Apple Suddenly Releases Crucial iPhone Update To Fix Wallet

Just when all eyes are on iOS 17 and when it’s going to be released, Apple suddenly released a new update for iOS 16 today. It’s probably one of the last updated for iOS 16, not least because it’s not a whole-point release. Could there be an iOS 16.6.2? Never say never, but unless there’s a Rapid Securit Response, I think it’s likely.

Here’s what’s in today’s release.

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Which iPhones Can Run iOS 16.6.1?

This is possibly the last update that will apply for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. that’s because the next release we expect to see is for iOS 17, which works for iPhone Xs onwards. For now, Apple iOS 16.6.1 will run on all iPhones from the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X onwards, and this update includes features relevant to all those handsets.

How To Get It

Updating is easy, as you’ll know by now. Open the Settings app, click General, then Software Update. Next, select Download and Install, and you’ll be golden in a trice: this is a small-to-medium update, measuring just 248MB on my iPhone 14 Pro Max.

What’s In The Release

The last full-point release was iOS 16.6, released on July 24, 2023. There are no new features in this update, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. It’s important.

Apple’s notes talk about two elements, both security elements that have been fixed, if all goes according to plan.

First up, there’s ImageIO, which is the bit of the code that means apps can read and write image file formats. It also permits access to the metadata attached to an image.

This may already have been exploited, Apple says, and notes that the fix came about “by addressing a buffer overflow issue to improve memory handling.”

Secondly, and this is the one that will make users’ hearts beat that little bit faster, is a security issue that affects the Wallet app. Again, this may already have been exploited out in the real world, Apple acknowledges. It seems it was down to a validation issue and “was addressed with improved logic.” Well, from Aristotle onwards, we can all do with some of that.

Wallet is such a meaningful part of the iPhone that to have it in any doubt is profoundly worrying. So, it’s good that it’s been addressed, to say the least.

What’s Next

Next, it really will be iOS 17, I predict, and you can bet that the issues raised here are being baked into iOS 17 as I write this, if necessary. And while this update has nothing in the way of new features, the range of updates coming to the next software is positively dizzying. You can read here about exactly when we can expect to see iOS 17 on general release, but I’m certain it’s in the week commencing Monday, September 18.


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