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Apple starts rolling out iOS 10.2.1 update, fixes bugs and security holes


21 Jun 2013
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Roughly a month after the iOS 10.2 update was released, Apple has now rolled out a follow up update, the iOS 10.2.1. Now, this isn’t a major update and you wouldn’t see any evident changes after updating you iPhone. However, despite being a minor update, it’s important and you ought to download it as soon as you reasonably can.

The update includes “bug fixes and improves security of your iPhone and iPad.” While the update description is vague, Apple details over a dozen vulnerabilities in all in the iOS 10.2.1 release, including 11 focused around WebKit, the browser engine behind Safari, the App Store, and lots of iOS apps. They also include two instances in which a malicious application could execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges, which is to say, it could take complete control of your device.

Several of the WebKit vulnerabilities can also lead to arbitrary code execution, and are potentially much more dangerous. It so happens because, while Apple does everything to limit the number of malicious apps in its ecosystem through App Store vetting, the WebKit presents a less filtered opportunity for malice.

“It can add files, delete files, or execute any actions. Want to record conversations and forward them to someone else? It can do that. Want to install additional malicious software? It can do that. Want to uninstall programs on the affected phone? It can do that. Want to hide these actions, programs and files from the user? It can do that too,” Wired quotes JP Taggart, senior security researcher at Malwarebytes, as saying.

In addition to that, the update fixes the bug that causes Auto Unlock to unlock when the Apple Watch is off the user’s wrist and issues with contact cards that could crash the Contacts app. There is also a fix for an issue that causes an activation-locked device to be manipulated into briefly presenting the Home screen.

In order to install iOS 10.2.1, you can simply go to Settings > General > Software Update, and tap on Download and Install. It is always advised that you run the install on a Wi-Fi connection, and with your device charged up to at least 50 percent. The iOS 10.2.1 update is compatible with iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4th generation and later, and iPod touch 6th generation and later. The software update is about 72MB in size.

While the latest update focuses on security, the upcoming iOS 10.3 is expected to be a more prominent update. The talking point of the iOS 10.3 is going to be the ‘Theatre Mode’. A leakster reported earlier this month that this feature will be recognized by a popcorn-icon on the control center. While details are scarce, it is being reported that the theatre mode is an enhanced version of Dark Mode.

Dark Mode is being teased since iOS 10 beta, which basically dims the display and replaces whites with black. This is not only easier on the eyes when staring at the phone in dark, but it is also ideal for OLED displays — widely rumored to be debuting on next year’s iPhone 8 — as they won’t consume as much power as standard displays. While there are certain tricks to enable a sort of ‘dark mode’ on current iOS versions, this rumored theatre mode could make things as easy as tapping a button.

Apple starts rolling out iOS 10.2.1 update, fixes bugs and security holes
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