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Update your iPhone now to fix a bug that could let hackers take control of Apple devices

Published Aug 19th, 2022 6:17PM EDT
iOS 16 Lock Screen redesign.
Image: Apple

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Earlier this week, Apple rolled out a series of software updates for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple’s release notes explained that the updates included “important security updates,” but the company didn’t offer any additional details. A short time later, Apple published pages on its support site describing the security content of the updates, and if you planned on waiting to install the latest updates, you might want to reconsider.

Update your Apple devices ASAP

The updates that Apple released on Wednesday patch two major security flaws. The first is a problem with Safari’s WebKit engine that allows hackers to process “maliciously crafted web content [that] may lead to arbitrary code execution.” According to Apple, a report suggests that hackers might have actively exploited this flaw.

Even more concerning, Apple says another vulnerability in its software could allow an app to “execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.”

The “kernel” is the core of the code in an operating system. It has access to everything on the hardware. If hackers gained kernel privileges, they could theoretically take total control over your devices. Apple believes that hackers actively exploited this vulnerability as well. If that doesn’t convince you to update your devices, I don’t know what will.

If you haven’t already, download and install iOS 15.6.1 on iPhone, iPadOS 15.6.1 on iPad, and macOS Monterey 12.5.1 on Mac as soon as possible.

How to update on iPhone and iPad

Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update and then tap “Download and Install” at the bottom of the page. If you want, you can also install an iPhone update through iTunes by connecting your iOS device to your computer. Whichever method you choose, just make sure to back up your devices before installing the update. You can never be too careful!

How to update on Mac

Open the Apple menu in the corner of your screen and click on System Preferences. After it opens, click on Software Update in that window, and it finds new software, click Update Now or Upgrade Now to start installing the latest software update.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.