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Disable going online when starting up?


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Each time I start up Affinity Photo (1.10.4 Mac), the Little Snitch firewall tells me that it's attempting to "phone home". I'm concerned about privacy issues.
It appears to make no difference to Photo's functionality if I deny the connection, so why is Photo doing this, and what kind of information is transmitted?

959565210_ScreenShot2022-01-11at22_00_20.png.5f66074eb3d9f234f5117bc280868e42.png


Whatever the reason is, could an option for disabling it be added to the preferences in a future update? I already have checking for updates turned off, so this isn't it.

 

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Just now, Chroma said:

so why is Photo doing this,

Several reasons. Among them are:

  1. To be able to show you the current set of offers on the Welcome Screen.
  2. To know whether there is an update available for the program (depending on where you purchased it this may or may not occur).
  3. If you're signed in to My Account, to see if you've purchased new Affinity Store content that should be downloaded and installed.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.5, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.5

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1 hour ago, Chroma said:

Whatever the reason is, could an option for disabling it be added to the preferences in a future update? I already have checking for updates turned off, so this isn't it.

Just guessing but Walt's #1 item is probably the reason it is trying to connect. If you don't want that, when the Welcome screen window opens, untick the "Show this Panel on Startup" item at the bottom of the window. You can always access the Welcome Screen window in the future from the Help menu, but of course you will need to allow the connection for that to work.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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15 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

All three apps attempt a connection at startup, whether or not the welcome screen is displayed.

It seems so, but on my Mac the connection is so brief if the Welcome screen is not displayed that I doubt much if any data is being sent back to Serif.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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Well beside Little Snitch which is ideal for such tasks, you can also permanently disable these connections via a hosts file entry ...

hosts_example.jpg.412bfe46b857fee36ef56a23e3551c5a.jpg

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
☛ Affinity V2.3 apps ◆ MacOS Sonoma 14.2 ◆ iPad OS 17.2

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I think I might already have chosen to disable the welcome screen because there's no option for turning it on/off when starting up, nor in the preferences. I only see a splash screen for a couple of seconds with the version number etc.

affinityphotostartup.png.9d132167d24b850f44866ed7cf3ac9ee.png

Yes, I could of course just tell Little Snitch to block any connection, but that would also mean disallowing version-checking if I decide to do that manually.
The "hosts file" solution is another way to go, but I've done it before and it's a pain to troubleshoot faulty connections later if you forget all about it and change your mind.

The bottom line is that software going behind people's backs, connecting here and there without the user knowing when or why is a real nuisance for people concerned about privacy. Serious and legit software authors should keep this kind of thing in the open and let the user decide between convenience and privacy. 

I'm hoping someone from Serif is reading this and can consider adding a user-configurable on/off option for going online.

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2 hours ago, Chroma said:

I'm hoping someone from Serif is reading this and can consider adding a user-configurable on/off option for going online.

The forums are organized into several sections, as you can see when you start at the top level. You are currently in Affinity Support & Questions. To request changes, you need to post in Feature Requests & Suggestions, as that is where the planners look for new ideas. Note that before posting there you should search to see if someone else has made the same request, and if so add to their topic, rather than posting a new one.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.5, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.5

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2 hours ago, Chroma said:

>duplicate posting deleted<

Forum hint: You should see a 3-dot icon at the upper right of each post you've made. You may find a Hide option there, which is the way a normal (non-moderator) user can remove one of their posts.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.5, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.5

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2 hours ago, Chroma said:

Yes, I could of course just tell Little Snitch to block any connection, but that would also mean disallowing version-checking if I decide to do that manually.

Is version checking available in the Mac version of the Affinity suite?   I can't see that feature in the Windows version.  But regardless, if a supplier isn't to be trusted why assume that "Check for updates" isn't going to do something undesirable?  

3 hours ago, Chroma said:

The bottom line is that software going behind people's backs, connecting here and there without the user knowing when or why is a real nuisance for people concerned about privacy. Serious and legit software authors should keep this kind of thing in the open and let the user decide between convenience and privacy. 

Maybe I haven't seen this because I haven't looked for it, but can you provide examples of software authors who are doing this?

AP, AD & APub user, running Win10

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6 hours ago, Chroma said:

I'm hoping someone from Serif is reading this and can consider adding a user-configurable on/off option for going online.

I think you would be best served by using a computer that is not connected to the internet. No WiFi, Bluetooth either. 

Think about it, the truly bad actor will say the same thing as the honest broker "Here is a switch you can use to disconnect from the web."

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.4 
Affinity Designer 2.4.1 | Affinity Photo 2.4.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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4 hours ago, IanSG said:

Is version checking available in the Mac version of the Affinity suite? 

If you mean checking for updates, it is available for the ones bought from the Affinity Store. Ones bought from the Mac App Store (MAS) lack that menu item & the option to check for updates in Preferences > Software Update. For the MAS versions, checking, downloading, & installing updates is done through System Preferences > Software Update, which can be configured in many different ways, including not to check at all.

Just guessing but I think it is the same for Windows versions bought through the Affinity Store. I do not know how it works for ones bought through the MS Store.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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1 hour ago, Old Bruce said:

Think about it, the truly bad actor will say the same thing as the honest broker "Here is a switch you can use to disconnect from the web."

So basically, I see this as either you trust Serif not to abuse the startup connection feature to gather more private info than is necessary to provide the services that connection supports & to comply with the privacy terms explained here, or you don't.

If you don't, then use Little Snitch or the host file or some other method to prevent the connection that does not depend on trusting that an in-app setting will do what it says it does.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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6 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

Forum hint: You should see a 3-dot icon at the upper right of each post you've made. You may find a Hide option there, which is the way a normal (non-moderator) user can remove one of their posts.

