Apple may bring separate security updates to iOS for the first time

Ios Security Updates Concept
Ios Security Updates Concept (Image credit: 9to5Mac)

What you need to know

  • Apple may begin offering users the choice to install security updates separate from major releases on iOS.
  • Code found within the fourth beta of iOS 14.5 points to the new feature.

Apple may begin installing security updates for the iPhone separately from its feature and bug releases for the first time.

As reported by 9to5Mac, the fourth beta of iOS 14.5 released earlier today references the ability for users to choose between installing all updates or just security updates if they want.

A new section added to the iOS software update menu indicates that Apple will provide standalone security updates for iPhone and iPad users. Users would be able to choose whether they want to install only security updates or full iOS updates.Although we don't yet have more details about this change, macOS already offers a similar method of updates. When you have a Mac running an older version of the operating system, such as macOS Mojave, Apple delivers separate security updates so that users can get security patches and bug fixes without having to install the latest macOS version available.

The outlet speculates that Apple may be making the change so that users who wish to remain on iOS 14 can do so while still receiving important security updates for their iPhone.

The new code found in iOS 14.5 also mentions that once you download a specific update, such as a security update, you may need to delete it before installing another available iOS update. It's hard to tell how exactly Apple plans to implement this in iOS, but one possibility is to continue offering security updates for iOS 14 after the release of iOS 15, so that users can choose to not update to the latest major version, but keep receiving important security patches.

While Apple has followed a similar path for the Mac for years now, it has never offered separate security updates for the iPhone. All security updates have been rolled into other bug and feature releases, and users who did not wish to install the latest version of iOS were left without those important updates.

This would be a welcome change for those who need to run an older version of iOS for one reason or another while still protecting their iPhone as much as possible.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.