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Apple Warns That Devices Running iOS 15, macOS 12 May Still Have ‘known Security Issues’

We had our suspicions, but Apple has finally clarified the distinction between ‘upgrades’ and ‘updates.’

Apple releases major updates to its operating systems during the fall season. Most people consider the new features when deciding when to install an upgrade, but perhaps it’s time to prioritize security during that process.

This is because Apple prioritizes major OS upgrades when deploying security patches. Apple stated in a support document posted on Monday (via Ars Technica) that only the most recent version of an operating system has the most recent security patches. “Because any current version of macOS (for example, macOS 13) is dependent on architecture and system changes,” Apple writes, “not all known security issues are addressed in previous versions (for example, macOS 12).”

Apple does release security updates for older operating systems—it released iOS 15.7.1, macOS Big Sur 11.7.1, and macOS Monterey 12.6.1 shortly after iOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura 13 earlier this week. However, those patches address what Apple considers critical vulnerabilities. Only the current operating system will receive less-critical patches as time passes.

Update vs. Upgrade

Apple’s support document also clarifies the terminology used by the company for OS patches. The following terms are used by the company:

This is the major release completed in the fall. The version number is usually changed by a whole number. For example, the recently released iOS 16 is an improvement over iOS 15. In the case of macOS, an upgrade includes a name change. Apple, for example, released macOS Ventura, an upgrade to macOS Monterey, last Monday.

Security patches are included in upgrades, but Apple emphasizes new features. The new features in the upgrades are frequently previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which takes place in late spring or early summer. Every now and then, Apple decides that an upgrade will mostly consist of security patches and bug fixes, with a few new features thrown in for good measure, but that hasn’t happened in a long time.

An upgrade is typically a large download that takes several minutes to install and necessitates a device restart.

Update: These are the frequently occurring OS releases that follow the major fall release. They are identified by incremental version numbers. For example, on Monday, Apple released iOS 16.1, an update to iOS 16 that was released in September.

Updates typically include security patches and bug fixes, but they may also include new features. iOS 16.1, for example, enables iCloud Shared Photo Library and several other features.

What if you rely on an older operating system?

There are numerous valid reasons why you should run an older version of an operating system. You have an older device with insufficient storage space, you rely on third-party software that won’t run in the new OS, or you simply don’t like how the new OS is implemented (as many readers have expressed).

Whatever the reason, it is critical to install updates as soon as Apple releases them. Even though they appear less frequently after the release of a new operating system, Apple will update them in critical situations.

Keep an eye out for browser updates as well. Because the internet is involved in many vulnerabilities, the browser you use must be updated to ensure a secure experience. Safari updates are frequently included with OS updates, but if you use Google Chrome, Firefox, or another browser, you must check with those developers separately.

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Best Top Reviews Online was established in 2018 to provide our readers with detailed, truthful, and impartial advice on what to buy. We now have millions of monthly users from all over the world and annually evaluate over a thousand products.

The above article was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which consists of some of the most knowledgeable technical experts in the United States. Our team consists of highly regarded writers with vast experience in smartphones, computer components, technology apps, security, and photography, among other fields.

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