Apple has just issued a major software update to several of its main product lines that patches a security vulnerability the company says may have been exploited in the wild.
It comes as the company released its latest version of iOS 17, 17.3 alongside iPadOS 17.3, and macOS Sonoma 14.3 on Monday, alongside new versions of tvOS and watchOS 10. Given it’s a major update most of them bring some new features to your Apple devices, including an important Stolen Device Protection feature on iPhone, collaborative Apple Music Playlists, and a new Apple Watch Face.
However, nearly all updates for iOS and beyond come with important security updates, and this week’s stable is no exception.
iOS 17.3’s important security update
Apple says it has patched security issues in the Apple Neural engine on iPhone and iPad, Safari, Shortcuts, and more. The most important one is the third of three WebKit updates, all of which fix exploits that could have led to “arbitrary code execution.” Apple says that this particular WebKit involved “Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution,” which essentially means an attacker taking control of your Mac or iPhone.
Apple says it is “aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited,” suggesting bad actors might have already used this exploit to try and hijack devices, take data, and more. "The bug in WebKit causes the framework to malfunction when processing specific content it is not expecting, such as a corrupted image file," security experts Mysk told iMore. "In this case, the malfunctioning caused by the bug opens a security hole where an attacker can trick the framework into executing malicious code and gain access to protected resources on the system."
While it’s always a good idea to keep your iPhone bang up-to-date for security purposes, this is yet another example of a particularly important security update that you don’t want to put off.
To download iOS 17.3:
As noted, Apple says this issue is also present in macOS Sonoma, and as such has been patched in macOS 14.3, which can be downloaded from your System Settings on Mac.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9