This week, Apple released iOS 14.8 as an emergency software update to fix a serious security flaw. While the move is worrying, security experts have said that the average user shouldn’t be too concerned. Nonetheless, all Apple users are urged to update their operating systems immediately.
Read on to find out more about Apple’s emergency software update including what it is, who it’s for and how to do it.
What is Apple’s emergency software update?
Apple’s emergency update was released on September 13, 2021 after a flaw was found that allowed Pegasus spyware to infect iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Mac computers. After identifying the vulnerability buried in iMessage’s code, Apple rapidly developed and deployed security updates in iOS 14.8, iPadOS 14.8 and macOS to protect users.
The breach was discovered by security researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab who said it could open a phone to eavesdropping and remote data theft. This includes tracking texts, emails and calls, as well as switching on a device’s camera and microphone, without the user’s knowledge.
Unlike most low-level malware, the ‘zero click’ flaw is very serious as it requires no action or clicks from the user. Citizen Lab, who immediately contacted Apple, said it was the first time a ‘zero-click’ exploit had been identified and analyzed.
Apple iOS 14.8 – should I update?
It’s only a matter of days before the next big software update, iOS 15, goes on general release. However Apple has released iOS 14.8 which it says “provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.” It’s a surprise release for users, but it is still a critical update that you should install immediately.
Although the release notes don’t say much, you will find more information on Apple’s official security page, with two crucial fixes listed for iOS 14.8 and iPadOS 14.8.
The good news is, the release seems to be a stable one, with few bug reports. However we will keep this page updated with any relevant flaws or features so be sure to check back. You might want to wait for iOS 15 to upgrade, but you should update right now to iOS 14.8 to keep your phone safe.
This is a relatively small update for only two vulnerabilities. The first is a vulnerability in the CoreGraphics framework and the second is on the Apple WebKit browser engine. Apple says it is purely about security, stating that it’s here to fix the issues, both of which could lead to arbitrary code execution.
For Coregraphics, an integer overflow was addressed with improved input validation, while for WebKit, a use after free issue was addressed with improved memory management. The updates are available for iPhone 6s and later, including iPhone SE, plus the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch 7th generation.
How to do Apple’s emergency software update
The iOS 14.8 update can be downloaded for free and is available on all eligible devices via the Settings app. You can update your iPhone, going into the Settings app, choosing general, then choosing Software Update. So, it’s Settings > General > Software Update. Apple has also rolled out iPadOS 14.8 for iPad users.
It’s likely that iOS 14.8 will be the final update to the iOS operating system as we are expecting iOS 15 in just a matter of days. For beta testers, if you are running iOS 15, you must un-enrol your iPhone first before iOS 14.8 will show up.
Do I need to change my privacy settings?
No. All you need to do is update your operating system to keep your phone secure. You don’t need to change any privacy settings or features on your phone.
iOS 15 release date
Apple has set the iOS.15 release date for September, 20, 2021. However it will allow users to keep using iOS 14 if they don’t want to update to iOS 15 just yet. For that reason, iOS 14 will continue to get security updates, but the new features will likely be limited to iOS 15.
What new features are coming?
iOS 15 will include a range of new features, including some changes to notifications and a new ‘focus mode’ that will allow users to hide notifications that might not be relevant. The update also brings with it added privacy features and complete redesigns for Maps, Weather and Safari.
Apple has also said it will introduce a new tool called SharePlay, which will enable people to watch films or listen to music together while they are on FaceTime. However, this feature will not be ready for iOS 15 and will be released later on.
Need help with iOS 14.8?
When updating to iOS 14.8 you will not meet any challenges in your use of the PlotProjects SDK. But if you have any concerns, please contact us today.