A second round of ‘Rapid Security Response’ bug patches for the iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 betas were seeded to developers and other beta testers on Monday. At this point, Apple is testing the system for distributing these by releasing them for beta versions of the operating systems.
Once testing is over, these will allow Apple to fix security problems without releasing a full OS update.
‘Rapid Security Response’ patches are faster than OS updates
Don’t be confused if you’ve never heard of a ‘Rapid Security Response’ update before. They’re so new they’re still in testing. The first ones went out to developers on November 22, and the second round was distributed almost a week later.
Apple recently explained that, “In a future update to iOS 16, iPadOS 16.1, and macOS 13, Apple will add a mechanism for shipping security fixes to users more frequently.”
The first round was simply a test for the new system. The second round probably is as well.
Too many OS updates
To understand the need for Rapid Security Responses, consider iOS 16.1.1, iPadOS 16.1.1 and macOS 13.0.1. These are all operating system updates that simply close security holes and have no new features. Apple apparently regards as overkill a full OS update to fix a few security-related bugs.
In the future, rather than being operating system updates with their own version numbers, similar patches will be distributed as Rapid Security Responses instead.