Thanks. I did notice that option but mistakingly thought it would only hide certain postings from myself. Good to know if I do a double-posting again.

I see my question/comments about Internet privacy has stirred up emotions among some readers here which wasn't my intention.
I'm going to take your suggestion to post in "Feature Requests & Suggestions" so Affinity reads it.

 

5 hours ago, IanSG said:

Is version checking available in the Mac version of the Affinity suite?   I can't see that feature in the Windows version.  But regardless, if a supplier isn't to be trusted why assume that "Check for updates" isn't going to do something undesirable? 

Point taken!

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30 minutes ago, Chroma said:

I'm going to take your suggestion to post in "Feature Requests & Suggestions" so Affinity reads it.

Some Serif staff will read it wherever it is. But the staff involved with planning only take info from the Feature Requests forum, we're told.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.5, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.5

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1 hour ago, Chroma said:

I see my question/comments about Internet privacy ...

Serif's Privacy Policy (link at the bottom of every support page) makes clear what personal & anonymous user data they say they collect, & why. Unless you don't believe them, what part of that do you find objectionable?

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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19 hours ago, IanSG said:

Maybe I haven't seen this because I haven't looked for it, but can you provide examples of software authors who are doing this?

Yep, Corel has been doing this for over a decade. They currently use PSI SVC. It's installed when you install any of their apps. It must be allowed to access the internet, to phone home, to check to make sure the software you purchased, hasn't been changed. If you block it, then the app will not run. While it's not continually checking, when it does, it better be allowed to or your app can just shut down. Furthermore, PSI SVC is installed for each app. They say it's protect against piracy. Ok, right... Ask Adobe how that's working out. More people are pirating their apps since they started shutting down usage of the older CS apps that people paid a lot of money for.

Affinity Photo 2.5..; Affinity Designer 2.5..; Affinity Publisher 2.5..; Affinity2 Beta versions. Affinity Photo,Designer 1.10.6.1605 Win10 Home Version:21H2, Build: 19044.1766: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz, 3301 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s);32GB Ram, Nvidia GTX 3070, 3-Internal HDD (1 Crucial MX5000 1TB, 1-Crucial MX5000 500GB, 1-WD 1 TB), 4 External HDD

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3 minutes ago, Ron P. said:

Yep, Corel has been doing this for over a decade. They currently use PSI SVC. It's installed when you install any of their apps. It must be allowed to access the internet, to phone home, to check to make sure the software you purchased, hasn't been changed. If you block it, then the app will not run. While it's not continually checking, when it does, it better be allowed to or your app can just shut down. Furthermore, PSI SVC is installed for each app. They say it's protect against piracy. Ok, right... Ask Adobe how that's working out. More people are pirating their apps since they started shutting down usage of the older CS apps that people paid a lot of money for.

Sorry, I'm confused - you seem to be saying that Corel s/w doesn't work if it's denied internet access.  I was asking for examples that provide an option to not connect.

AP, AD & APub user, running Win10

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16 hours ago, R C-R said:

If you mean checking for updates, it is available for the ones bought from the Affinity Store. Ones bought from the Mac App Store (MAS) lack that menu item & the option to check for updates in Preferences > Software Update. For the MAS versions, checking, downloading, & installing updates is done through System Preferences > Software Update, which can be configured in many different ways, including not to check at all.

Just guessing but I think it is the same for Windows versions bought through the Affinity Store. I do not know how it works for ones bought through the MS Store.

There's nothing in my Affinity Store bought programs!  I always get notified about updates but there doesn't seem to be anyway for me to control it.

AP, AD & APub user, running Win10

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6 hours ago, IanSG said:

There's nothing in my Affinity Store bought programs!  I always get notified about updates but there doesn't seem to be anyway for me to control it.

So no icon or other item in Preferences that mentions Software Update? Of the 3, the only Mac Affinity app I bought from the Affinity Store is APub, but for that, the Preferences window shows this:

1888167496_APubprefs.jpg.37e8fd197b14248fb978613935585c67.jpg

Opening that gives me 4 choices for how often it checks for updates; Daily, Weekly, Monthly, & Never.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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1 hour ago, R C-R said:

So no icon or other item in Preferences that mentions Software Update?

Not only no mention of "Software Update" but no mention of "Auto Correct", "Abbreviations", "Filler Text" or "Title Exceptions"!  I've been robbed!!

AP, AD & APub user, running Win10

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3 minutes ago, IanSG said:

Not only no mention of "Software Update" but no mention of "Auto Correct", "Abbreviations", "Filler Text" or "Title Exceptions"!  I've been robbed!!

Are you sure you are looking at the Preference panel for APub? Neither AD nor AP has the last 4 you mentioned.

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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11 minutes ago, IanSG said:

Yes - I have identical options in all 3 programs. 

So you are saying that in APub you do not have preference options for "Auto Correct", "Abbreviations", "Filler Text" or "Title Exceptions"? Are you sure you are using the current retail version of APub for Windows?

All 3 1.10.8, & all 3 V2.5.2 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
Affinity Photo 
1.10.8; Affinity Designer 1.108; & all 3 V2 apps for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 15.7

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24 minutes ago, IanSG said:

Yes - I have identical options in all 3 programs. 

You have something wrong then. The Red outlines are additions to what is available with Designer, the Green outline is from the Software update for Publisher which is from the Serif/Affinity store. The Designer and Photo applications are from the Mac App Store.

1066085515_ScreenShot2022-01-13at11_16_16AM.png.3c1c0bb4bf0a846bddc214c915ba89c8.png

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.4 
Affinity Designer 2.4.1 | Affinity Photo 2.4.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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