Your Secret Weapon for Exception, Uptime, and Cron Monitoring

Troubles with HomePod’s audioOS Beta

I’ve been running all of Apple’s betas, with the sole exception being watchOS 8. So far, the experience has been good. There are bugs, apps have crashed, and devices have restarted spontaneously here and there, but I haven’t been significantly slowed down on my iPhone, iPad, or Mac. In fact, I’m doing things like editing AppStories in Logic on Monterey, which isn’t the type of thing I’ve ever been able to do this early in a macOS beta.

However, audioOS, the OS that controls HomePods, has been as rough as Apple’s other OSes have been solid. I’ve been running the HomePod beta since the very beginning, and it’s been nothing but trouble. I haven’t seen overheating, which some users have reported, but I’ve had trouble with AirPlay and getting my HomePods, especially the minis, to stay connected to the Internet. So, when I heard that beta 3 was out and adds lossless streaming, I set out to update my HomePods right away.

My pair of original HomePods took a few tries, but I eventually got them updated using the Home app. The HomePod minis were more stubborn. The one in my office refused to connect to the Internet, so I couldn’t update it. I factory reset it not long ago, and I considered doing that again, but instead, I unplugged and replugged it, hoping that a restart would get it back on WiFi. I couldn’t tell if it had finished restarting, so I gave it a tap, which is when this started to play:

My HomePod was giving me Troubles alright.

My HomePod was giving me Troubles alright.

Yes, U2’s Songs of Innocence, the album that was given away to 500 million people with an iCloud account in 2014 that, as Russ Frushtick discovered and wrote about for New York Magazine, lives in an odd limbo in so many people’s music libraries around the world. Frushtick was frustrated because the album played automatically when he connected his iPhone to CarPlay. Was something similar at play here?

The odds that it was random chance certainly seemed too far-fetched to be a coincidence. With nearly 19,000 songs ripped, purchased, and added to my music library for well over a decade, I felt like I was being trolled by my HomePod mini as Bono belted out The Troubles. Even the title of the song felt like an elaborate troll.

I had to know, so I unplugged the HomePod mini a second time and then plugged it back in again. I waited a couple of minutes, tapped the top, and:

Not even the next song on the album.

Not even the next song on the album.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I also couldn’t help but wonder: Was I finger tapping Bono or Tim when I reached out to tap my HomePod mini?

Is that you in there Tim?

Is that you in there Tim?

Such is #betalife. The happy ending to the story is that after some more fiddling around, I managed to get my HomePod mini working again, playing my complete Music library, which is all I really care about.

All's well that ends well.

All’s well that ends well.

I’ve always thought the uproar over Songs of Innocence was a little overblown, but then again, I’m a U2 fan, even if that album isn’t anywhere near the top of my favorites. At least with The Troubles out of the way, I can see if I can stream some lossless Doja Cat now.

MacUpdater: Keep All Your Software Effortlessly Up-to-Date [Sponsor]

MacUpdater is an effortless way to ensure that all the software on your Mac is always up-to-date with the latest version. With a single click, the app scans your system for installed software and provides you with a comprehensive list of everything that is outdated in one simple, clear interface. It’s the perfect tool to keep your Mac’s software running smoothly and securely.

MacUpdater has an enormous built-in database of version information for over 60,000 apps and can update 6,000 of the most popular of those with a single click. What's more, MacUpdater is actively maintained all the way back to version 1, so no matter which version you're using, you know you can rely on MacUpdater to get the job done.

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MacUpdater is available as a one-time purchase. There's no subscription, other recurring fees, or hidden costs, and for a limited time, readers of MacStories can get a 10% discount when they use the coupon code MACSTORIESQ3 at checkout. So visit MacUpdater's website today to learn more about this terrific utility and to take control of updates on your Mac.

Our thanks to MacUpdater for sponsoring MacStories this week.

MacStories Unwind: Alto Returns, Transloader Review, and a New Way to Organize and Charge Your Gear


Sponsored by: Hook – Find Without Searching

This week, Federico and John talk about the new trailer for Alto’s Odyssey: Lost City, which is coming to Apple Arcade soon, John’s review of a big update to Transloader, the Kensington StudioCaddy, plus videogame and music picks for your weekend.


Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • Beyond iPhone and iPad Gaming
    • Safari tab tips for macOS Monterey
    • Unabridged interviews with Majid Jabrayilov, Ish ShaBazz, Sawyer Blatz, and John Sundell
    • MacStories Unplugged



Team Alto Releases Trailer for Alto’s Odyssey: Lost City, A Special Edition of the Original Game Coming to Apple Arcade

Next Friday, July 16th, Alto’s Odyssey: Lost City is coming to Apple Arcade. Lost City is a special edition of the hit sandboarding game by Team Alto (a collaboration between Land & Sea and Snowman) that debuted on the App Store in early 2018, winning an Apple Design Award and Game of the Year in our inaugural MacStories Selects Awards. If you’re not familiar with Alto’s Odyssey, I recommend reading Federico’s review. It’s one of my favorite of his reviews because it so perfectly captures the charm and vibe that makes Alto’s Odyssey special.

