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COVID-19 Travel Guidance for Airports Begins Appearing in Apple Maps

With more people being vaccinated all the time, air travel has picked up too. To help iPhone, iPad, and Mac users understand each airport’s health requirements, Apple has begun adding COVID-19 travel guidance to airport place cards in Maps.

The data includes information like requirements for face coverings, health tests or screenings, and quarantine guidelines, along with links to each airport’s travel guidance webpage. The data is sourced from the Airports Council International, which announced the partnership on its website today. Commenting on the feature, Airports Council International’s World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said:

Having this information displayed in Apple Maps will help to make this crucial data much more broadly accessible to passengers. This will help passengers to plan their journeys and be reassured that their health and safety remains a priority for the industry as we all work towards a sustained return to operations and global connectivity. Collaboration remains key to a globally coordinated recovery and we are grateful to our members for the partnership we have forged to deliver this important tool that will contribute to the rebuilding of passenger confidence in air travel.

The new Maps feature is currently rolling out to more than 300 airports worldwide, so if you don’t see it for your local airport yet, check back later.

Maps' new airport travel guidelines are rolling out internationally.

Maps’ new airport travel guidelines are rolling out internationally.

The new travel guidance adds to Maps’ growing database of COVID-related information available to users, such as the recent addition of COVID vaccination sites in the US and details on testing sites. Travel requirements during the pandemic vary from airport-to-airport, so it’s nice to see Apple is giving its users a convenient place to go to understand the guidelines before leaving home.

A First Look at the Apple Developer App’s New Design and Search Functionality

Shortly after announcing WWDC will be held online again this year from June 7 - 11, Apple released a significant update to its Developer app, which serves as a hub for news and watching WWDC sessions.

The sidebar of Developer is now easier to navigate. On the iPhone and iPad, content categories, such as Design, Frameworks, and Graphics and Games, can now be collapsed, greatly reducing the amount of vertical scrolling when browsing news and sessions. The iPhone and iPad versions of the app use a more compact, tile-based layout for the Discover tab, which allows for more items to be featured too. The design works well on the smaller screen of the iPhone, but where it really shines is on the iPad and Mac’s larger screens.

The old Discover tab (left) and the updated version (right).

The old Discover tab (left) and the updated version (right).

The iPad app’s tab bar has also been eliminated, moving what was previously there into the sidebar. Combined with the collapsible sidebar sections, the app is both easier to navigate and has more room for content on the iPad than ever before.

Search results are better organized than before.

Search results are better organized than before.

The update also includes a dedicated Search tab. Instead of a vertical list of results in the sidebar, the results are displayed in the app’s main view organized by videos, articles, and news, showing top results with the ability to ‘See all’ if more results than can fit onscreen are available. I used Developer’s search functionality a lot last year and looking at the results pulled from last year’s WWDC, I can already tell it will be easier to find the videos I want. Also, ‘Favorites’ have been replaced by ‘Bookmarks,’ although the functionality of the two appears to be the same in my limited testing.

The Developer app has always been a useful companion app for WWDC, but with the event being remote last year and again this year, it has taken on greater importance as one of the primary ways developers access sessions and news about Apple’s frameworks. Although I haven’t spent a lot of time with the app yet, it’s clear that a lot of thought went into adapting it to fit in with Apple’s modern iPad and Mac design vision and providing a better experience when sifting through the deep catalog of videos and other content that is available to developers.

Apple Announces That WWDC 2021 Will Be Online-Only Again from June 7 - 11

Apple has decided to make WWDC an online-only event again for 2021, which is no surprise given the on-going global pandemic. Before going online-only last year, WWDC was held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, from 2017 - 2019. The event has been scheduled for June 7-11, 2021. Submissions for the Swift Student Challenge are open now through April 18th.

In a press release issued by the company today, Susan Prescott, Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing said:

We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers. We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.

Although there are benefits to an in-person event that cannot be replicated online, last year’s WWDC was widely considered to be a success. Apple released dozens of excellent videos about its latest APIs and conducted online lab sessions for developers that received high marks from participants. Although Apple hasn’t released details about this year’s format yet, it’s a safe bet that it will be similar to 2020.

I miss in-person WWDC a lot. Last year’s online version was excellent, but it’s impossible to replace the chance to get together with friends who I often only see at WWDC and meet with the developers whose apps we write about all year long. I expect there’s a chance that even after the pandemic recedes, WWDC will remain online-only, but I sure hope not.

Of course, MacStories readers can expect the same kind of comprehensive WWDC coverage we do every year. In 2020, we tried a few new things that worked well, and we’ll continue to experiment again this year, so stay tuned.

