Apple released iOS 12.5.4 and iPadOS 12.5.4 on Monday. These contain security patches for iPhones or iPads old enough that they can’t upgrade to 2019’s iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 but are still in use.
Don’t expect new features in iOS 12.5.4
The release notes for iOS 12.5.4 say only, “This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.” It closes three vulnerabilities, two of which are in WebKit. The iPad version is essentially identical.
The iOS version is for the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus. And the iPadOS one is for the iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPod touch (6th generation).
The name for the tablet version is odd because there never was an iPadOS 12. It split off from iOS with version 13. Nevertheless, Apple says it’s offering “iPadOS 12.5.4.”
Install an an over-the-air update to iOS 12.5.4 or iPadOS 12.5.4 by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update. Alternatively, connect to a Mac, or to a PC running iTunes.
Apple separating security updates from feature updates
This is an update for an operating system first released in 2018, and it’s available for an iPhone that launched in 2013. But Apple does its best to not abandon users of older devices.
And the company is going further. Starting with iOS 15/iPadOS 15, users will have the option to install security updates without also installing new features. This will make iPhones and iPads more secure without the risk of adding bugs.