Apple stops signing iOS 16.5.1 as iOS 17 release edges closer

iOS 16
(Image credit: iMore)

Apple might be well on its way through the iOS 17 beta program, but iOS 16 is still the latest major release available to the public. But anyone who tries to restore an iPhone today won't be able to install iOS 16.5.1 anymore.

That's after Apple took the decision to stop signing iOS 16.5.1 on its servers, preventing people from installing the update afresh. As a result, iOS 16.6 is now the only version of iOS 16 that can be installed.

That's unlikely to be the current version of the iPhone's software for much longer, of course. We expect Apple to release iOS 17 to the public towards the middle of September — just a few short weeks away.

All about the fixes

Apple routinely stops signing older versions of iOS in an attempt to ensure that people can't install insecure software on their iPhones, whether that's to deliberately open them to attack or not. That could well be the case in this instance, with 9to5Mac noting that iOS 16.6's July 24 release brings with it no fewer than 16 security fixes.

Another bonus of ensuring people are using the latest software is that it allows developers to build apps against the latest APIs and features with greater confidence that people downloading their apps also have access to them.  That will be a bigger deal when iOS 17 arrives next month of course, and it's likely that iOS 16.6 will be one of the last updates before that big release.

The iOS 17 update isn't the only thing to look forward to next month, of course. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models are likely to arrive in the same month, as are the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. It's going to be a big few weeks for Apple device users, with new software also on the way to the Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV hardware.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.