New Version 13 available

Version 13 of NetworkToolbox is available

The main focus for Version 13 was not just compatibility but also taking advantage of iOS 13. There was a lot coding necessary under the hood but here are the main features of this version:

  • IOS 13 Dark Mode compatibility
  • Support for new iOS 13 UI elements (e.g. pulling down the Help screen)
  • New NFC Reader. New NFC Tags can also be written (iOS 13 required)
  • Improved Bonjour Tool
  • Improved advanced Scanning (now turned back on per default)
  • Fonts will now not just be listed but also displayed
  • Improved IP Geolocation detection
  • The Pi-Hole tool now shows the IP Address if the Network Name is not available
  • The Pi-Hole tool now supports a filter
  • Updated MAC Database
  • Added SHA256 Hash to the Base64 Tool
  • A new Tool Two-Tone has been added
  • The Tool Pwned had to be removed (see below for details)

Besides several UI improvements, there are two highlights. There is the new NFC Reader and Writer which allows write to NDEF NFC Tags and the new Bonjour Tool and advanced Scanning improvements.

New NFC Reader / Writer

Apple has opened their API for improved NFC Tag reading and also writing in iOS 13. For implementing the new NFC Features I bought several different types or Tags for testing. Such Tags are available as Stickers, small or large and as Credit-Card size cards.

Using and writing such Tags is quite funny and could even be useful. For instance you can write a website link to a Tag and whenever you get close to the Tag with your iPhone (even without using my App), you will be prompted to open the website. This even works with Phone number if you would write something like ‘tel:1234’ to the Tag.

There are several different NFC standards available but I was able to read and write at least NDEF Standard Tags. What can’t be read are still Credit-Cards or Passports even though it’s technically possible but App Developers need to get permission from Apple to be able to develop Apps that can read such Tags as well. I did not apply for this because I doubt that Apple will give me permission.

Bonjour and Advanced Scanning

iOS 13 also adds some more networking and background processing features. This allowed me to completely re-write the Bonjour implementation and advanced scanning feature.

This way, you will now see way more information when performing a Network Scan or even when looking up IP Addresses from within other Tools (e.g. even the Pi-Hole Tool).

Since some networks were causing problems in the past when “Advanced-Scanning” was turned on, I changed it to be off by default.

I have changed this now back to on by default but if you are experiencing issues (e.g. unintentional crashes or freezes), please try to turn advanced scanning off (either in the settings or in the Network scan tool).

Had to remove the pwned tool

Unfortunately, I had to removed the “Have I been pwned” Tool. This tool used to use an API offered by Troy Hunt. . This API had been misuses by others so Troy had to remove free and public access to the API. However, you can still check your Email address on his website haveibeenpwned.com for free and I really recommend using this from time to time.

iOS 13 ceveats

As this version is now compatible with iOS 13 and even takes advantage of several new APIs and features of iOS 13, there are two disadvantages. One is, that the SSID and BSSID is no longer available for displaying in the Devices Tool. Apple has removed that information like others in the past for privacy reasons. This is debatable because there is additonal privacy related information still available to Apps and both SSID and BSSID can still be displayed from the Settings App or Apples Tools. However, it’s positive in general that Apple cares for privacy and it’s not such a big disadvantage. Another, also minor, drawback of this Update is, that it now requires at least iOS 11 and no longer iOS 10 as the previous version.

I hope you enjoy this update. Let me know if you are experiencing issues or have feature suggestions.

Stay safe!

Regards,

Marcus