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Security & privacy

Update your iPhone! New update patches 3 vulnerabilities

Apple has started rolling out several security patches for its devices. If you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, you should install the latest updates as soon as possible to avoid serious security threats. Tap or click here to find out how to remove a virus from your iPhone or iPad.

It is Apple’s policy not to disclose security threats or breaches until an investigation has taken place. When an update is made available, you know that Apple is taking it seriously and you should follow its advice.

The latest patch plugs a few holes in the iOS kernel and WebKit, but it’s not all security-focused. It also brings with it several improvements for your device.

What can these security flaws do to your Apple device?

  • iOS 14.3 has a security flaw
  • The flaw affects the iOS/ iPadOS Kernel and WebKit
  • It can give a hacker complete access to your device
  • It can also cause malicious apps to infiltrate your data
  • You should update to iOS 14.4 immediately

An anonymous researcher alerted Apple to a flaw in iOS 14.3, where an attacker could theoretically take control of a device. The company didn’t go into much detail surrounding the possible intrusion, simply saying that a malicious application may be able to elevate privileges.

That means an app loaded with malware may be able to access functions and operations on your device that it normally wouldn’t have access to. This could include things like your email address, telephone number or even Apple Pay details. This could also trigger remote access, and the hacker would have total control of your phone.

Apple didn’t independently confirm whether the exploit has been used but said that it “is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

For WebKit, Apple details that “a remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution.” Again, it would allow a hacker to trigger things in the device that it isn’t supposed to.

In addition to iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4, updates were also released for watchOS 7.3 and tvOS 14.4.

What else is in the patch?

Several improvements have been bundled into the iOS 14.4 update — the majority fixing issues with the camera.

  • Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera.
  • Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications.
  • Notifications for when the camera on your iPhone cannot be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera in iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro.
  • The fitness widget may not display updated Activity data.
  • Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear on the keyboard.
  • The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages.
  • Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri.
  • Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen.

How to update Apple devices

It is highly recommended that you update your Apple devices as soon as an update is released. Not only will it fix any security issues, but you’ll also get the latest features.

Here’s how you can update all of your Apple devices:

On an iPhone or iPad:

  • Open the Settings app and choose General.
  • Click Software Update.
  • If an update is available, download and install it. If not, your device may have automatically updated already.

On an Apple Watch:

  • Follow the above instructions to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.
  • Make sure that your Apple Watch is at least 50% charged.
  • Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi.
  • Keep your Apple Watch on its charger until the update completes.
  • On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, then tap the My Watch tab. 
  • Tap General, followed by Software Update.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to install the update.

On an Apple TV:

  • Open Settings on Apple TV.
  • Go to System Software Updates and select Update Software. If an update is available, a message appears.
  • Select Download and Install to start downloading. During the update process, don’t disconnect your Apple TV. The status light may flash slowly during the update process.

On a Mac:

  • Click the Apple icon on the menu bar at the top of the screen and click System Preferences.
  • Click Software Update.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the updates.

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