Apple releases security update to fix more than 30 vulnerabilities on iPhones and iPads

Among the issues addressed are those that affect the operating system

Apple's iOS 16.4 is available for the iPhone 8 and subsequent models. AP
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Apple has released a security update for its operating systems to address more than 30 vulnerabilities on its flagship iPhone smartphones and iPads.

The updates, iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, are available for the iPhone 8 and subsequent models, third-generation iPad Air tablets and later versions, fifth-generation and later models of the iPad and iPad mini, and all iPad Pros, the California-based company said.

Apple said it does not discuss vulnerabilities it is made aware of, usually by users and through its bug bounty programme, and provides very minimal details “for our customers' protection”.

“Apple doesn't disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available,” the company said on its update information page.

Among the issues addressed are two that affect the operating system core kernel.

A kernel is a programme that acts as the primary interface between a computer and its hardware, managing components such as memory and system devices.

Any vulnerabilities that can be exploited can allow rogue users to bypass security measures and compromise the entire system.

A potential flaw was also found in Apple's Neural Engine, the component that optimises and accelerates processes and machine-learning tasks on its devices.

A fix was issued for the AppleMobileFileIntegrity kernel extension, removing potential access to protected parts of Apple's system and user-sensitive data.

Apple also issued a fix to prevent apps from gaining access to a user's contacts in its accessibility and identity services.

On Find My, Apple's service for tracking its devices, an issue of an app being able to read sensitive location information was fixed.

On WebKit, Apple's engine designed for its Safari internet browser, the company released a patch to prevent apps from tracking sensitive user information.

In addition to the security updates, the 16.4 release also features 21 new emojis, notifications for web apps on the home screen and voice isolation that blocks out ambient noise and prioritises the user's voice during calls.

It also optimised the crash-detection feature on the iPhone 14 devices and fixed an issue in which “Ask to Buy” requests from children may fail to appear on their parents' device.

Apple also issued a software update for its older devices, which also deals with security vulnerabilities.

The fixes, iOS 15.7.4 and iPadOS 15.7.4, are applicable to the iPhone 6, iPhone 7, first-generation iPhone SE, iPad Air 2, fourth-generation iPad mini and seventh-generation iPod touch devices.

Updated: March 29, 2023, 9:13 AM