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Apple Releases iOS Update to Patch Wi-Fi Vulnerability

Posted on April 7, 2017

At the end of March, Apple released iOS 10.3 for users of the iPhone, iPad, and iPad Touch. The update was sizable, bringing multiple new features to iOS devices. However, just a week after iOS 10.3 arrived, Apple pushed out iOS 10.3.1. The latest update fixed a major Wi-Fi vulnerability that was apparently included in the original 10.3 update.

While the next big version update for the iOS platform—iOS 11—won’t arrive until the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall, iOS 10.3 was still seen as a sizable iOS update. (Macworld’s review concluded that the update was “more than just your typical dot release.”) The update spent months in beta (there were a total of seven beta versions) and manifested as a 600MB download (on the iPhone 7, at least), so it was clear that Apple had packed a few punches into the updates.

For instance, the update made it possible to track AirPods—Apple’s new wireless Bluetooth headphones—via the “Find My iPhone” app. The update also implemented Apple’s brand new file system, which is more efficient than the old one and should help users conserve space on their devices.

Still, even after seven beta versions, there was evidently a quickly-discovered flaw with iOS 10.3 that Apple needed to fix immediately. According to Apple, the flaw would have made it possible for “an attacker within range” to execute arbitrary code through your iOS device’s Wi-Fi. In other words, if you updated to iOS 10.3, there was a chance that someone nearby could hack your device just because the Wi-Fi function was switched on. The iOS 10.3.1 update, while small, is significant simply because it fixes this issue.

If you upgraded to iOS 10.3 at the end of last month when it made its official debut, then you should make a point of grabbing the 10.3.1 update immediately. If you haven’t updated to iOS 10.3 yet, then the update isn’t quite as pressing. You will get 10.3.1—or any other minor point upgrades that Apple decides to release in the coming weeks and months—when you do decide to update your iOS software. If you want to save storage space on your iPhone or iPad by upgrading to the new Apple file system, it’s worth it to update your device now.

Similar to the 10.3 update before it, iOS 10.3.1 is compatible with all iPhones starting with the iPhone 5, all iPads starting with the fourth generation, and all iPod Touch models starting with the sixth generation.

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