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The release of iOS 12 Brings Both Security Improvements and Bug Fixes

Posted on October 4, 2018

The latest major version of Apple’s flagship mobile operating has been released, along with a group of updates shared among iOS and many other products, include macOS Mojave and watchOS. As a significant milestone, iOS 12 consists of a variety of hardened security improvements alongside various fixes for many different vulnerabilities and bugs. From making good security easier for users, to locking down loopholes, there’s a lot to unpack in iOS 12.

First up: the latest improvements to the operating system itself. With two-factor authentication more important for user safety than ever, Apple is making it simpler to tap in the codes sent to you by your bank or other service providers. When you receive a text message with a 2FA code in iOS 12, the system will automatically copy the code and offer it as an AutoFill suggestion for the form that requires the code. This method streamlines the login process, making it more attractive for users who might skip 2FA otherwise.

Similarly, Apple has improved its password management efforts and now supports direct integration for many popular management apps, such as 1Password. As a bonus, you’ll now be able to create super-strong, randomized passwords and save them directly to your iCloud Keychain. Perhaps you’re not using a password manager? Apple just effectively gave you one — so there’s no excuse for poor password security anymore.

Web browsing on iOS and macOS has become a bit more private, too. Safari will now clamp down even further on tracking cookies and ads that try to figure out where you’ve gone on the web. Intelligent tracking options now give users a more explicit opt-in option for tracking cookies, while other innovations keep advertisers from using clever tricks to bypass anti-tracking protections.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a big release without some bug fixes, too. Some are major, such as a fix for the Messages app that closes a local vulnerability. Properly exploited, someone with access to your phone could find and read deleted messages. Several critical Bluetooth flaws were fixed, which, left unpatched, can let bad actors exploit the system to execute their own code on your phone. Another vulnerability could have allowed a hacker to access data from an iPhone’s cameras; each of these flaws, along with many others, are now resolved.

The wait for iOS 12 is finally over! From the security perspective, it’s a big step up for the current family of iPhone devices. Consider upgrading ASAP — and check for updates to your other Apple products, too, to take full advantage of these new vulnerability fixes.

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