Easter Egg of the Week: The Bitcoin Whitepaper Is Hidden in Recent Versions of MacOS

Andy Baio:

If you’re on a Mac, open a Terminal and type the following command:

open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf

If you’re on macOS 10.14 or later, the Bitcoin PDF should immediately open in Preview. […]

Of all the documents in the world, why was the Bitcoin whitepaper chosen? Is there a secret Bitcoin maxi working at Apple? The filename is “simpledoc.pdf” and it’s only 184 KB. Maybe it was just a convenient, lightweight multipage PDF for testing purposes, never meant to be seen by end users.

There’s virtually nothing about this online. As of this moment, there are only a couple references to “Virtual Driver II” or the whitepaper file in Google results. Namely, this Twitter thread from designer Joshua Dickens in November 2020, who also spotted the whitepaper PDF, inspiring this Apple Community post in April 2021. And that’s it!

What a weird curiosity this hidden document is. I’d wager that now that Baio has written about it, it’ll get replaced with something innocuous soon — if not in MacOS 13.4, then in MacOS 14. Perhaps a transcript of Apple’s famous “Think Different” commercial? (That’s the text Apple uses for the document icon for TextEdit’s text files.)

Saturday, 8 April 2023