Have an old iPhone or iOS version and think you’re protected? Think again; new Apple security update releases seem to be for the latest devices.
A few days ago, Apple clarified its OS upgrade policies. One thing they didn’t explain was whether or not older operating systems were receiving security patches. However, according to an official statement from Apple, only the latest version of each operating system receives complete protection against malicious attacks.
Throughout the text, Apple refers to major operating system upgrades that can add big new feature sets and user interfaces and updates that usually patch up some issues and address some vulnerabilities.
Upgrading from iOS 15 to iOS 17 or macOS 10.15 Catalina to macOS 10.16 Mojave is an upgrade. Likewise, upgrading from iOS 16.0 or macOS 12.5 or 12.6 to their respective latest version is an update.
New Apple Security Update Only For Newest Versions
“Although Apple will continue to release patches for earlier OS X releases,” the document reads, “only the newest version of Mac OS X receives fixes for all known vulnerabilities.” In other words, even though Apple will continue to issue patches for older operating system upgrades, only the most recent ones will get updated for every vulnerability it finds.
Apple currently offers support for older OS X 10.11 El Capitan and OS X 10.12 Sierra alongside the new OS X 10.13 High Sierra, but it hasn’t yet provided support for older iOS 9 and iOS 10. As a result, older iPhone models won’t be able to download the latest software update, either.
It’s not just that some Macs aren’t receiving software updates anymore; the number of new vulnerabilities fixed each month is declining.
For Mac owners who want their old hardware to keep working, software called the OpenCore Legacy Patches can help. But they’re not easy to use and don’t always work perfectly.
What Should You Do?
That said, there’s no reason to panic if you’re currently on macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 and haven’t upgraded. On the contrary, you should feel pretty comfortable because most of the security issues highlighted by Apple are not new ones but rather just confirmations of things we’ve known for some time.
If you think you’re being specifically targeted, you should ensure your computer and apps are up to date and working correctly or get the latest iPhone and OS.