Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin whitepaper can be found in any Mac running macOS Catalina or newer, but no one knows why.
Andy Baio, a blogger with an extensive history in the tech community, shared an odd discovery on his blog Waxy — the Bitcoin whitepaper can be found on any Mac running recent versions of macOS. It can be discovered via a simple Terminal command or by navigating Finder.
On any Mac running macOS Catalina or later, enter the following command into Terminal:
open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf
It should immediately open the Bitcoin whitepaper in Preview. This has been confirmed to only work on devices back to macOS Catalina, but older operating systems may have the file too.
To discover the file via Finder:
The user needs to navigate to the Macintosh HD -> System -> Library -> Image Capture -> Devices. Control-click on VirtualScanner.app and Show Package Contents, then open the Contents -> Resources folder -> simpledoc.pdf.
Baio reports that the Bitcoin whitepaper is used as a sample document for a device called "Virtual Scanner II." This device is hidden for some users or not installed by default.
After some digging, Baio discovered that he wasn't the first to find this hidden scanner or Bitcoin document. In 2021, an Apple Community post asked about it, and an odd photo taken on Treasure Island found in the Virtual Scanner II app.
It is indeed a mystery. No one in or out of Apple has stepped forward to explain why these files exist or what Virtual Scanner II is for.
AppleInsider was able to verify the Virtual Scanner II app and Bitcoin whitepaper both appear in macOS Ventura.