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The Series 15 iPhones are already getting iOS 17.0.2, with all others getting iOS 17.0.1

Photo: Matthias Kremp / DER SPIEGEL

On Friday night, Apple released important security updates for its mobile operating systems iOS, watchOS and iPadOS. With the patches, the company is plugging dangerous security gaps that are apparently already being actively exploited. The updates come just days after the company released its major annual software updates for iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

This means that even if you have just supplied your Apple device with the latest software, you should definitely start the update machine again. This also applies to those who buy one of the new iPhones or one of the new Apple Watches at the start of sales this Friday – or get it delivered as a pre-orderer.

Three gaps are plugged

According to Apple, the updates will plug three vulnerabilities. One of them allows attackers to circumvent Apple's security checks with manipulated apps, and another could be used to inject malicious code into devices via websites. The third allows a "local attacker", i.e. someone who has access to the device, to circumvent his security barriers.

The so-called zero-day exploits, which are security vulnerabilities that are not yet known to the manufacturers of the affected software, were discovered by researchers from the Canadian Citizen Lab and Google's Threat Analysis Group.

In the past, the two organizations have already discovered many previously hidden security vulnerabilities and reported them to the manufacturers of the affected software. At the beginning of September, for example, the Citizen Lab informed Apple about another dangerous vulnerability, which the company immediately eliminated via an update. A little later, it became apparent that the vulnerability also affected many other programs and products.

iOS 17.17.17 and iPad OS 0.1.17 are now offered for devices already running iOS 0 or iPadOS 1.10.10, and watchOS 0.1.16 is available for smartwatches with watchOS 7. Devices that have not yet installed the new operating systems can be updated to iOS 16.7, iPadOS 9.6 and watchOS 3.13.6. Owners of Mac computers should update them to macOS Ventura 12.7 and macOS Monterey 16.6. Apple's Safari browser is also getting an update to version 1.15.17. On the new iPhone 0 models, the bug fixes are installed with iOS 2.<>.<>.

To install the updates

If the installation has not already been done automatically, you can trigger the process manually. On iPhones and iPads, you can find the corresponding menu item in the settings under General/Software Update, on Macs in the System Preferences also under General/Software Update.

To install the new software, the devices perform a reboot, which can take a different amount of time, but always a few minutes, depending on the model. Allow some time for this. Once installed, you will need to log in again with your password or code and, if necessary, re-enter your PIN code on devices with a SIM card.