Apple issues surprise iOS 14.8 update to fix severe security threats

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Surprise! Apple releases iOS 14.8
Just when you thought Apple’s next software release would be iOS 15…
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple rushed out updates for iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches on Monday to patch a pair of critical security vulnerabilities. The updates protect users from arbitrary code execution that can be triggered by maliciously crafted PDFs or web content, Apple said in its release notes.

In both cases, “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited,” the company said.

The updates include iOS 14.8, iPadOS 14.8, macOS Big Sur 11.6, watchOS 7.6.2 and security patches for Safari and macOS Catalina.

Apple Maps crowd-sourced business ratings reach the US

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Apple Maps crowd-sourced business ratings reach the US
You can help out others by rating businesses in Apple Maps. And post pictures to.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps now lets users in the United States give a thumbs up to businesses. They can also submit a photo. The Ratings and Photo feature has been around for a while, but is just now expanding to the U.S.

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

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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.

iOS 14.7 adds first taste of reverse wireless charging to iPhone 12

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iOS 14.7 will bring Apple Card tweaks, Apple battery pack support
iOS 14.7 brings some tweaks, but isn’t a major update.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone users can now download iOS 14.7. The update, released Monday, adds reverse wireless charging to the iPhone 12 series, albeit in a limited way. It also includes some promised improvements to the Apple Card, and allows users to manage timers on a HomePod.

In addition, Apple released watchOS 7.6.

iOS 14.7 will bring Apple Card tweaks, Apple battery pack support

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iOS 14.7 will bring Apple Card tweaks, Apple battery pack support
iOS 14.7 brings some tweaks, but isn’t a major update.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The release candidate for iOS 14.7 was seeded to developers on Tuesday. It includes some promised improvements to the Apple Card, and it enables users to use a just-announced MagSafe Battery Pack. In addition, it allows users to manage timers on a HomePod.

Plus, the macOS Big Sur 11.5 release candidate, iPadOS 14.7 RC, watchOS 7.6 RC and tvOS 14.7 RC were also made available for developers.

New iOS and macOS versions add Apple Card Family, podcast subscriptions

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MacBook, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV
If you have multiple Apple devices, you’re in for a busy day. iOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, iPadOS 14.6, watchOS 7.5 and tvOS 14.6 are all ready to be installed.
Photo: Apple

Apple just released software updates with new features for iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple TV. Most notably, macOS Big Sur 11.4 includes support for Apple Podcasts subscriptions, while iOS 14.6 adds support Apple Card Family. Plus, iPadOS 14.6, watchOS 7.5 and tvOS 14.6 debuted Monday.

All these features were pre-announced.

How to enable and use Reachability on iPhone in iOS 14

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How to enable Reachability
Reachability makes even the largest iPhone models easy to use one-handed.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Reachability remains alive and well in iOS 14 — even if you have an iPhone without a Home button. The feature, which makes even the largest iPhone models easier to operate with one hand, is super-simple to use with just a quick flick of the thumb.

However, Reachability is disabled by default, so you’ll need to turn it on. Here’s how to enable and use Reachability in the latest iPhone firmware.