Apple has merged two of its location services into one. Find My iPhone
and Find My Friends are now bundled into a new single service called Find My, and Apple has expanded the feature even further with improved tracking tools.
The renaming makes plenty of sense, as Find My iPhone has gone beyond its name, being able to locate other Apple devices apart from just iPhones.
By fusing the Find My iPhone and Find My Friends tools
together, finding someone or something will be much more convenient for iOS
users. But especially for macOS
users, this is a major step forward, as Find My iPhone features there have spent almost a decade tucked away within iCloud's web interface.
This time, Find My will be native on the next major macOS release, which is macOS Catalina. Apple notes that this feature will be able to track lost or stolen Macs even when the machine is on sleep mode.
In sleep mode, Macs are still able to send low-energy Bluetooth signals which can be picked up by any other Apple device within proximity. So, if a lost Mac is anywhere near iPhones, iPads, or other Macs, it will be able to relay its location back to the user.
All data is encrypted and secure, ensures Apple, meaning none of the other devices within range will have access to the location. Plus, the feature has been designed to use minimal data and battery power, so it has negligible impact on the relay devices.
In addition, Apple has also added an Activation Lock feature to Macs with a T2 chip. This makes a stolen Mac useless to anyone else, as it can't be wiped out without the original owner's Apple ID. Granted, this probably won't stop thieves from stealing Macs since they can still sell the machine's parts and components, but this does make Macs dramatically less appealing to most thieves.
Alongside Find My, macOS Catalina boasts
a slew of new improvements and new features. Perhaps most significant among those changes is the parsing of iTunes into separate standalone apps. Apple's flagship music management software is no more, in place of it individual apps for music, movies and TV shows, and podcasts. There's also Sidecar, which allows users to use iPads as an external display or a drawing tablet. It also introduces Screen Time, an overhauled Photos interface, and improvements to Safari, Mail, Notes, Reminders, and more.