Rewind app wants your Mac to record every moment of your life

in macOS
Rewind claims to offer a way for Mac users to keep track of everything they've seen, said, or heard through their desktop, a history that could then be searched for references in the future.

The Mac has Spotlight for searching for documents and terms, with Siri offering a similar facility, but it is largely limited to text. A startup claims it can go much further, by recording everything that happens on a Mac and allowing users to search it.

Rewind, from Dan Siroker and Brett Bejcek aims to do that by building a search engine "for your life." Recording everything that happens on-screen, users can quickly go back in time to check what was shown or said to them.

The recording facility also does more than images, as it will also take note of things said in a meeting, such as Zoom or a FaceTime call. It will create a transcript of what was said or displayed in the call, which can then be searched.

While typical screen recording can result in a hefty recording size that is difficult to store long-term, the system instead uses compression to crush the recording data down. It is claimed that 10.5GB of recording data could be shrunk to occupy 2.8MB of space.

Rewind takes advantage of the Apple Silicon SoC, with it apparently using "virtually every part," according to the app's website. It also supposedly doesn't tax system resources while recording, minimizing its impact.

The app is also claimed to be highly private as it can store the data of recordings on the Mac itself, rather than on cloud servers. Its creators also claim it won't be selling user data or "do advertising" with it.

For the moment, the app is free with a subscription planned. It is also currently available in a limited beta, with no indication of when it will formally release.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 14
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,802member
    1) If somebody is running this it bloody well better tell whomever is on the other end of the Zoom/FaceTime/Teams conversation that they are being recorded.
    2) Can you say security risk? I don’t know how they are saving and protecting the file with this goldmine of data but it will have a huge target on its backside. Why put spyware on somebodies computer when all you have to do is find and copy this data file. 

    Pass. Somebody might find this useful, but I find it creepy beyond all reason. 
    edited November 2022 baconstangscstrrfmacpluspluswilliamlondonappleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,034member
    What could possibly go wrong?
  • Reply 3 of 14
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,114member
  • Reply 4 of 14
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,596member
    In theory, a universal recorder application could be both helpful and secure. But when it comes to our data's privacy, we should start off being skeptics, and make companies earn our trust. We should not "start from a position trust" and require proof to become skeptics.

    • The fact that they "can" store data locally and not in the cloud doesn't mean that it won't have an option to actually store data on the cloud. In that case, is our data visible to their employees, like most webcam online services can be monitored by their company's employees? Why don't they talk about this? It sounds like they are being secretive about how pour privacy is protected. They should be completely open about their security architecture and key management. Right now, I don't see any details. Without details, they can't earn my trust.
    • The fact that they will have a subscription services suggests to me that the software will require an internet connection to validate your subscription, which means data is being sent from my computer to their servers on the Internet. That's worrisome. Can they please sell a version that doesn't require Internet communication, so we can easily validate our privacy and security using network sniffer tools? If any software should come with an option to purchase without required internet connectivity, it should be software that has access to all the data on my computer, including financial, health and personal data.
    • Might they be copying Zoom's and Eufy's business model of hiring programmers who work in hostile dictatorships with a record of serious (and possibly intentional) security bugs? I can't find the answers on their website.
    • Apple has built several secure products and services like HealthKit API. Is this software going to bypass the security features of these Apple Services, by recording things like your health data in other locations that compromise Apple's security design? It sounds like it will.
    At this point in time, my trust for their software is fairly close to zero. But I look forward to seeing evidence that they are worthy of a higher number than that.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,070member
    Uh…no. Shut off your computer and start living. 
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 241member
    This is the future. Especially with VR. Everything you say or do is going to be recorded. And you really won’t have any idea it’s happening. All you narcissist abusers, your days are numbered…
  • Reply 7 of 14
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    I think I'll pass. One of life's joys is selective memory, the ability to choose to forget and trying to remember thing's forgotten. Nothing worse when you are I a conversation and briefly hesitate on naming an actor, a movie, a year, a whatever, and everybody immediately reach for their phones. 

    From a surveillance perspective however, I imagine the app has great potential. 
  • Reply 8 of 14
    ... should we be contemplating iCloud servers as well ...?
  • Reply 9 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,416member
    If this can be run on work-issued Macs it will be a boon to companies who are into surveilling their employees, especially their employees who work from home. Similar services like this are already out there, at least ones that take periodic snapshots. Employees know the surveillance is in place but running the service on company issued assets can become a condition of employment. As long as they time box the recordings to the employees’ working hours it’s par for the course and not too unlike law enforcement body cams.

    Compressing the files makes it easy to upload them to a server where they could potentially be run through AI to look for non-billable activities and employees could potentially be docked pay. Put down that magazine and get back on the hamster wheel! Yeah, this all starts to sound a lot like a build-up to a Black Mirror style dystopian future for computer users.

    We will someday all rue the day when we left the “ C:\ “ prompt and floppy disks behind. 
    edited November 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    First of all, wouldn’t running on a reliable VPN (including your sign in, to prevent them from getting back to to make requests from your MAC address.  Okay, so then could it push data to their server.  You could monitor your network traffic to look at data amounts that deviate from expected.  If traffic via VPN is encrypted, that contributes to safety. 
    Why bother to go through these hoops? 
    One good use is for someone with Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment, who can still use a computer. 

    i have a personal use case whereby I take medication during short periods of treatment that affect my memory as a side-effect for two to three days about every 6 months.  I’ve been looking for a way to review those days . Replay at 2x speed with pitch adjustment could be valuable during treatment. 
    I do hope more is learned about what is really going on as to verifiable trust with this software.  

    Otherwise I’ll have to have a developer friend help me write software with similar functions.  

    As it might apply to memory degradation in Alzheimer's or some form of dementia, an example is a friend of a friend with early Alzheimer’s that could certainly benefit if this is safe and private. Later when she has more advanced difficulties, her husband or oldest daughter could review with her. 

    Movie Trailer making software that has ML and AI could conceivably automate the process for a much shorter review.  
    This really could be an important medical aide. So if this particular software doesn’t end up being totally private, it shows what a developer could produce as long as the privacy is verifiable and certifiable by a third party medical organization.

    Since this only applies to working at a Mac computer, I’ve had further thought of a medical aide for memory impairment. 
    I’ve already had a conversation with my developer friend regarding a pedant that records voices/sound and video or periodic photos plus GPS location that would provide reviews for the mildly impaired or for caretakers with more serious impairment. See below regarding solving the ethical dilemma of recording others without consent. 

    This would require an advanced directive of permission by patient or by their legal guardian as well as requiring a doctor to prescribe the device. Unfortunately, medical devices made by large makers of medical devices tend to be outrageously high. Could an iPhone recording of a medical pendant recorder bring down the price? 

    The one hang up we haven’t solved is is the ethics of those recorded without their knowledge.  An industry standard that is widely made known to the public for something like a blinking red light and an occasional beep or chirp might be acceptable— then again, maybe not. 

    Any ideas from the crowd?
  • Reply 11 of 14
    I can imagine this could become a legal landmine when running on any device that has applications that require HIPPA Compliance.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    Oh dear, this will not end well.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    thttht Posts: 5,496member
    Wonder if MirrorWorlds, David Gelernter, are going to sue them? Anything with a hint of scrolling through a time history, or just plan scrolling through a set of windows usually means they will sue. Perhaps the patents have now run out now, so people will be free of it, but you never know.
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