Why You Can’t Find Parental Control Apps in the iOS App Store

Illustration for article titled Why You Can't Find Parental Control Apps in the iOS App Store

iOS: If you’re having trouble finding a good parental control app in the iOS App Store, there’s a reason for that: MDM, or Mobile Device management. According to Apple, apps using MDM “incorrectly” pose serious security risk, and so the company is cracking down—but what does this actually mean?

What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a general term for any technology that allows one device to be controlled and/or monitored by another remotely. Parental control apps on iOS often rely on MDM as a means for controlling screen time, applying content filters, and collecting usage reports, because it’s the only way to obtain device permissions for these kinds of activities. Otherwise, your everyday app on the App Store can’t control your device to this great a degree.

This isn’t some newly implemented technology. MDM has been present on iPhone for years now, with Apple overseeing MDM certification for its devices and even controlling all MDM-based actions on iOS apps.

So why is Apple now so worried about apps using this feature in a way it wasn’t intended? The company now claims that apps with MDM can leave your personal data vulnerable and open to exploitation by hackers, hence the purging of parental control apps from the App Store.

On paper, the move makes sense. If an unwilling person is tricked into installing a certificate from a less-than-stellar app, they’ve just given over the keys to their digital kingdom—a privacy breach Apple would very much like to prevent.

“MDM does have legitimate uses. Businesses will sometimes install MDM on enterprise devices to keep better control over proprietary data and hardware. But it is incredibly risky—and a clear violation of App Store policies—for a private, consumer-focused app business to install MDM control over a customer’s device. Beyond the control that the app itself can exert over the user’s device, research has shown that MDM profiles could be used by hackers to gain access for malicious purposes,” reads a statement Apple published last last month.

Developers (try to) fight back

Several developers with parental control apps now affected by the new MDM policy have responded to Apple’s claims, and their arguments highlight some inconsistencies with Apple’s reasoning.

One app, OurPact, uses MDM to allow parents to set screen time limits on their child’s devices. OurPact’s developers released a statement using Apple’s own MDM documentation to refute the alleged security risks. You can read the full statement here, but the gist of the argument is that since Apple controls the entire MDM review process for iOS apps, properly vetted apps should not pose any of the risks Apple is warning against. As well, OurPact has been open about what it does and how it does it:

“OurPact’s core functionality would not be possible without the use of MDM; it is the only API available for the Apple platform that enables the remote management of applications and functions on children’s devices. We have also been transparent about our use of this technology since the outset, and have documented its use in our submissions to the App Store,” the company’s statement reads.

Photo: OurPact

Some have suggested Apple’s actual reason for removing these MDM-enabled parental control apps is to curb potential competition with iOS 12’s screen time feature. However, other reports point out that many of the apps were purged for various other violations unrelated to MDM, like the prohibition on creating “an App that appears confusing similar to an existing Apple Product, interface, app, or advertising theme.”

If you ask us, the whole this is a net loss for Apple’s customers, even though it is the security-minded approach to take.

What Apple’s purge means for you

Policy disputes between Apple and app developers are one thing, but the biggest concern for iOS users—especially for parents—is that parental controls/screen time apps are being removed from App Store.

This would be less of an issue if Apple provided developers with its own API for controlling screen time, but it does not. More importantly, many of the removed apps like OurPact, Kidslox, and Qustodio included features that iOS parental controls do not—such as filtering web content on non-Safari browsers and cross-compatibility with Android. Their absence leaves parents with fewer options for monitoring their child’s screen time (though there’s debate over just how effective screen time limits can be).

Hopefully, the outcry from developers and the feedback from users will force Apple to at least open up a discussion about the future of parental control on the App Store. For now, however, you might as well settle for using the parental control features built into iOS 12. They’re not as robust when compared to the rival apps, but it’s probably your safest bet for locking down your kids’ activities right now. It might soon be your only one.

[“source=lifehacker”]

Money advice can’t be generalised

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NEW DELHI: There is a consistent complaint about this column. Why does it not provide specific action points? Can’t we have actual products as recommendations? Why explain the principles but stop short of converting them into thumb rules?

