Apple released macOS Mojave in 2018, and since then, every macOS update has included a hidden copy of the original Bitcoin whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto, its presumed developer.
Recently, developer @Andy Baio accidentally found the PDF of the Bitcoin whitepaper while trying to fix his printer. Further investigation revealed that every macOS version, from Mojave 10.14.0 to the latest macOS Ventura 13.3, features a copy of the document. However, it was not available in High Siera 10.13 or earlier versions.
[Update; April 25, 2023: Apple recently seeded macOS Ventura 13.4 beta 3 to developers and beta testers. The latest beta update has quietly removed the mysterious Virtual Scanner II app and the Bitcoin Whitepaper.]
Why is there a Bitcoin whitepaper in macOS?
As per the report, the document is used as a sample document for a device called “Virtual Scanner II” which is hidden or not installed for all Mac users by default. Virtual Scanner II is likely used to run the “import from iPhone” feature.
Previously, designer Joshua Dickens found the document in 2020. When user @bernd178 posted about “Virtual Scanner II” and the PDF file on the Apple Community Forum in 2021, another user @Barney-15E added that it might be used for testing as it’s part of the OS. Besides that nothing was known about the purpose of the file till now.
Baio wrote that the file was put in by an engineer at Apple and might be removed in an upcoming update:
A little bird tells me that someone internally filed it as an issue nearly a year ago, assigned to the same engineer who put the PDF there in the first place, and that person hasn’t taken action or commented on the issue since. They’ve indicated it will likely be removed in future versions.
How to find a PDF of the original Bitcoin whitepaper on macOS
Users can access the file through Terminal or Finder if they are running macOS 10.14 or later versions:
- Terminal > System Settings > Library > Image CapturDevices > VirtualScanner.app > Contents > Resources > simpledoc.pdf.
- Finder > Macintosh HD > Settings > Library > Image CapturDevices > VirtualScanner.app > Devices > VirtualScanner.app > Show Package Contents > Resources folder > simpledoc.pdf.