Apple has announced that a digital copy of the original Bitcoin whitepaper, which has been concealed within Macintosh computers’ operating system files since 2018, will be excluded from an upcoming operating system update, as reported by AppleInsider on Tuesday.
The belated discovery of the PDF document gained significant attention three weeks ago, adding to the list of easter eggs that Apple or its employees have secretly embedded over the years. The whitepaper remained undetected by millions of Apple users until 2020 when designer Joshua Dickens shared the finding on Twitter. Subsequently, a thread was initiated in Apple’s support forums in April 2021.
Here's a mystery: why do I have an Image Capture device called Virtual Scanner II on my Mac? It shows a preview of a painted sign that for some reason closely resembles a photo by @thomashawk on 'clustershot'? But not exactly — the scanned version looks more weathered. pic.twitter.com/jPb5kx3NyS
— Josh D (@schwa23) November 28, 2020
However, the discovery only garnered substantial attention after noted technologist Andy Baio discussed it last month. Baio questioned the rationale behind including the Bitcoin whitepaper and whether a Bitcoin enthusiast was working at Apple. He also speculated that the document might have been a convenient, lightweight multipage PDF for testing purposes, unintentionally accessible to end users.
The revelation even led Craig Wright, who has long claimed to be Bitcoin’s anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, to accuse Apple of copyright infringement. In 2021, Wright had obtained a court order to force Bitcoin.org to remove a copy of the whitepaper, but the website refused to comply.
Participants in Apple’s Beta Software Program have confirmed that the upcoming MacOS Ventura 13.4 version does not contain the Bitcoin whitepaper file or the other elements initially bundled with it. These elements, such as a test driver for a virtual scanner, were designed to assist developers with the operating system’s image capture module and were never intended for average users to discover.
Baio later revealed that an Apple insider informed him that the whitepaper’s presence was documented as a developer work ticket last year and assigned to the individual who initially included it in the system. At the time, no action had been taken regarding the ticket, but Baio stated, “They’ve indicated it will likely be removed in future versions.”