Apple’s operating systems have always had their fair share of hidden easter eggs, but a recent discovery has generated quite a buzz. Users have found that every copy of macOS contains the original Bitcoin whitepaper, tucked away in its internal files.
This unusual find has captured the attention of social media users, but the reality is that it probably doesn’t hold any significant meaning. Let’s explore the reason behind this enigmatic inclusion.
The hidden Bitcoin whitepaper was brought to light once again after developer Andy Baio wrote an article about his discovery. While attempting to fix his printer, Baio stumbled upon a PDF copy of the whitepaper, penned by the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto – the individual credited with inventing Bitcoin. Intrigued, Baio asked his friends to check if the file could also be found on their Macs. To his astonishment, all of them confirmed its presence, dating back to macOS Mojave, released in 2018, and persisting in the latest version, macOS Ventura.
Curious users can verify the existence of the file on their Mac by running the following command in Terminal:
open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf
However, before anyone jumps to conclusions about Apple’s secret Bitcoin affiliations, it’s important to note that the presence of this file in macOS likely holds no hidden meaning. The file is part of the Image Capture app, a pre-installed utility that enables users to scan images from external scanners. Baio likely discovered the file due to the app’s connection to printer management.
This file was never meant to be discovered by ordinary users. It’s tucked away in a folder containing assets used for internal testing by Apple engineers. The same folder houses other random images and PDF files, which are used to simulate scanning and exporting documents without the need for an actual scanner.
So, why choose the original Bitcoin whitepaper for this purpose? The most plausible explanation is that it’s simply an inside joke among the Apple engineers working on the tool. Apple’s internal software is notorious for being riddled with references and jokes, as engineers don’t expect users to access these files.
In all likelihood, the engineers chose not to remove this tool from the final macOS build because it doesn’t contain any sensitive information. Nevertheless, it’s not every day that a hidden file about Bitcoin is discovered within Apple’s operating system.
According to Baio, a source has informed him that Apple engineers were aware of the Bitcoin whitepaper’s presence in macOS and never took action to remove it. However, given the recent attention it has garnered, it’s quite possible that Apple may decide to remove it in a future update.