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Security & privacy

Download this security update now if you have an older iPhone

Apple’s iPhone sells millions of units each year, but plenty of users don’t annually upgrade their devices. As a result, many older generation smartphones are still in use, like the iPhone 5 and 6.

The numbers might have dwindled since then, but five years ago, there were still 8 million iPhone 5s in circulation. Unfortunately, the model has long been obsolete because it doesn’t get Apple’s latest iOS updates.

Updates for older models ceased with iOS 12, so you won’t be able to use apps that require a newer operating version. But a serious security issue was recently discovered, forcing Apple to update older iPhone models. Keep reading to find out why it’s critical to get this update.

Here’s the backstory

Several security issues have cropped up on an older version of iOS, affecting iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad Mini 3, and iPod Touch (6th generation) devices. Earlier this week, Apple released an update for those devices, bringing the last compatible operating system version to iOS 12.5.4.

On a support page, Apple explained that three flaws are being patched. Users of the devices should update the operating system as soon as possible.

The first issue highlighted is a security flaw that leaves devices vulnerable to attack. “Processing a maliciously crafted certificate may lead to arbitrary code execution. A memory corruption issue in the ASN.1 decoder was addressed by removing the vulnerable code,” Apple explained.

For a WebKit issue designated as CVE-2021-30761, cyberattacks targeted the older phones with maliciously crafted web content. This could lead to arbitrary code execution, meaning attackers can infect the phone with malware.

Another WebKit flaw, actively exploited by hackers, left mobile phones vulnerable to attack. With improved memory management, the patch blocks a ‘use after free’ issue from processing maliciously crafted web content.

How to update your Apple devie

Even though the devices are many years old, they still need to be updated with the latest version to fully secure your data. The process is the same as with other iPhones, but your menus might look slightly different to the current iOS 14.

Updating iPhone and iPad:

  • Open Settings.
  • Scroll down and tap General.
  • Select Software Update.
  • If the update is available, tap Download & Install now.

Updating iPod Touch:

  • Plug your device into power and connect to the internet with Wi-Fi.
  • Go to Settings > General, then tap Software Update.
  • Tap Download and Install. If a message asks to temporarily remove apps because the software needs more space for the update, tap Continue or Cancel. Later, iPadOS will reinstall apps that it removed.
  • To update now, tap Install. Or you can tap Later and choose Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, just plug your device into power before you go to sleep. Your device will update automatically overnight.
  • If asked, enter your passcode.

Keep reading

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