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Apple just issued this urgent warning to iPhone users and you need to read it

iPhone Update

When Apple typically issues mid-cycle iOS updates, I don’t always update my iPhone immediately. Especially if the new update doesn’t address any serious security issues or have any compelling new features, I’ve never been in a rush to update my phone if things are already running smoothly. The recent release of iOS 14.5.1, however, is an exception and an update you’ll probably want to download as soon as possible.

Apple first released iOS 14.5 just about a week ago with a host of new features, including the company’s new App Tracking Transparency framework, new Siri voices, a multitude of new emojis, support for AirTags, and more. Just a few days later, Apple rolled out an iOS 14.5.1 update that it said addressed a bug associated with its App Tracking Transparency feature. An Apple support document, however, reveals that the new iOS update also addresses two serious security issues.

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While it’s not uncommon for iOS updates to tackle security issues or bugs, this update is different insofar that the security issues at play may have already been exploited in the wild. In other words, these aren’t theoretical security issues, but rather security issues with potentially real-world consequences.

Addressing the two security issues, Apple notes that it’s aware that both of them “may have been actively exploited.”

Both security issues involve WebKit and involve all iPhone models going all the way back to the iPhone 6s. A number of iPad models are impacted as well:

Apple details the security content of its iOS 14.5.1 and iPadOS 14.5.1 updates as follows:

WebKit

Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)

Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.

Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed with improved state management.

CVE-2021-30665: yangkang (@dnpushme)&zerokeeper&bianliang of 360 ATA

WebKit

Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)

Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.

Description: An integer overflow was addressed with improved input validation.

CVE-2021-30663: an anonymous researcher

Apple hasn’t provided more detailed information about how the issues above may have been exploited, but you’ll still want to update to iOS 14.5.1 as soon as you can.

Security issues aside, there are several other reasons to update to 14.5.1 if you’re still running iOS 14.4 or an even older iteration of iOS. To this point, some other iOS 14.5 features worth mentioning include:

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch

  • Ability to unlock your ‌iPhone‌ X and later with Apple Watch Series 3 and later when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask

AirTag and Find My

  • Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the Find My app
  • Precision Finding uses visual, audible, and haptic feedback to guide you directly to your nearby AirTag using Ultra Wideband provided by the U1 chip on iPhone 11 and ‌iPhone 12‌ models
  • AirTag can be located by playing a sound via the built-in speaker
  • The ‌Find My‌ network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn’t nearby
  • Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted

Siri‌

  • Siri now includes more diverse voice options
  • Incoming calls can be announced with ‌Siri‌, including who is calling, when you’re wearing your ‌AirPods‌ or compatible Beats headphones, and you can answer hands-free
  • Group FaceTime calls are supported by asking ‌Siri‌ to ‌FaceTime‌ a list of contacts or a group name from Messages
  • Emergency contacts can be called by asking ‌Siri‌
    Privacy

Podcasts

  • Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
  • Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
  • Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
  • Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows

5G Improvements

  • Dual SIM support enables 5G connectivity on the line that’s using cellular data on ‌iPhone 12‌ models
  • Smart Data Mode improvements further optimize your experience on 5G networks for better battery life and data usage on ‌iPhone 12‌ models
  • 5G international roaming enabled on supported carriers on ‌iPhone 12‌ models
    News
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A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.




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