Personal finance cannot be generalised. Broad principles are universal, but actual application requires decisions the individual should make, based on their specific situation. Therefore, a specific set of steps will not work for all. So the effort is to point the reader to some principles, offer some ideas that enable them to think of their decisions, and provide frames for evaluation.

Let’s rework last week’s column on worries of the soon-to-retire generation. We tried to point out how those of us who don’t have a government pension, those who aren’t rooted to their bases, and those who don’t enjoy great health, might end up with a mixed bag of retirement experiences.

To convert that problem into an actionable set of rules would go like this: (I am not recommending these, only putting them here to illustrate a point). First, ensure that you earn a fixed income like a pension. Choose government-sponsored schemes and invest your retirement proceeds in schemes that offer annuity, pension, fixed interest and such. Second, make sure you have your own home to live in. Do not touch the retirement corpus. Third, buy a good medical insurance before any disease strikes. Fourth, do not stay idle, find something to do. Fifth, stay healthy.

The rest of the column can expound each of these. How much should the corpus be? How much to draw and how much to keep? Which medical insurance is best? Will the money get over if I pursue new hobbies?

The answers to all these questions is just math. In an excel sheet you can put numbers and assumptions, and you will soon have a number of scenarios and you can choose one that appeals to you most. We can make sense of the math, and make choices from what is on offer.

First, what should someone without pension do? Hopefully there is some money set aside—in PF, as investments and as assets. Bring all of it together. Include the houses, plot and gold—all assets you inherited or invested in. Evaluate each one and put them in those three boxes. You will get a sense of what you have.

Second, when you no longer earn an income, your assets must generate it for you. To know how much you need, make an estimate and include interests, travel, gifts and giveaways, and your regular expenses. What is a comfortable position? You have enough assets. A portion can be used to generate income, and a portion can grow in value and remain untouched.

Comfort in retirement is achieved when you have income that is enough and assets that are growing and can be tapped as inflation increases the amount of income you need. Money you need should be in income generating assets; money you don’t immediately need should be in growth generating assets. You need both. Over time you will shuffle between the two as needs change.

You already have many questions. And, there are no simple answers. You created the assets and you will bring them together and make them work the best for you. If that means selling your large house to move into a small one, and taking your spouse on a world cruise, you have to make that choice. No columnist can do it for you.

[“source=timesofindia.indiatimes”]

Here’s Why ‘Destiny 2’ Can’t Bring Back Year 1 Armor (Yet), And How To Fix That

Destiny 2Bungie

One common refrain among Destiny players is that it makes little sense to keep making old gear irrelevant at this rapid of a pace. When armor received random rolls in year 2, for instance, the solution was not to just give all current sets random rolls and actual perks, but instead to just leave them with…literally nothing, allowing only year 2 armor and beyond to roll with actual perks.

What this means is that everything players worked to earn in year 1 is functionally useless, because having armor with no perks is a recipe to be at a huge disadvantage in every activity. But that means leaving tons and tons of sets behind. Ones from every destination, old Eververse sets, sets from Zavala and Shaxx, from the raid and Trials and Iron Banner. Those damn Solstice sets that we grinded for ages for. None of that is useful, and even if you can require it from collections, there’s no actual point in doing so without perks.

The problem is that you can’t just flip a switch and grant everything rolls all of a sudden because of the way the current economy and acquisition system is set up.

Right now for say, planetary vendors, you can simply buy individual pieces of armor directly from them. Even if you disallowed random rolls on those pieces, you can also turn in materials for engrams, materials that Spider now sells for legendary shards. What that would mean is that it would only cost you a handful of shards to keep rolling and rolling and rolling for god tier loot with the exact perks you wanted, but changing the Spider economy would mess things up for say, infusion.

Raids, Trials, Eververse and Iron Banner stuff are each their own issues, but Bungie isn’t even attempting to try and find a fix for any of it. So I will, because this is just way, way too much stuff to leave behind, and the more stuff there is try and acquire, the more engaged players will be. More so than getting their 98th Tangled Web set, that’s for sure.

Destiny 2Bungie

Planetary Vendors – No longer sell individual pieces of gear, and no longer accept materials for random engrams. Give each a “heroic” bounty that gives out one piece of planetary gear a day (not powerful, just themed). Give planetary set rewards at the end of adventures that take place there. Have an increased chance to drop planetary sets when on patrol or running strikes in those areas. You could even add planetary gear to the Prime Engram loot pool so give Rahool more of a selection.

