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'Fortnite' app removal threatens social lifeline for young gamers – Fox Business



NEW YORK/BENGALURU – A YouTube alert interrupted Jack Erricker’s schoolwork on Friday morning as he and kids all over the world woke up to the news that their favorite game, Fortnite, had been taken down from Apple’s Store and Google Play store.

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“It’s basically the only game I play,” said Erricker, an 11-year-old in Bengaluru, India, an avid Fortnite player on his Apple iPad. “I’m not happy, I don’t think it’s a good move.”

Fortnite, which has attracted more than 350 million players globally, is especially popular among younger gamers and has become one of the few lifelines to the outside world for kids trapped at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Unable to play outside, kids are spending hours with friends chit-chatting and fighting on Fortnite, which is free to play and available on nearly all devices.


Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google on Thursday removed Fornite from their app stores for violating in-app payment guidelines, and the news spread rapidly among kids who are otherwise too young to get headlines off CNN, the BBC or the New York Times.

Removal means no new players can download the game and the app will not receive updates from the store. But the game will continue to work for now for those who already have it.

Calum Jack, an eight-year-old from London, heard the Fortnite news from friends in Asia as soon as he woke up at 6 a.m. The topic was “all over YouTube,” he said.

11-year-old Ansel, the photographer’s son, plays Fortnite featuring Travis Scott Presents: Astronomical on April 23, 2020 in South Pasadena, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)


He is online up to 10 hours a day, playing, building or just chatting with up to 20 friends as far apart as Canada and India. Fortnite and other online games have been Jack’s main social outlet since coronavirus lockdowns closed schools across the world in March.

“It’s been very important since we’ve been on holiday. We play all the time,” he said.

Fortnite-owner Epic Games has challenged Apple’s policy of taking a cut of purchases made inside the app by allowing users to pay Epic directly at a cheaper price. The financial ramifications of the move were apparent even to young gamers.

Gamers play the video game ‘Fortnite’ developed by Epic Games on a laptop from the Razer company during the ‘Paris Games Week’ on October 25, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)


“Epic was cutting into Apple’s profit margins,” said Zoraan Kunnel, 13, of Bengaluru, India.

On Thursday, Epic released a video within Fortnite, on YouTube and other social media channels mocking Apple’s iconic “1984” ad with the hashtag “FreeFortnite.” The hashtag has trended on social media and racked up nearly 26 million views on short-form video app TikTok.

“My friends think that Fortnite is going to win the argument,” Erricker said. “There’s a lot of people who play Fortnite, and they’ll be against Apple.”

As to what Jack will do if the game stops working on his iPad, he said: “”I’d just play on the [Sony] PS4.”


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Sony was reportedly in talks to sign Starfield before Xbox’s Bethesda buyout – Video Games Chronicle



Sony Interactive Entertainment” href=””>Sony Interactive Entertainment was reportedly in talks to sign Bethesda Softworks” href=””>Bethesda’s Starfield” href=””>Starfield as a PlayStation 5″ href=””>PS5 exclusive, before its agreed sale to platform rival Xbox” href=””>Xbox this week.

The Elder Scrolls publisher – which Microsoft has agreed to purchase in a $7.5bn deal – had recently agreed other timed PS5 console exclusivity deals for new IP titles Deathloop” href=””>Deathloop (Arkane) and Ghostwire: Tokyo ( Tango Gameworks” href=””>Tango Gameworks).

And according to journalist Imran Khan, talks had begun on signing Bethesda’s sci-fi RPG Starfield as a PlayStation” href=””>PlayStation exclusive.

“The timing on this announcement is absolutely fascinating,” Khan wrote on Monday. “The week after Sony solidifies their existing exclusivity with some Bethesda games but the day before Xbox opens up preorders.

He added: “FUN NOTE: Sony had been negotiating timed exclusivity on Starfield as recently as a few months ago. Going to guess either those talks are done or the price suddenly went way, way up.”

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer” href=””>Phil Spencer said this week that he will honour PlayStation’s timed exclusivity agreements for Deathloop and Ghostwire, but future Bethesda titles such as Starfield will be available for Xbox, PC” href=””>PC and Game Pass. “We’ll take other consoles on a case-by-case basis,” Spencer told Bloomberg.

