Tests go on of iPhone security-fix system that doesn’t require full iOS updates

Tests go on of iPhone security-fix system that doesn’t require full iOS updates


Tests go on of iPhone bug-fix system that doesn’t require full iOS updates
Apple wants to be able to patch iOS without the hassle of a full system software update.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple sent developers a “Rapid Security Response” bug patch for the iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 betas. This is part of an ongoing series of tests on a system that will eventually allow Apple to quickly fix security problems without requiring a full OS update.

Testing started in November 2022.

Security patches are faster than OS updates

It’s not unusual for iPhone software updates to go out that are little more than security patches. iOS 16.1.1 is a good example. But Apple is developing a system that will let it introduce security patches more quickly.

The company explained in late 2022 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.”

It calls these a Rapid Security Response, and on Wednesday it sent one to users of the iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 betas.

The release notes for the patch say, “This Rapid Security Response provides important security fixes and is recommended for all users.”

How to be ready for Rapid Security Response updates

Once Apple works the bugs out of its upcoming system for removing security problems, patches won’t go only to beta testers but will be available for iPhone, iPad and Mac users.

Users can already set up their devices to be prepared for them. On an iPhone or iPad, open the Settings application then go to General > Software Updates and toggle on Security Responses & System Files. This will cause the patch to be automatically downloaded and installed.

At this time, it’s not known when the first one of these will go out that’s not just a test.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.