Your Mac has had a hidden Bitcoin whitepaper since 2018

MacBook Pro 14-inch in coffee house
(Image credit: iMore)

If you've used a Mac with macOS Mojave or later installed you've probably also used a Mac with the Bitcoin whitepaper on it as well.

That doesn't mean that you or the Mac's owner is a Bitcoin truther, though. It seems that Macs have had the whitepaper hidden on their SSD since 2018 and nobody seems to really know why that might be.

But it's definitely there. We've checked. And now you can as well.

Taking your Mac to the moon

The whole strange situation was reported by Andy Baio over at where the developer reports trying to fix a printer issue before finding a PDF copy of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper infamous whitepaper.

Nobody knows who Nakamoto is, nor do we know who put the whitepaper there. But it seems to have been used as a test document for a device called Virtual Scanner II in the Image Capture app.

Want to take a look for yourself? Because you can.

To test the theory for yourself, open a Terminal window and enter the following without the scare quotes — "open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/" and press Return.

When you do, Preview should open the PDF ready for your perusal.

Now, you don't need to be rocking any of Apple's latest and best Macs for this to work. Baioi says they found the file on Macs going back to 2018's macOS Mojave, so this isn't a macOS Ventura thing. Not by a long shot.

As for what's going on, nobody knows. But this isn't the first time the whitepaper has been spotted — it was also reported in an Apple Community post two years ago.

Amazingly, Baio says that "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."


Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.