@MichaIng opened this Issue on November 30th 2021

Expected Behavior

Since it is released for a while and AFAIK macOS users are not as afraid of updates as Windows users (?), I'd expect macOS 11 to be among the most used versions of this family.

Current Behavior

Mac 10.15 14.4% 11,254
Mac 10.13 0.6% 471
Mac 10.14 0.6% 452
Mac 10.11 0.1% 86
Mac 10.12 0.1% 41
Mac 11.0 0% 17
Mac 10.8 0% 14
Mac 10.10 0% 13

Hmm, 17 overall macOS 11 visits among ~80,000, while macOS 10.15 was (still) used by >11,000 visits? I think the macOS version is not detected correctly. Sadly I wasn't able to find where it is actually derived. I see $parser->getOs('version'); being used, but not where this function is defined, which must be somewhere in the DeviceDetector.

Possible Solution

Steps to Reproduce (for Bugs)



Your Environment

  • Matomo Version: 4.6.0
  • PHP Version: 8.1.0
  • Server Operating System: Debian Bookworm
  • Additionally installed plugins:
    API, Actions, Annotations, BulkTracking, CoreAdminHome, CoreConsole, CoreHome, CorePluginsAdmin, CoreUpdater, CoreVisualizations, CoreVue, DBStats, DarkTheme 1.1.7, Dashboard, DevicePlugins, DevicesDetection, Diagnostics, Goals, ImageGraph, Insights, Installation, Intl, LanguagesManager, Live, LogViewer 4.0.1, Login, Marketplace, Monolog, Morpheus, PagePerformance, PrivacyManager, Proxy, Referrers, Resolution, SEO, SegmentEditor, SitesManager, TrackingSpamPrevention 4.1.0, Transitions, UserLanguage, UsersManager, VisitFrequency, VisitTime, VisitorInterest, VisitsSummary, WebsiteMeasurable
  • Browser:
  • Operating System:
@Findus23 commented on November 30th 2021 Member

Do you by chance have the useragent these visitors sent to Matomo?
If so, you can test at https://devicedetector.lw1.at how Matomo (or more precisely DeviceDetector) would detect it.

But I think in this it is an intentional feature by Apple: They are sending the same old user agent for every single browser version to limit the possibility of fingerprinting there.
You can read about it here for example:

Froze the user-agent string to reduce web compatibility risk and to prevent its use for fingerprinting

@MichaIng commented on November 30th 2021

We have no access logging enabled and as far as I can see the user agent itself is not stored by Matomo (?). But your link is a pretty good explanation. Just wondering how the 17 macOS 11.0 visits were detected then 😄.

Their first reason is a pretty funny one, as the user agent can be exactly used by websites to check or assure compatibility with a client while using as modern web features as possible. Hence freezing it implies a risk of either being presented with an incompatible website (e.g. the website knows about the freeze and then treats all those agents as newest macOS) or with a less appealing compatible one if the website decides to treat all those agents as lowest possible macOS version. In case of Safari this is e.g. relevant for knowing whether webp images can be provided or not, as this is only supported on Safari >=14 from Big Sur on. There are more reliable ways, I know, but freezing a user agent definitely has a higher change of breaking compatibility than preventing it, when the websites makes use of it at all.

And with the ratio of macOS systems vs versions out there, for privacy the user agent is of minor interest, while blocking ads and commercial tracking providers is what one should invest in.

However, the question is how to deal with this in Matomo: If there is no other way to derive the macOS version, showing 10.5 - 12, 10.5 or newer, >=10.5 or something instead? (I recognised just now that macOS 12 was released last month)

@sgiehl commented on December 1st 2021 Member

Some useragents still include information that makes it possible to determine the correct version. You can see the regexes for that here:
Even though Safari might have frozen the user agent string, that doesn't apply for all other apps or browsers on apple devices.

@MichaIng commented on December 1st 2021

I see, not sure how to resolve it best as we cannot know whether it is the correct version or the frozen (false) version then. But currently Matomo gives false/misleading information for the majority of macOS systems, so something needs to be changed.

@peterhashair commented on December 21st 2021 Contributor

@MichaIng I guess mac has some privacy protection. Like my system is on 12.1, but my user agent is displayed as 10.15.7


@MichaIng commented on December 21st 2021

Jep, as linked by Findus23 above. Still not sure how this protects your privacy as it still does not contain private information. If Apple would allow anonymous usage of their OSes and App stores, that would be something, but freezing the user agent? 🤔

@sgiehl commented on February 22nd 2022 Member

Closing this one. It should get solved with #16125

This Issue was closed on February 22nd 2022
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