Install these critical security patches for Mac, iPhone,iPad and Apple Watch today [Updated]

By

Mac malware is real. Watch out.
macOS Big Sur 11.5.1, iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 each take care of the same dangerous bug.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Three of Apple’s biggest products received security patches Monday — and another got its version on Thursday. You should probably install them as soon as possible.

The company started with macOS Big Sur 11.5.1, iOS 14.7.1, and iPadOS 14.7.1 to fix a security hole reportedly used by at least one hacker already. That’s why they are “recommended for all users,” according to Apple.

Apple followed up Thursday by releasing watchOS 7.6.1 to patch the same bug on Apple Watch. It’s also recommended.

About the security content of macOS Big Sur 11.5.1, etc.

The release notes for the latest Mac update say only, “macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.” But the security notes reveal that hackers found a way to “execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.” And Apple warns, “This issue may have been actively exploited.”

The security notes for iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 indicate that these updates fix the same dangerous bug. And the same goes for the security notes for watchOS 7.6.1. The only way to close the holes is to install the updates.

All four updates apparently consist entirely of security patches. They bring no new features for Mac, iPhone or iPad.

How to install macOS Big Sur 11.5.1, iPadOS 14.7.1 or iPadOS 14.7.1

To install the latest version of macOS Big Sur via Software Update, go to the Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Software Update. Another option is to install the new version from the App Store.

Install iOS 14.7.1 or iPadOS 14.7.1 by connecting to a Mac, or to a PC running iTunes. Alternatively, an over-the-air update is also possible. That’s accomplished by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update.

The update can be installed directly onto and Apple Watch, as long as the wearable is connected to Wi-Fi. From the Settings app just navigate to General > Software Update. Alternatively, it can be installed from an iPhone by opening the Apple Watch app and going to My Watch > General > Software Update.

The security patches build on macOS and iPadOS updates from just a few days ago, while the last iOS version is only a week old.

Update: The article was updated with the release of watchOS 7.6.1.