June 25 update below. This post was first published on June 22, 2023.
If you thought Apple was done with iPhone software updates for the current version, iOS 16, and had moved all its focus to iOS 17, think again. Here’s what the new update, iOS 16.5.1 contains, how to get it and who it’s for—it’s not for all iPhone users, please note, earlier iPhones need a different update, as we’ll see below.
It seems that the reason the update didn’t come in the form of a Rapid Security Response may be that this also includes a non-security element as well, as we’ll see below.
June 25 update. I’ve talked below about the fact that Apple has issued this security fix as a regular update rather than a Rapid Security Response. There’s another reason: Rapid Security Responses are very new, so it may be that a lot of people are still unaware of them, whereas regular iOS updates are much more familiar. Even though the Rapid Security Response title is pretty clear, it is possible they need to become more frequent before users install them as quickly as they do regular updates.
Plus, of course, as mentioned below, the additional feature here, fixing the charging issue on the Lightning to USB 3 camera adapter, which has been affecting that accessory since the iOS 16.5 update was released, could be the reason. Rapid Security Responses may be exclusively restricted to fixing security issues rather than other stuff. In other words, if the camera adapter solution is ready to go, then the fastest way to get the security issues out there is to include them in an update as soon as possible.
And this is definitely not the last we’ll see of iOS 16. We know that iOS 16.6 is in the works, having reached its third public beta already, on Friday, June 16. It’s expected to bring iMessage Contact Key Verification, which, according to Apple means, “users who face extraordinary digital threats can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend.” This is something that was promised months ago, and it appeared in the first beta, only to disappear in the second. So, we’ll wait to see if it makes the final release. There are also other changes, such as icons for Beats Studio Buds+ and other minor developments. We can probably expect iOS 16.6 in early July.
Which iPhones Can Run iOS 16.5.1?
If you have an iPhone released in late 2017 or later, you’re golden. Apple iOS 16.5 runs on all iPhones from the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X onwards, and this update includes features relevant to all those handsets.
If you have an earlier iPhone, you should turn to iOS 15.7.7, which works for iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone SE 1st generation as well as iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4th generations and iPod touch 7th generations.
How To Get It
Updating couldn’t be easier: open the Settings app, choose General, then Software Update. Next, click on Download and Install, and you’ll be up to date quickly.
What’s In The Release
It’s just over a month since iOS 16.5 was released on May 20, and this update is mostly about security fixes. They’re important because they are to fix two vulnerabilities which may already have been used by hackers, for example.
But there’s also a charging issue which this update is for. Specifically, if you’re trying to charge your iPhone using the Lightning to USB3 camera adapter. Not that many people have this accessory, but obviously it needs to work for those who do it, so this is a good thing.
The two security updates, also discussed in detail by Kate O’Flaherty here, are these. First, there’s a kernel issue which means, to quote Apple’s support document, “An app may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited against versions of iOS released before iOS 15.7.” Note that mention of iOS 15.7. It may mean you’re safe if you’ve already been running iOS 16.
The second issue relates to Webkit, which is at the core of Safari, and the impact could be that “Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”
That actively exploited phrase is not something you’ve ever wanted to hear, but it should be fixed now.
Apple’s release notes follow
This update provides important security fixes and is recommended for all users. It also fixes an issue that prevents charging with the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter.
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: support.apple.com/kb/HT201222