First teased by Team Alto last month, the new trailer below provides a glimpse of what appears to be an ancient city through which Alto will race.

Knowing the team behind Alto’s Odyssey, I expect Lost City will be a great way for existing fans to get more out of the original game and new players to discover the fun that garnered the game such a loyal following three years ago.

Alto’s Odyssey: Lost City is already listed on the App Store, where Arcade subscribers can pre-order it, so they are notified when the game becomes available on July 16th.

Transloader 3: A Simple, Versatile Way to Remotely Manage Mac File Downloads from an iPhone or iPad

Matthias Gansrigler of Eternal Storms Software recently released Transloader 3, an app for remotely controlling Mac file downloads from an iPhone or iPad. Although the app has been around for a long time, version 3 might as well be a completely new app because it’s packed with new features, making it worth revisiting if you haven’t tried it in a while.

Transloader is one of those utilities that reduces the friction of working on multiple devices by solving a common problem that Apple’s OSes could handle better: cross-device downloads. There are a couple of scenarios where I run into this all the time. The first is with email. With no TestFlight for Mac yet, developers often send me links to a ZIP or DMG file of their apps to try. Going through email messages is one of those tasks that I often leave until late in the day when I’m away from my desk, using my iPad or iPhone. The second scenario is when I’m researching apps and find one or a related press kit I want to download to check out later.

In both cases, I could save the app or other files to iCloud Drive’s Downloads folder and revisit the materials the next time I’m at my Mac. However, with Transloader, I’ve got many more options thanks to its built-in automation tools as well as other features that make managing downloaded files easier.

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Kensington Releases Two-Piece StudioCaddy Charging Station and Organizer for Apple Devices

Today, Kensington released the StudioCaddy, a $179.99, two-piece charging station and device organizer for Apple devices. Kensington sent me a review unit, which I’ve been using for about a week, so I thought I’d share my first impressions.

The StudioCaddy has a unique two-piece design. One half features Qi charging stations for an iPhone and AirPods, plus USB-A and USB-C charging ports. The other half is a weighted stand with slots to hold a Mac laptop and iPad vertically. The two parts can be used separately or connected magnetically.

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Hook: Find Without Searching [Sponsor]

Hook is a revolutionary CogSci Apps® invention that links your digital work. Its contextual window enables you to link items between your favorite Mac apps and to instantly open linked items — without searching.

  • Immediacy. Hook’s Copy Link (⌘C) instantly copies a properly labeled hotlink to the foreground app’s selected/open item. No more manually editing links with ⌘K!
  • Universal Copy Link Most apps don’t have a command for copying links️. Hook solves that: its ‘Copy Link’ works not only with entire webpages but with almost any item in any app: files, objects, tasks, calendar entries, emails, etc.
  • Consistency. Unfortunately, different apps use different names, locations, and shortcuts for their Copy Link command (that’s if they support copying links)️. Hook’s ‘Copy Link’ uniformly solves that. Use the same simple habit everywhere.
  • Ubiquity. Paste links to any linkable object into any app, anywhere.
  • Two-way links (“hooks”). Hook can bi-directionally link information from any linkable app, so you can remain in context.
  • Context sensitivity. Our “hooks” are context-sensitive; no need to search.
  • Robust file links. macOS file:// links are brittle️. Contrast: Hook’s file links work even after you move or rename the files they reference.
  • Deep PDF links. Hook can even copy links to specific locations in a PDF.
  • Shareable links. Send links to shared files or links to mutual emails to your recipients. When your recipients click on the link, Hook will reveal the file (even to the specific location in a PDF!) or open the email on their Mac! Hook Lite activates links and is free. Your recipients will save time and love you for it.
  • Copy Markdown Link. Instantly create a Markdown-formatted link to the foreground app’s current item (webpage, file, etc.)
  • Reveal it. Hook’s Reveal File in Finder command works across all compatible apps.
  • Automatic bookmarking. Copying links is the best signal of future relevance! So Hook bookmarks automatically what you link (files, emails, etc.) It can also sync to services like Pinboard.
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Hook is an extensible native macOS app that augments you and your favorite apps! Your data stays on your devices and can be synced.

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Our thanks to Hook for sponsoring MacStories this week.

MacStories Unwind: Developer Debrief, OS Previews, and Shortcuts Talk


Sponsored by: Concepts – Sketch, Note, Draw

This week on MacStories Unwind:


Club MacStories

  • Monthly Log
    • Safari Tab Groups
    • Flexible Work Environments
  • MacStories Weekly
    • Command Browser
    • Five things you may have missed in the iOS and iPadOS 15 betas
    • Unabridged versions of three developer interviews from our developer debrief feature story