Rapid Security Responses are currently being tested as part of iOS 16.2 and could be released within the following month.
Apple released its new Rapid Security Responses feature to iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 beta testers today. The mechanism, which is designed to expedite the delivery of security updates for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, was announced at WWDC and began testing in October. It appears to be ready for deployment, although we do not yet know when it will be made available to macOS testers.
According to the Twitter account Appleosophy, this initial Rapid Security Response lacks actual security content. According to Apple, it is “for testing purposes only.”
Just in: Apple releases Rapid Security Response Update for iOS 16.2 beta testers. This update comes with important security fixes without requiring a full iOS update.
UPDATE: The Rapid Security Response Update released earlier today for iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 beta testers were for testing purposes only and do not contain any security content.
However, future updates of this type may be extremely significant. Apple’s only current method for distributing patches for security vulnerabilities is through updates to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, such as iOS 16.1 and macOS 13.0.1. The new mechanism enables the company to separate patches and distribute them more quickly and nimbly without having to update the entire operating system. If a Rapid Security Response is available for the iOS version your device is running, it will download it (assuming you have Rapid Security Responses enabled). You only need to quickly install and restart your device (or quit Safari if the fix is browser-specific) to obtain the security updates.
Apple already has a security patch distribution advantage over Google’s Android platform because its users are more diligent about installing updates. (They are also reminded to update their content more frequently.) Since 2015, Google has provided monthly security updates, while Apple’s are released much less frequently. This new feature accelerates the company’s response to flaws and vulnerabilities even further, and will hopefully prevent bugs from causing damage.