Install iOS/iPadOS 14.4 Today to Block Three Big Vulnerabilities

Install iOS/iPadOS 14.4 Today to Block Three Big Vulnerabilities
Screenshot: David Murphy

There’s a brand-new update for iOS and iPadOS, and you shouldn’t dawdle about installing it. While version 14.4 of the two operating systems might not sound like it has a lot going on beyond rather generic “improvements and bug fixes” for your iPhone or iPad, there’s a bit more under the hood that you need to know about.

Mainly, iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 fix three critical security issues that “may have been actively exploited,” as Apple notes on its security updates page. The updated operating system addressees a kernel issue wherein, “a race condition was addressed with improved locking,” and two reported issues with WebKit, whereby, “a logic issue was addressed with improved restrictions.”

Those descriptions are both a bit jargon-heavy, but the simple explanation is that the vulnerabilities basically allowed malicious applications to run with elevated privileges or for attackers to execute code on your device remotely. Both of those are very bad things, and you should definitely install the latest iOS or iPadOS update to fix them.

Beyond that, iOS 14.4 adds in a few extra features, including the ability to specify what type of Bluetooth device you’ve connected to your iPhone or iPad so it can better track whether your audio levels are way too loud and potentially damaging your hearing. Your iPhone or iPad camera will also be able to correctly identify smaller QR codes, and Apple is fixing a bunch of iPhone bugs with this release:

  • “Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro
  • Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data
  • Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard
  • The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages
  • Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri
  • Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen”

And a few iPad bugs:

  • “Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard
  • The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages”

Apple is also introducing one new quirk into your iPhone 12 (and variants): your phone will now give you an annoying “warning” if it detects that its camera isn’t a “new, genuine Apple camera.” You’ll see the warning on your lock screen for the first four days after someone has repaired your device, and it’ll also appear in the settings app for a full half of a month. Your camera will still work — as best it can, if you have it replaced at some random repair store — but this will just be a bit of a hassle you’ll have to deal with.

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