Sunday, June 16, 2024
SOFTWARE

iOS 14.7.1 brings a major zero-day exploit fix

Just days after the release of the final beta of iOS 14.6, and before it is released to the general public, Apple began beta testing iOS 14.7. A point-seven release ties iOS 14 with iOS 13 for the most point releases of any iOS version ever. Even that is a bit of a technicality, as iOS 13.7 was released in September of 2020, many months after iOS 13.6, just to get the new COVID-19 contact tracing technology out to as many people as possible.

That said, we’ve seen iOS releases in July before, so the timing of this update is not particularly unusual. Associated operating systems—iPadOS 14.7, tvOS 14.7, and watchOS 7.6—have also been released.

Updated 07/26/21: Apple has released iPadOS 14.7.1 with a fix for the bug that causes iPhones with Touch ID to be unable to unlock an paired Apple Watch. The update also provides important security updates:

iOS 14.7.1 fixes an issue where iPhone models with Touch ID cannot unlock a paired Apple Watch using the Unlock with iPhone feature. This update also provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.

What’s new in iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7

This is a fairly minor update, but there are a handful of new features. This release adds support for the official Apple MagSafe Battery Pack, lets you set credit limits with a Apple Card Family shared account, lets you adjust HomePod timers in the Home app, and more. Here are the full release notes:

  • MagSafe Battery Pack support for iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Apple Card Family adds the option to combine credit limits and share one co-owned account with an existing Apple Card user
  • Home app adds the ability to manage timers on HomePod
  • Air quality information is now available in Weather and Maps for Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea, and Spain
  • Podcasts library allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows
  • Share playlist menu option missing in Apple Music
  • Dolby Atmos and Apple Music lossless audio playback may unexpectedly stop
  • Battery service message that may have disappeared after reboot on some iPhone 11 models is restored
  • Braille displays could show invalid information while composing Mail messages

The release notes for iPadOS 14.7 are identical, with the exception of MagSafe Battery Pack support (as iPads don’t have MagSafe) and Air Quality in Weather and Maps (as iPadOS does not have a Weather app for some reason).

Both iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 feature a lot of security improvements, which Apple has detailed here. Of particular note, iOS 14.7.1 brought a single fix for a major vulnerability that may be related to the Pegasus spyware:

IOMobileFrameBuffer

  • Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)
  • Impact: An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.
  • Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed with improved memory handling.
  • CVE-2021-30807: an anonymous researcher

How to get iOS 14.7 or iPadOS 14.7

Updating your iPhone to iOS 14.7 (or iPad to iPadOS 14.7) is simple. Just open the Settings app and tap on General and then Software Updates to download the latest release. It can take up to a few hours to become available everywhere around the globe, so don’t be alarmed if it’s not there right away on July 19.

If it’s already more than a day after release and you still don’t see it, try powering your phone down by holding the side button and volume up button for a few seconds, then sliding the “Slide to Power off” control. After waiting for a minute, press and hold the side button for a few seconds to turn your iPhone or iPad back on, and check for the update again.

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