Darkroom 5.2 Improves Photo Management with New Flag and Reject Functionality

One of the greatest advantages of the iPhone’s camera hardware is that it’s easy to take photos wherever you are. That’s also a bit of a curse because there’s probably no greater friction in managing a photo library than sifting through a large stack of images looking for the ones you want to keep. The convenience quality of the iPhone’s camera means that I take more photos than ever, many of which aren’t shots I want to keep long-term. With today’s release of Darkroom 5.2, the photo editor that we’ve covered on MacStories before takes a significant step forward in making the process of culling the best images from an extensive photo collection easier.

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Concepts: Sketch, Note, Draw [Sponsor]

Sketch, note, and explore endless ideas with Concepts’ infinite canvas for iPad. Draw in designer COPIC colors with liquid pens and brushes, and organize images, text and sketches into visual moodboards. Used by creative professionals for visual thinking, note taking, team communication, storyboarding, product design and architectural planning, Concepts lets you sketch and share your ideas in the moment.

Everything you draw in Concepts is a flexible, editable vector. Nudge, edit and reorganize your ideas with natural finger gestures. Drag+drop images and objects onto the canvas for fast ideation and reference, use layers and grid layouts to organize your work, mark up PDF documents, and apply real-world scale for professional design projects. Export and share standard, high-res and vector file types for flexible work between teams and apps.

Concepts’ built-in Presentation Mode lets you connect with others for live sharing and graphic discussion. Whiteboard virtually with teams and clients using apps like Zoom, then instantly share your discussion.

The app comes free as a basic sketching tool, with the ability to unlock 200+ libraries of brushes, objects and services via subscription or one-time purchase. To learn more about Concepts visit their website today.

MacStories readers – Enjoy a special 1 month extended free trial when you sign up for an annual subscription. Get a month of infinite creativity before you are billed.

Our thanks to Concepts for sponsoring MacStories this week.

MacStories Unwind: Mac OS X Turns 20, Shortcuts Links Temporarily Break, and a Big Reflector Update


Sponsored by: Ulysses – The Ultimate Writing App for Mac, iPad and iPhone

This week on MacStories Unwind:


Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • Federico experiments with Firefox on iOS
    • John builds PDF-based read later workflow with three-shortcuts
    • MacStories Recommends: Calendar 366 



Recently-Created Shortcuts Links Are Currently Broken

iCloud links to shortcuts broke sometime in the past 24 hours. Instead of opening the Shortcuts app and allowing users to install a shared shortcut, tapping a shortcut link displays an alert with the message ‘Shortcut Not Found,’ explaining that the link may be invalid or the shortcut may have been deleted. Based on our internal testing, the issue appears to affect all shortcut links created before yesterday.

The problem with shortcut links first surfaced in the Shortcuts subreddit late yesterday and early today on Twitter. Yesterday also saw the release of OS betas by Apple, but there is currently no evidence that the two events are linked. It’s also unknown whether the change was intentional or not. However, given that URLs can still be created and shared for new shortcuts, it seems more likely that the issue is related to a bug. We have contacted Apple seeking clarification about the situation but haven’t received a statement from the company.

The issue affects everyone who has shared shortcuts, from individual users to publications like MacStories that have shared shortcuts online. As a result, none of the shortcuts shared in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive currently work. That’s also true for other sites like RoutineHub and the shortcuts subreddit and writers and YouTubers like Chris Lawley and Matthew Cassinelli who have shared many of their own shortcuts.

Unfortunately, as this story is published, we don’t yet know if or when shortcuts links will begin working again. We will update this post as new information surfaces.

Update: Late yesterday, we received the following statement from Apple about the problem with previously-shared shortcuts links:

We are aware of an issue where previously shared shortcuts are currently unavailable. Newly shared shortcuts are available, and we are working to restore previously shared shortcuts as quickly as possible.

This is great news for shortcuts users. We don’t know yet when previously-shared shortcuts will be available, but we’ll let you know as soon as they are, so keep an eye on MacStories for further updates.

20 Years Ago, Mac OS X Set the Stage for Today’s Apple

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two decades since Mac OS X was released. I wasn’t a Mac user in 2001, but as a tech fan, I followed the release of OS X and the later switch to Intel closely, which was what finally convinced me to buy my first iMac.

Today, with Mac OS X gone and Intel chipsets not far behind, I thought it would be fun to look back at OS X and the transition to it compared to the recent switch to macOS 11 Big Sur. I started by watching Steve Jobs’ introduction of Mac OS X at Macworld Expo in 2000, which was a perilous time for the Mac. The company was just two and a half years into Jobs’ return as iCEO and had recently filled out its simplified product grid, adding the iBook to the iMac, Power Mac G4, and PowerBook lineup.

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