Run Virtual Machines on M1 Macs With ‘UTM’

UTM is an app I recently discovered that lets you run virtual machines on M1 Macs. It uses Apple’s Hypervisor virtualization framework to run ARM64 operating systems on Apple Silicon at near native speeds. On Intel Macs, x86/x64 operating system can be virtualized. In addition, lower performance emulation is available to run x86/x64 on Apple Silicon as well as ARM64 on Intel. For developers and enthusiasts, there are dozens of other emulated processors as well including: ARM32, MIPS, PPC, and RISC-V. Under the hood of UTM is QEMU, a decades old, free and open source emulation software that is widely used and actively maintained. While QEMU is powerful, it can be difficult to set up and configure with its plethora of command line options and flags. UTM is designed to give users the flexibility of QEMU without the steep learning curve that comes with it. Mac App Store Link

M1 Mac Users Report Hard Drive Health Readings That Could Limit Device Life Span

Some M1 Mac users have started to highlight hard drive health reports that might possibly indicate severe life span problems for the device. iMore rounded up some of the issues.

The issue of ‘TBW’, or total bytes written, refers to the lifespan of an SSD… If the readings being given out from these machines is correct, developer Hector Martin says it could indicate that some machines “aren’t going to last half a year”… Martin does however state this is “definitely” a bug, however its unclear if that relates to the readings being given, or macOS behavior which is causing the readings to be abnormally high (but accurate). As PC Gamer notes in its report, smart monitoring tools “are notorious for misreporting” and this could be an M1 teething problem.

 

Mysterious ‘Silver Sparrow’ Malware Confuses Researchers

Over the weekend we got news of a mysterious piece of malware called Silver Sparrow. It has infected 30,000 machines so far and there is a version of it built for M1 Macs. But security researchers can’t figure out its purpose.

Once an hour, infected Macs check a control server to see if there are any new commands the malware should run or binaries to execute. So far, however, researchers have yet to observe delivery of any payload on any of the infected 30,000 machines, leaving the malware’s ultimate goal unknown. The lack of a final payload suggests that the malware may spring into action once an unknown condition is met.

Which of the Most Popular Apps Have Native Support For Apple Silicon?

Apple silicon has been available to consumers for two months now. AppleInsider has a good rundown of the state-of-play, and how many apps have native support for the M1 chip.

So to take a snapshot of how the transition from Intel to ARM is going, AppleInsider drew up a list of 100 major Mac apps. Our list does include ones that are niche but very important in their field — such as the screenwriting app Final Draft… It also includes a range of more technical utilities, plus the kind of general purpose apps that a large number of Mac users have. For each app, we contacted developers, we checked out support groups, and we listed apps as either having native M1 support or not. When an app had native support in beta, we counted that as it at least means the support is coming. Where it was not possible to prove that there was even official beta M1 support, we took that as a no. As of February 5, 2021, the list of 100 apps showed 53 that had native M1 support to at least some degree. And therefore 47 that did not.

HomePod mini, Arcade, and Waiting for M-Processor Macs, with Bob LeVitus - ACM 542

Bryan Chaffin and Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus have both spent time with the HomePod mini, and they offer their thoughts on what it sounds like, where it’s useful, and who should consider it. They also talk about the value of Apple’s Arcade, especially now that it’s part of Apple One. They also talk about the power of Apple’s new M1 Macs, and discuss if people should buy Intel Macs at all any more.

Linux Now “Completely Usable” on Apple Silicon M1 Macs

A version of Linux now works on Apple Silicon M1 chip, AppleInsider reported. Security researchers at Corellium ported the operating system, and plan to release it under an open-source license.

The Linux version is a full Ubuntu desktop operating system booted from a USB, according to Corellium Chief Technology Officer Chris Wade. Although details are scarce, he said that Linux is now “completely usable” on Apple Silicon machines. Network compatibility is possible through a USB-C dongle, and the current update to the platform will support USB, I2C, and DART. The Ubuntu operating system is one initially meant for the ARM-based Raspberry Pi, Wade added.

Privacy-Focused Browser Now Has Native Support For M1 Macs

Brave now offers native support for M1 Macs, 9to5Mac reported. This should help the privacy-focused browser utilize the faster speeds offered by Apple’s own silicon. That said, it is built on the Chrome engine, which often brings with it high memory usage and reduced battery performance.

The company says the latest version also has a fix for problems playing videos from a couple of key sites. “Our last desktop browser update of the year (v1.18.77) features native support for M1 Macs, a localization fix for Brave Rewards, and fixes for playing videos on HBO Max and IMDb.” Brave blocks ad trackers by default, and claims to be faster by blocking most ads too.