Tech blogger Andy Baio (Twitter) has made a curious discovery in Apple‘s macOS operating system: apparently, a PDF of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency whitepaper is hiding in every modern version of macOS.
According to Baio, this has affected every operating system version since the release of Mojave in 2018. Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto published the now famous Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008.
Andy Baio discovered this while he was in the process of fixing his printer. More than a dozen people in his circle of acquaintances who also use Apple computers have confirmed that the Bitcoin whitepaper is also in their macOS operating systems. They said the file is in every version of macOS from Mojave (10.14.0) to the current version, Ventura (13.3), but not High Sierra (10.13) or earlier.
Mac users: inside can investigate for themselves whether the PDF is hidden in their operating system. To do so, Baio says they need to open the Terminal program and enter the following command:
With macOS 10.14 or a newer version, the Bitcoin PDF should open immediately in the preview. Likewise, opening the Finder and clicking on Macintosh HD would be possible. Then one needs to open the folder System→Library→Image Capture→Devices. Clicking VirtualScanner.app while holding down the Ctrl key makes the package contents appear. In the Contents→Resources folder, you will find the file “simpledoc.pdf” containing the whitepaper.
In the Image Capture utility, the Bitcoin whitepaper is used as a sample document for a device called “Virtual Scanner II,” which is either hidden or not installed by default for everyone. It is unclear why it is hidden for some or what it is used for. It is also unclear why the Bitcoin whitepaper, in particular, is in macOS. The file is only 184 KB in size. So maybe it’s just a convenient, lightweight, multi-page PDF file for testing purposes never intended for end-user: in.
According to Baio, someone at Apple internally reported this peculiarity of macOS almost a year ago, apparently to the person who put the PDF there in the first place. Since then, however, nothing has happened, he says, and the person responsible has not taken any action or commented on the phenomenon. Apple has also not yet responded to inquiries about the curious discovery.