Apple updates iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac with rare last-minute bug fixes



Jason Hiner/ZDNET

iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac users now have one more update to install before new versions of the respective operating systems are unveiled later this month. Just days ahead of its 2023 launch event on September 12, Apple has released a new round of bug-fixing updates for its core products.

For iPhone and iPad users, iOS 16.6.1 and iPadOS 16.6.1 are now available to be installed on the iPhone 8 and later, all models of the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 3rd generation and later, the iPad 5th generation and later, and the iPad mini 5th generation and later.

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This update fixes two different vulnerabilities. One affects the ImageIO framework, which lets apps read and write different types of files. The flaw would have allowed the processing of a “maliciously crafted image” to trigger arbitrary code execution, meaning the bad guys could have taken control of your device.

The other bug involves the Wallet app and also could have allowed for arbitrary code execution on your iPhone or iPad. In resolving both flaws, Apple said it knew of reports that these issues may have been actively exploited.

To install the update on your iPhone or iPad, head to Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download and Install to apply the update.

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For Apple Watch wearers, WatchOS 9.6.2 is now waiting to be installed. Available for the Apple Watch Series 4 and later, this update resolves the same Wallet vulnerability found on the iPhone and iPad. To install this one, open the Watch app on your iPhone, go to General and then Software Update, and then tap Download and Install.

And for Mac users, MacOS Ventura 13.5.2 is ready and waiting. This update fixes an ImageIO bug similar to the one discovered on the iPhone and iPad. This is another one that could have led to arbitrary code execution and may have been actively exploited. 

Pushing out updates just days in advance of a launch event is rare for Apple, so these must have been important bug fixes that needed to be rolled out quickly. Next Tuesday, September 12, Apple is expected to raise the curtain on its new iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods, and potentially other products.

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Along with the new products will be brand new versions of iOS/iPadOS, WatchOS, MacOS, and TvOS. Apple typically releases new versions of its respective operating systems about a week after the launch event, so expect them around September 19.


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