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Apple Releases, Updates macOS Mojave and iOS 12, But Bricks Some Users’ Watches

Posted on November 9, 2018

In early September, Apple achieved two milestone releases: the arrival of iOS 12 for mobile devices and macOS Mojave for the desktop environment. Along with a host of bug fixes, both operating systems pushed their security hardening forward. Most notably, users on macOS can now trust that applications won’t gain access to the full contents of their hard disk without permission. While the changes do add the potential for dialog box fatigue and has impacted the operation of some software, it’s in line with Apple’s continued efforts to lock down its system.

Now, hot on the heels of the initial release, Apple has pushed out an array of updates for iOS, macOS, and of course peripherals such as Apple TV. iOS 12.1 alone contains nearly three dozen fixes for different vulnerabilities, including several flaws in the WebKit engine that powers web browsers on iPhones and iPads. Any one of these flaws would allow web pages exploiting them to cause problems with a user’s device, potentially gaining the ability to run their own code. These bugs were also addressed in the desktop version of Safari.

As for macOS, the latest version of Mojave (10.14.1) contains 24 bug fixes for issues ranging from the minor to the severe, including a Spectre-like attack that could have exposed unique numbers used to generate encryption keys for the system. macOS Sierra and High Sierra received supplemental updates to correct most of these same issues as well — so if you’re still using a prior version of macOS, you can continue to enjoy the latest security protections.

Unfortunately, not everything in the latest round of updates was for the better. WatchOS 5.1 was meant to carry an array of bug fixes and feature tweaks but instead left many Apple Watches bricked. After applying the update, users reported their Watches remained stuck on the Apple logo boot screen; not long after initial reports surfaced, Apple confirmed the problem, apologized, and pulled the update. Affected Apple Watch owners have been asked to send their devices in for repair.

No such problems exist with the other latest updates, though, and Apple recently pushed WatchOS 5.1.1 to ensure users can take advantage of bug fixes without risking damage to their device. Whether you’re still waiting to upgrade to iOS 12 or ready for some bug fixes for Mojave, these upgrades all contain important security fixes that are worth having. As always, remember to upgrade your software at the earliest opportunity.

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