Game director Todd Howard” href=””>Todd Howard provided a small update on Starfield following Monday’s Xbox news, revealing that it will feature Bethesda’s “largest engine overhaul since Oblivion.”

Bethesda’s Creation Engine has been used in its games since 2011’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was then modified for subsequent titles including Fallout 4 and Fallout 76″ href=””>Fallout 76.

Starfield was announced in June 2018 with a teaser trailer, following which Howard said it was a game he’s wanted to make “for a very, very long time.”

Nothing has been seen of the game since, and at last year’s E3 show the game’s director asked fans to be “very patient” in regards to the next unveiling of Starfield.

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“I will say this. I like when you really see the game to when it’s out [to be] as short as possible. As short as people will let me,” he said.

Howard was speaking in an interview with IGN in June 2019, in which he said Starfield broke Bethesda’s development cycle of working on Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

“We had done so many things. We were going, ‘Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Fallout’ and you have this Starfield game in your head and your sort of say, ‘when?’ It can be never – you could say never – but we’re creatives and we have to make this game, and this is the time.

“And so The Elder Scrolls 6 is going to have to wait a little bit. Plus again, The Elder Scrolls Online is doing so well.”


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A tip from a kid helps detect iOS and Android scam apps' 2.4 million downloads – Ars Technica



Researchers said that a tip from a child led them to discover aggressive adware and exorbitant prices lurking in iOS and Android smartphone apps with a combined 2.4 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play.

Posing as apps for entertainment, wallpaper images, or music downloads, some of the titles served intrusive ads even when an app wasn’t active. To prevent users from uninstalling them, the apps hid their icon, making it hard to identify where the ads were coming from. Other apps charged from $2 to $10 and generated revenue of more than $500,000, according to estimates from SensorTower, a smartphone-app intelligence service.

The apps came to light after a girl found a profile on TikTok that was promoting what appeared to be an abusive app and reported it to Be Safe Online, a project in the Czech Republic that educates children about online safety. Acting on the tip, researchers from security firm Avast found 11 apps, for devices running both iOS and Android, that were engaged in similar scams.

Many of the apps were promoted by one of three TikTok users, one of whom had more than 300,000 followers. A user on Instagram was also promoting the apps.

“We thank the young girl who reported the TikTok profile to us,” Avast threat analyst Jakub Vávra, said in a statement. “Her awareness and responsible action is the kind of commitment we should all show to make the cyberworld a safer place.”

The apps, Avast said, made misleading claims concerning app functionalities, served ads outside of the app, or hid the original app icon shortly after the app was installed—all in violation of the app markets’ terms of service. The links promoted on TikTok and Instagram led to either the iOS or Android versions of the apps depending on the device that accessed a given link.

Targeting “younger kids”

“It is particularly concerning that the apps are being promoted on social media platforms popular among younger kids, who may not recognize some of the red flags surrounding the apps and therefore may fall for them,” Vávra added.

Avast said it privately notified Apple and Google of the apps’ behaviors. Avast also alerted both TikTok and Instagram to the shill accounts doing the promotions.

A Google spokesman said the company has removed the apps, and Web searches appeared to confirm this. Several of the apps for iOS appeared to still be available in the App Store as this post was being prepared. Representatives from Apple and TikTok didn’t immediately have a comment for this post. Representatives with Facebook, which owns Instagram, didn’t respond to a request to comment.

Android users by now are well-acquainted with the Play Store serving apps that are either outright malicious or that perform unethical actions such as deliver a flood of ads, often with no easy way to curtail the deluge. Abusive apps from the App Store, by contrast, come to light much less often—not that such iOS apps are never encountered.

Last month, researchers discovered more than 1,200 iPhone and iPad apps that were snooping on URL requests users made within an app. This violates the App Store’s terms of service. Using a software developer kit for serving ads, the apps also forged click notifications to give the false appearance that an ad viewed by the user came from an ad network controlled by the app, even when that wasn’t the case. The behavior allowed the SDK developers to steal revenue that should have gone to other ad networks.

People considering installing an app should spend a few minutes reading ratings, reviewing prices, and checking permissions. In the case of the apps found by Avast, the average rating ranged from 1.3 to 3.0.

“This all is bad don’t buy,” an iOS user wrote in one review. “I accidentally bought it. 8 dollars wasted and it doesn’t work.”