Raids – Just let people run the old raids and raid lairs and have gear drop like normal. You don’t get raid gear fast enough to make this a farming problem, so if people really want to hunt for good rolls on old gear this way, let them. Who cares.

Year 1 Crucible, Iron Banner and Vanguard sets – Allow players to pick between turning in tokens for old sets or new ones. If you want to encourage people to give the new set a shot, make getting the old set like, twice as expensive or something in terms of how many tokens gets you a piece. But it would still be a way to acquire stuff. Also periodically drop old gear as rewards in those activities.

Destiny 2Bungie

Trials – I do not have a great answer for this one. Given that Trials no longer exists, these sets may have to stay dead. You could do something crazy like offer Xur 150 shards for one random piece of Trials gear you’ve already acquired, now with rolls, but this is a tough one given that the activity is just not in the game at all.

Escalation Protocol – Literally nothing needs to change. Just let people keep grinding it for random EP gear, it’s probably the best damn armor in the game. I never completed it enough to get full sets back when it was relevant, but at 650 power I sure have now even with just a couple randoms, and it’s a bummer that gear is just pointless now (outside of the weapons).

Solstice Gear – Another tough one because this was a one-time-only event. At the very least, just give everyone random rolls on the pieces they still have. They might suck, but at least they’d have the potential to use them. I’m not sure how more rolls would work for these unless there was some sort of grand re-roll mechanic for everything, but that’s an issue for another day.

Destiny 2Bungie

Eververse/Holiday sets – You may have heard my philosophy that putting armor in Eververse at all is BS and all of this stuff should just be in the general loot pool. Put all old sets in there now with random rolls, and stop doing limited time only sets that are literally impossible to effectively farm for rolls.

The other, easier solution to all of the above is just to allow armor transmogrification, meaning you can pay some currency to make any rolled armor you want look like any piece of gear you’ve acquired. This may be the easiest fix if you don’t want to jump through all the above hoops, and I’ve already written about that extensively.

I don’t know if I’ve covered every old armor set in the game here, but that’s a good chunk of them. There is a way to make this work, and it really makes no sense that A) Bungie would take so time designing this stuff and B) players would take so much time earning it only to have be made irrelevant in a year’s time. That isn’t how loot-based games like this are supposed to work, and there are fixes here if Bungie wants to pursue them.

[“source-forbes”]

13 pieces of money advice you can’t afford to ignore

not listening cover ears hear people annoyed

There’s so much financial advice out there that it’s near impossible to follow all of it.

But missing the most important — and often most basic — words of wisdom could end up costing you big time.

To help out, we combed through our archives to round up the best money advice from financial planners, bestselling authors, and the second-richest man on earth, that will help you save and earn the most money.

Below, check out the 13 pieces of money advice you simply can’t afford to ignore:

1. Pay yourself first

“People still don’t grasp the fact that they need to save a dime out of every dollar,” author and self-made millionaire David Bach told Business Insider in a Facebook Live interview. He said the average American who’s saving money is saving just 15 minutes a day of their income, when they should be saving an hour.

Bach noted troubling research from the Federal Reserve that revealed nearly half of Americans wouldn’t have enough money on hand to cover a $400 emergency. Yet, he continued, millions of those people will buy a coffee at Starbucks today and expect to buy the new $800 iPhone next year. Americans have money, he says, but we aren’t saving it.

So get on the “pay-yourself-first plan,” as Bach calls it, and automatically save an hour a day of your income. “When that money is moved before you can touch it, that’s how real wealth is built,” he said.

Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

2. Beware of lifestyle creep

There’s a lot of pressure in your 20s and 30s to keep up with your friends. Maybe they’re buying a nicer car or a house, but if you’re not in the financial position to keep up, don’t try.

“I always refer to it as ‘lifestyle creep’ because one of the big things that people can do — that’s an advantage to them — is keep their fixed expenses somewhat stable and reasonable for what they make,” Katie Brewer, a Dallas-based certified financial planner who founded Your Richest Life, told Business Insider.

