Here’s Why You Need To Update Your Apple Devices Right Away

Wasn’t it just the other day you were updating your iPhone’s iOS? Well, guess what? It’s time to update all of your Apple products again.

The new iOS 10.2.1 was recently released, and most of the fixes are for security reasons.

Top-level hackers working for Google’s Project Zero found these vulnerabilities and told Apple about them. Over a dozen security issues were brought up.

A couple of issues involved the use of malicious apps that could “execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges,” which is a fancy way of saying hackers could take complete control of your device.

Flickr | Sean MacEntee

“It can add files, delete files, or execute any actions,” JP Taggart, senior security researcher at Malwarebytes, told Wired. “Want to record conversations and forward them to someone else? It can do that. Want to install additional malicious software? It can do that. Want to uninstall programs on the affected phone? It can do that. Want to hide these actions, programs and files from the user? It can do that too.”

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There were also instances where WebKit was vulnerable. This is the browser engine that supports Safari, the App Store and many iOS apps. The vulnerabilities with WebKit are more significant, since WebKit doesn’t have the same amount of filtered vetting that other programs do.

The good news is that these risks were found by top-level hackers working for Google, aka “the good guys.”

No security breaches have been reported yet; if there were, it would most likely involve nation-states targeting government officials or CEOs of large companies, according to Taggart.

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In order to keep your information safe, it’s important to update your device. This affects the following:

  • iPhone 5 models and newer
  • 4th-generation iPads and newer
  • 6th-generation iPod Touches and newer
  • Any computers running macOS Sierra
  • Newest Apple TV
  • Every model of Apple Watch

Here is what you have to do, according to Quartz:

On iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: Open Settings > General > Software Update

On a Mac computer: On top-left of the screen, click  > About This Mac > Software Update…

On an Apple TV: Open Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software

On an Apple Watch: On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch App > General > Software Update > Download

For similar security reasons, Apple also released updates for Safari web browser, and the Windows versions of its iCloud and iTunes software.

Go ahead and update your software now. Those cat videos can wait a few minutes.