Federico explained in his iOS and iPadOS 15 review, it’s every bit as difficult to decypher which tab is active on the iPad.

Fortunately, ActiveTab is now available on the iPad too. The extension has the exact same features as the Mac version, making the active tab stand out by drawing a line across the top of the content view underneath the tab. If you haven’t installed a Safari extension on the iPhone or iPad yet, be sure to check out my story on iOS and iPadOS 15 Safari extensions for details on how to set them up.

ActiveTab has added new Blend Modes and custom colors to the app too.

ActiveTab has added new Blend Modes and custom colors to the app too.

Since I first wrote about ActiveTab, the app has been updated to allow you to add a custom color using RGBA values, in addition to the set of pre-defined options. The extension has added a Blend Mode option on both platforms too, which can help set the extension’s colored bar apart from its background in some circumstances.

If you haven’t checked out ActiveTab yet, it’s available on the App Store for $1.99.


MacStories Unwind: Halide’s Macro Mode, the AirPods Find My Update, and a Safari 15 Extension to Identify the Active Tab

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Sponsored by: Firstseed Calendar – Best Calendar, Best Widgets

This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • Federico rethinks personal task management with Due and a new shortcut
    • John reviews the Roomba j7
    • Peter Zarko-Flynn’s desk setup
  • MacStories Unplugged
    • Federico and John discuss how they advise friends and family about hardware updates, speculate about when the next Apple event will be and what the company might announce, and consider the impact Shortcuts bugs could have on automation across all of Apple’s platforms.

AppStories

Unwind


AppStories, Episode 243 – Safari Extensions for iPhone and iPad

This week on AppStories, we look at the best of the first Safari extensions released for the iPhone and iPad.


On AppStories+, we cover iPhone 13 Pro macro photography, Yoink’s ingenious clipboard feature, and Federico’s dedicated Metroid emulator device.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.

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Google Appears to Have Stopped Serving AMP Search Results to Safari Users on iOS and iPadOS 15

Update: Although Google has not commented on the lack of AMP links in its search results, Danny Sullivan has tweeted that their disappearance from iOS and iPadOS 15 is a bug that Google is working to fix.


Earlier today, developer Jeff Johnson published a story, noting that AMP links have seemingly vanished from Safari on iOS and iPadOS 15. AMP is Google’s cached URL system that’s designed to speed up the mobile web but often ruins website functionality and junks up URLs. I’ve never been a fan of AMP and neither has Federico.

Google search results for an article that returns AMP results on iOS 14 but not iOS 15.

Google search results for an article that returns AMP results on iOS 14 but not iOS 15.

iOS and iPadOS 15 introduced extensions to Safari, and one of the most popular categories has been extensions that redirect AMP links to the canonical version of the URL. I covered two of our favorites, Amplosion by Christian Selig and Overamped, both of which continue to be among the top paid Safari extensions on the App Store.

Safari extensions that redirect AMP URLs have proven popular on the App Store.

Safari extensions that redirect AMP URLs have proven popular on the App Store.

Jeff Johnson, the maker of Stop the Madness, another Safari extension that redirects AMP links, noticed, while updating his extension, that AMP links had disappeared from Google search results.

Johnson ran some tests:

With this User-Agent [iOS 15’s], there are no AMP links in Google search results, but if I simply change Version/15.0 to Version/14.0 and keep the rest the same, Google search results suddenly have AMP links again! This is reproducible on my iPhone, in the Xcode iPhone simulator, and also in desktop Safari Mac with its User-Agent spoofed as iPhone.

Google search results still return AMP URLs on iOS 14.

Google search results still return AMP URLs on iOS 14.

I’ve done some digging myself, as has Federico, and we have been able to reproduce the same results. I searched Google for an article published today on The Verge. Sure enough, on iOS 14, I get AMP results, but not on iOS 15, where the links point to theverge.com. I ran the same test using Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft’s Edge browser on iOS 15, and all returned Google search results with AMP links. Safari for iOS and iPadOS 15 stands alone among these four browsers and is the only one that doesn’t return AMP links in Google search results.

I wondered what might be going on, so I contacted Google PR to see if they could explain it. I haven’t heard back yet but will update this story if I do.

Meanwhile, Johnson has a theory that seems plausible to me:

So, is it possible that Google has given up on AMP in Safari on iOS 15 because of the popularity of AMP blocking extensions? Who can say, but it’s certainly an interesting coincidence. I can say that it’s a very recent change. I know from my own testing that Google search results still included AMP links for the first week after iOS 15 was released on September 20.

The timing certainly lines up. I know there were AMP links to redirect when I was testing Amplosion and Overamped on the iOS 15 betas and shortly after its launch, but sometime in the past two weeks or so, they have completely vanished from Google search results in Safari for iOS and iPadOS 15. I hope the change sticks.