Apple wants to make it quicker to roll out iOS security patches

If you recently installed a security patch on your iPhone or iPad running in beta mode, there is a good chance you installed a fake update designed to test Apple’s latest feature and not an actual security patch.

Last summer, Apple introduced a new feature to beta users designed to help roll out security patches quicker. Usually, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users would need to wait for Apple to release a cumulative update in order to get the latest vulnerability patches.

During the last WWDC conference, the company demonstrated a feature called Rapid Security Response which tackles this issue, by allowing users to download security patches as soon as they’re available.


Fake patches

But the feature is still being worked on and tested. Recently, users of iOS and iPadOS 16.2 beta received an update named “iOS 16.2 (a) (20C5049e)” which, as Apple confirmed to 9to5Mac, wasn’t an actual update, but a blank patch the company used to see if the feature is working properly.

Now, the Cupertino giant has pushed a second update to beta users – “iOS 16.2 (b) (20C7750490f)”. At the moment, it’s still unconfirmed if this is an actual update or just another test.

With Rapid Security Response key updates “can be applied automatically between standard software updates,” Apple said. Another key change is that some upgrades will no longer require the device to be restarted, but will, instead, take effect as soon as they are installed.

With iOS 16, Apple has also introduced a unique security feature called Safety Check, that allows abuse victims to quickly and seamlessly cut all ties with their abusers. Among other things, Safety Check allows users to remotely disable messaging on secondary devices, or turn off location tracking.

Face ID, a feature that allows Apple device owners to unlock their devices with their faces, rather than passwords or fingerprints, has also been upgraded to support landscape mode. So far the feature was confirmed to be working on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

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