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Five Tips for Easier Rearranging of iOS Apps – TidBITS



After Josh Centers wrote “iOS 14’s App Library: The FAQ” (9 September 2020), we got a great response in the comments. Several people noted that they have long relied on a technique not dissimilar to the App Library, in that they devote one or more Home screens to a carefully organized set of folders that contain all their less-used apps. I admire such attention to detail, and in an ideal world, I’d use a similar approach.

However, I have 352 apps installed (check your number in Settings > General > About). Since the loss of the organizational tools in iTunes, the immense effort in dragging hundreds of icons around has dissuaded me from cleaning things up. Adding Home screen widgets in iOS 14 can also mess up app organization—something I did while playing with widgets deleted about half of my folders on one Home screen. So I was stoked to read John Clark’s post explaining how to move multiple apps at once. Even better, as soon as I started using multiple fingers, I discovered yet another app rearrangement tip that makes life much easier.

So, as welcome as iOS 14’s App Library may be for many of us, particularly alongside being able to hide Home screens, here is a collection of tips that will help anyone rearrange their app icons more easily, regardless of iOS version or device.

The Basics

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.

  • To move an app, start by touching and holding it. In recent versions of iOS, you can start dragging the app as soon as you feel a click, or you can pause until you see a popover, in which you can tap Edit Home Screen. In earlier versions of iOS, you’d touch and hold until you entered jiggle mode. (Interestingly, the Apple Style Guide is clear that it’s not “wiggle mode.”) Drag the app to the desired location.
  • To put the app on a different Home screen, drag to the left or right edge of the screen and pause briefly to switch screens.
  • To create a new folder, drag one app on top of another and pause briefly. Rename the folder as desired.
  • To put an app in a folder, drag it into the folder. If you pause over the folder, it opens, and you can drag the app into place within the folder or even to other pages within the folder.
  • To delete a folder, drag all the apps in it to another folder or Home screen.
  • When you’re done, press the Home button or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to leave jiggle mode.

Want to see a demo of this? Josh Centers whipped up this quick video.

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Clear Space on the Dock and Use It as a Temporary Holding Zone

This tip isn’t new, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re doing a lot of app cleanup across multiple Home screens, dragging the app a long distance can be tiring and frustrating, particularly if you end up hovering over another app just slightly too long and invoking the folder creation process.

But if you think about it, you can save yourself a lot of the stress of moving apps by moving one or more of your Dock apps to a temporary spot and then using the Dock as a holding zone. You can then put some number of apps on the Dock, navigate to the desired Home screen, and drag them out in multiple small steps, without having to keep your finger down the entire time.

It’s much faster than moving each app, one a time, especially if you have a lot of Home screens.

Josh made another short video to show how this works.

[embedded content]

Move a Stack of Apps All at Once

John Clark’s tip takes the idea of working with multiple apps to a higher level, letting you assemble a stack of apps and put them in a new location with a single drop. Here’s how.

Start by moving one app. Once you’ve picked it up, I recommend dragging it to the lower-right corner of its Home screen. That’s not necessary, but it makes seeing what you’re doing easier. Without letting go of the app you’ve picked up, using another finger (from your other hand, most easily) to tap additional apps that are jiggling. Each app you tap is added to the stack you’re holding, and a blue badge increments to tell you how many are in the stack. Repeat as many times as you like—I found no limit to the number of apps you can stack up like this. You can also drag the stack to other Home screens to add icons from them as well.

Once you’ve assembled your stack, drag it to the desired location and lift your finger to drop the icons. They’ll fill in the destination folder or Home screen from left to right, top to bottom, in first in-first out order.

This snazzy tip would be great just for dumping apps in folders quickly to reduce the number of Home screens you have.

For a demonstration of how this works, see Josh’s video.

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Swipe to Change Home Screens While Dragging

John’s tip got me started using both hands to rearrange apps, something I’d never done before. But once I did, I stumbled on a tremendously useful and painfully obvious (well, it is now, anyway) tip.

Dragging an app or a stack of apps from Home screen to Home screen is slow and error-prone. All too often you end up hovering too long over another app, which causes iOS to try to create a folder. The only way out is to drop the app in the folder, pick it up again, and drag it out. Maddening!

