Apple’s iOS 16.2 has just been released, along with some shiny new iPhone features and a hefty 35 security updates. But the release of iOS 16.2 also comes with a new version of iOS 15, iOS 15.7.2.
At first glance, this makes perfect sense. Apple has been updating iOS 15 alongside iOS 16 for the past few months with important security updates. As I’ve written before, the iOS 15 updates aren’t as detailed as the iOS 16 numbers and don’t include as many fixes.
With iOS 15.7.2, however, the updated software is only available for iPhones that cannot run iOS 16. That means if you have an iPhone 8 or later, you need to update to iOS 16 now if you want your device to stay secure.
Let me explain.
Apple limits the time support is available for older operating systems
Every year when Apple releases a brand new operating system update, as it did with iOS 16 this fall, it maintains support for those who are wary of upgrading. It’s certainly fair to do so, as the new operating system has been plagued by several bugs since its launch.
So far, Apple has updated iOS 15 with important security updates, namely iOS 15.7.1 and iOS 15.7.
But this support was always going to be limited, and with iOS 15.7.2 only being offered for older iPhones, it seems like time has passed.
iOS 15.7.2 and iOS 16.1.2 fix already exploited security flaw
I understand that you may be tempted to hold off on updating for a while to see if anyone else gets errors after updating to a new iOS version. But with iOS 15.7.2, it’s important that you update right away because it fixes a security flaw that’s already being used in real-life attacks.
Tracked as CVE-2022-42856, a security issue in WebKit, which is based on Apple’s Safari browser, could lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple says on its support page that it is “aware of a report that this issue may be actively exploited against iOS versions released prior to iOS 15.1.”
Now here’s the really confusing thing. Apple released the iOS 16.1.2 update a few weeks ago, fixing the same issue. However, it only updated its support page this week with patch details.
Although the flaw fixed in iOS 15.7.2 and iOS 16.1.2 was actively used against iOS versions prior to 15.1, there should still be a risk to other users. Therefore, you should apply one of these updates, or cut out the middle man and upgrade to iOS 16.2 as soon as you can.
I’ve asked Apple for comment on this story and will update my article if the company responds.
Why you should upgrade to iOS 16?
The moral of the story is that if your iPhone supports it, you should update to iOS 16 as soon as possible. “People should upgrade to iOS16 now,” said independent security researcher Sean Wright. “Apple has now had enough time to fix the issues, so concerns about moving to a new major version of iOS should be much less.”
There are also upcoming security features that will only be available in iOS 16, such as end-to-end encryption for iCloud, he notes.
“You can only be truly protected with the latest patches by having the most up-to-date iOS,” says Jake Moore, Global Cyber Security Consultant at ESET. He adds that relying on old devices that can’t be taken care of is “a risk people shouldn’t take.”
So in this case, at least for now, there is no way to stay on iOS 15 and stay safe unless you have an older iPhone. For those with an iPhone 8 or higher, it’s time to update to iOS 16.2, the latest version of iOS 16, to keep your iPhone safe.
To update your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update and download and install the latest version of iOS.