Planning for your recurring costs — like mortgage, rent, a car payment, and insurance — ensures that expenses won’t creep up on you and derail your financial future. Of course, Brewer said, if you’re making good money you should have the freedom to spend it how you wish, as long as your lifestyle doesn’t overtake your income.

In short: Live below your means.

3. Take advantage of an employer-sponsored 401(k)

Putting money into a retirement plan as early as you can, no matter the amount, is a smart and easy way to pay yourself first.

If your company offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. In some cases, employers will offer a contribution match. “That means the company contributes a set amount — say, 50 cents for a dollar — for every dollar you contribute up to a specified percentage of your salary,” Beth Kobliner writes in her book “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties.”

“That’s free money, equivalent to a 50% or 100% return. There’s nowhere you can beat this!” she writes.

Plus, 401(k)s allow you to contribute your pre-tax money, meaning the more you contribute now, the greater the growth (thanks, compound interest) and the more money you’ll have down the road, though you will be taxed when you withdraw the money for retirement. For 2017, the maximum contribution to a 401(k) is $18,000.

Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

4. Invest in the stock market, just don’t try to time it

“No one can time the market, so know that if there is a decline, it’s going to bounce back. Over time, being in the market pays off more so than staying out of it,” Michael Solari, a certified financial planner with Solari Financial Planning, told Business Insider.

A smart play, according to Solari, is to put your money in a low-cost target date retirement fund.

Sometimes known as “set it and forget it” investments, these diversified funds automatically adjust their asset allocation and risk exposure based on your age and retirement horizon. Early on, when the need for that money is still a couple decades away, the fund will adopt a more growth-focused strategy. As you ripen toward retirement, it dials back the risk.

You may not get the average annual return of 11% in your target date fund — given you’ll be invested in a blend of stocks, bonds, and alternative assets — but if you get even 6% per year, an original $10,000 investment will be worth more than $32,000 in 20 years without you having to do a single thing. Compare that with $12,200 in your high-yield savings account or $10,020.20 in your traditional savings account.

5. Build an emergency fund

Let’s face it: It’s really not a matter of if you’ll need to fork over cash for a car or home repair, child expense, or medical emergency, but a matter of when.

“No matter how well you plan or how positively you think, there are always things out of your control that can go wrong,” Bach writes in his bestseller “The Automatic Millionaire.”

“People lose their jobs, their health, their spouses. The economy can go sour, the stock market can drop, businesses can go bankrupt. Circumstances change. If there’s anything you can count on, it’s that life is filled with unexpected changes,” he wrote.

Most financial planners suggest stockpiling anywhere from three to nine months worth of expenses in an emergency fund that you can turn to when in need. If you don’t have savings at the ready, you run the risk of having to rely on family or friends for help, or worse, falling into debt.

Kate Hiscock/Flickr

6. Pay off your credit card balance in full every month

Sometimes a credit card can feel like free money, until you’re slapped with the bill. Even then, most credit cards only require you to pay 1% to 3% of your balance each month, which can be an alluring prospect if your budget is tight. But consistently paying the minimum could cost you a fortune in the long run, damage your credit score, and affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage.

Farnoosh Torabi, a financial expert, author, and host of the “So Money” podcast learned this lesson the hard way.

Not only did she swipe her credit card with no reservations and adopt the bad habit of paying just the minimum amount — Torabi said she once forgot to pay the bill all together.

She remembered incurring a late fee that showed up on her credit report and gave her a true “wake-up call.” The incident happened before she “realized the power of automating” her bills, a practice that can save you money on late fees and relinquish you from remembering due dates and the embarrassment of missing a payment.

7. Don’t sit on too much savings

Saving money is important — and could be easier than it sounds — but if you’re saving too much, you may be keeping yourself from building wealth.

Though you’re “never going to kill your financial future” by accumulating money, Brewer says, “you’re losing out on opportunity costs by having money sitting around … especially if it’s sitting in an account making barely anything in interest.”

If you’re risk-averse, one way to manage savings overflow is to move your money into a high-yield savings account, where you could be earning 1% interest on your money, rather than the 0.01% earned in a traditional savings account. Or, as previously mentioned, stick it in a low-cost target date fund and see your returns balloon over time, with little to no work required.