But here’s the thing. If you start dragging an app or a stack with one hand and then use a finger on the other hand to swipe left and right to move between Home screens, it’s vastly easier. In essence, you’re moving the Home screen underneath the app or stack you’re holding. If you hold the app or stack in the lower-right corner, it’s easy to see everything that’s on each Home screen you reveal, and there’s no worry about hovering over another app or accidentally entering a folder.

Is this not quite clear from my description? Josh’s video will give you a preview.

[embedded content]

Search for an App’s Full Name to Find Its Folder

John Clark turned me on to this little fact as well. I hadn’t realized that, when you search for an app by swiping down on the Home screen and typing in the Search field, if your search reveals only a single app, iOS will also display the name of the folder that contains the found app. That gives you a better chance of being able to find the app, assuming you can find its enclosing folder.

Notice also that Apple’s Voice Memos app doesn’t appear in this search. I haven’t been able to find it in a search for years, across multiple iOS versions. There must be something corrupt in my settings or search index, but it’s the only app so affected as far as I know.

Obviously, this trick has its limitations. If the app you want to find is strewn among your Home screens but not in a folder, no folder name appears. And if you can’t narrow the search to a single result (I have too many apps whose names start with “Weather”), you’re out of luck.

It’s also unnecessary if you’ve upgraded to iOS 14 because you can always find the app and move it to a new Home screen location from within the App Library. But for those who haven’t yet upgraded, or who are working in iPadOS, it might be helpful.

(Don’t) Use Apple Configurator 2 to Rearrange Apps from Your Mac

There is one last way that you can theoretically rearrange apps more easily—by using Apple Configurator 2 to do it from your Mac. Apple Configurator 2 is designed to help IT admins create and install profiles on multiple Apple devices at once in an institutional setting, but it also lets you rearrange the icons on your iPhone or iPad from the comfort of your Mac.

Or at least it’s supposed to. I include the instructions below in case Apple releases an update that addresses the problem, but whenever I tried to save my changes by clicking the Apply button, I got this error dialog, and my changes were ignored. Apple released version 2.13.1 of Apple Configurator 2 just a few days ago, so I would have expected it to be compatible with iOS 14, but perhaps not. Plus, it does have quite a few reviews for previous versions suggesting that the Home screen layout feature doesn’t work even when this error doesn’t appear. So don’t waste your time, or if you’re testing a new version of Apple Configurator 2, verify that it works by moving a single icon before spending much time on it.

Apple Configurator 2 error dialog

Should it ever work, here’s how the process should go. To get started, download Apple Configurator 2 from the Mac App Store. When you first launch it with your iPhone connected via USB, you may get one of those inscrutable Mobile Device Updater dialogs that indicates your Mac lacks the software necessary to communicate with the version of iOS on your device. Unfortunately, Apple’s support note is useless, apart from confirming that it is an official alert and that there’s no problem with installing.

Mobile Device Updater dialog

Once you have Apple Configurator 2 and any necessary updates installed and your iPhone connected via USB, follow these steps:

  1. On the first screen of Apple Configurator 2, click your device to select it.
  2. Choose Actions > Modify > Home Screen Layout.
  3. In the sheet that appears, drag the app icons to rearrange them.
  4. When you’re done, click Apply.

Apple Configurator 2 interface for modifying Home screen layout

Although it’s relatively apparent what to do, the interface has a few hidden quirks.

  • There’s no indication that this is true, but the sheet displaying all your Home screens is resizable in every direction, which lets you make it much larger and easier to work with. Click and drag from any edge.
  • No scroll bars appear, but you should be able to scroll left and right with trackpad or Magic Mouse 2 gestures, or with a scroll wheel. You can also drag an icon to the edge of the sheet to scroll.
  • You can select multiple icons at once by Shift-clicking or dragging a rectangle around them, as you’d expect from a Mac-like icon view.
  • You cannot move more icons to a Home screen than will fit on it. In other words, if you select four icons, Apple Configurator 2 won’t let you drop them on a Home screen with fewer than four open spots.
  • Just as on an iPhone or iPad, drag one icon on top of another to create a folder.
  • To open a folder without adding an icon to it, double-click it.
  • To navigate out of a folder, click anywhere in the gray area around the white folder outline, or click the X button in the upper-left corner. Or press the Escape key.
  • To remove an icon from a folder, drag it to the X button in the upper-left corner.

Apple Configurator 2 folder interface

Have you come up with any other tricks for rearranging or organizing apps on your iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments!

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