Why you should update your iPhone immediately

Hand holds iPhone with lock on screen

If you have an Apple iPhone, you will want to check to see if you have the latest iOS update. A recently discovered security risk could leave your iPhone vulnerable to hackers, making your personal data, documents, and photos open to theft.

Apple credited The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy for its assistance. Citizen Lab notified the company of the security issue.

In a Sept. 7 statement, The Citizen Lab announced it found spyware on the iPhone of “an individual employed by a Washington, DC-based civil society organization with international offices.”


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The spyware, known as BlastPass, attacks the phone via images sent to the victim via iMessage. The most troubling aspect of this attack is that the victim does not have to interact with the images. Once the attachments are sent, the spyware can activate.

This spyware can affect anyone running iOS version 16.6 on their iPhone.

 “We urge everyone to immediately update their devices,” Citizen Lab advised.

Know Which Version of iOS You Have

To find out which version of the Apple operating system is currently on your iPhone, tap the “Settings” icon on your home screen. That will bring up your settings list. Then, you’ll want to find the “General” label on that list, marked below in yellow.

Screengrab showing iPhone settings screen
Simplemost/Marie Rossiter

Next, tap “General” and that will bring you to a new list. At the top of that list, you’ll see “About.” When you click on that item, you will see which version of iOS is downloaded on your iPhone. If it says 16.6 or lower, you’ll want to download the latest security update ASAP.

Download the iOS Security Update

Fortunately, getting the update is simple. You should see a notification on your “Software Update” menu, located just below the “About” menu mentioned above. Tap on “Software Update” and you should see the update ready to download to your iPhone.

Screengrab showing iPhone update screen
Simplemost/Marie Rossiter

Tap “Install Now” to begin the update process, which only takes a few minutes.

Once your iPhone restarts on its own, it will notify you the security update is complete.

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Enable Lockdown Mode

The Citizen Lab suggests that if you are at higher risk because of your work or your identity, you should activate Lockdown Mode to block certain attachment types, web technologies, FaceTime, invitations to Apple services, and shared albums. Lockdown Mode also stops you from connecting to another device.

Go to “Settings,” find “Privacy & Security” and then tap “Lockdown Mode” and turn it on. You’ll need to restart your phone.

Your phone is now safe from the most recent attempt by hackers to illegally access your private information.

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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. Visit Scripps News to see more of Marie's work.

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