John Lambert Pearson/Flickr

8. Have more than one credit card

It may seem financially reckless to have a wallet full of credit cards, but it’s actually smart. According to John Ulzheimer, credit expert at CreditSesame.com, having a single credit card can damage your credit score, thanks to something called your credit utilization ratio — that is, how much of your available credit you’re actually using.

“That percentage is very, very influential in your credit score,” explains Ulzheimer. “People say that you’re in good shape if you keep your utilization within 50% of your available credit, or 30%, but really, it should be below 10%.”

Available credit counts all the cards you have: If you have one card with an $8,000 limit and one with a $6,000 limit, your total available credit is $14,000, even if you only spend $1,000 a month. With a single card, you have no unused credit cushioning the impact of your spending. The closer you get to your limit, the harder the hit on your credit score.

9. Pay off high-interest debt first

Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street executive and the founder and CEO of Ellevest, says paying down high-interest debt should always be prioritized, even above building an emergency fund.

She explained the math in an article on Ellevest:

“Say you have $5,000 of credit card debt at an 18% interest rate. Say you happen upon $5,000 of money. If you take some of the advice out there, and split the use of that $5,000 (half to establish an emergency fund, half to pay down credit card debt), you still have $2,500 of credit card debt and $2,500 of money sitting in cash.

“The $2,500 of credit card debt at an 18% interest rate costs you $450 a year. The emergency fund earns almost nothing in interest. So you’re out $450.”

Bottom line: You’ll save more paying off the debt than you’d earn if you invested it, whether in a high-yield savings account or the stock market.

10. Always be insured

Every American citizen is required to have health insurance, or be fined hundreds of dollars by the IRS each year. Kobliner advises signing up for insurance should be “your No. 1 financial priority” because it’ll protect you from unforeseen accidents or illness, and prevent yourself or your family from going bankrupt in the case of an emergency.

If your employer offers health insurance, take it, Kobliner says. It’s almost always cheaper than buying a policy on your own (but keep in mind that you can be covered by your parent’s insurance until age 26). Before signing up, though, make sure you understand the cost and extent of the plan, including your deductible, or how much you’ll be paying out-of-pocket before insurance takes over.

If you do end up needing to purchase a policy on your own, head over to healthcare.gov to compare plans and pricing.

Business Insider

11. Track your spending

Business Insider’s Libby Kane has written, edited, and read hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories about money during her career, and says she’s learned that “the best, most critical first step you can take to improve your finances is to track your spending.”

Keeping tabs on where your money is going, whether fixed expenses like rent or mortgage payments and transportation costs or discretionary spending like dining out and travel, is a crucial part of mastering your money.

Setting up a spreadsheet or using a service like LearnVest or Mint can help you make cuts where necessary and even set you on a path to early retirement, if that’s what you’re after.

12. Pay your taxes — and be smart about it

“Whether you owe money to the tax man at the end of the year or not, it’s always a smart move to file your taxes,” Kobliner advises.

And be aware that you can save money on taxes by taking advantage of deductions, or the specific expenses you’re allowed to take out of your income before calculating your owed taxes. The standard deduction — $6,300 for singles and $12,600 for couples — is a good place to start, Kobliner says.

You can also itemize deductions to maximize your savings by listing specific deductions, including expenses for housing costs like mortgage interest or property taxes, and charitable donations, or making use of tax credits.

And if you don’t file your taxes? You could pay a penalty fee of at least $135, plus interest on the money you owe, and lose ground on your credit report, among a host of other financial consequences.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

13. Be patient

When bestselling author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins asked billionaire Warren Buffett a few years ago, “What made you the wealthiest man in the world?” Buffett replied, “Three things: Living in America for the great opportunities, having good genes so I lived a long time, and compound interest.”

“The biggest thing about making money is time,” the investor, who’s now worth more than $76 billion, said in a recent HBO documentary about his life. “You don’t have to be particularly smart, you just have to be patient.”

In his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett announced that he was on his way to winning a $1 million bet he made in 2007 that his investment in an S&P 500 index fund would outperform five hedge funds over a decade.

[“Source-businessinsider”]