2 Critically Important Things Every Apple User Must Do This Weekend
Two hugely important software security updates have been released for many Apple devices recently, and if you haven’t updated your software to the latest versions yet, you really should do it while you have some free time this weekend. Do this for all of your own Apple hardware, do this for your parents Macs, grandparents iPads, aunts iPhone, uncles iPod, cousins SE/30 (just kidding), everyone who owns an Apple device needs to update all of their operating systems to a patched iOS or OS X version as soon as possible.
For those who missed it, the security updates are aimed at plugging the SSL/TSL security flaw that was uncovered a few weeks ago, which leaves nearly every recent Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch vulnerable to the following potential situation we described here:
“… an attacker could use this [security] flaw to intercept data, like email, passwords, banking information, communications, basically anything, if the attacker is on the same network as you, or is otherwise able to get between your computer and a remote server.”
That’s bad, but here’s what’s good; there are updates available for nearly every one to prevent this exploit being used against them.
Got a Mac? Update to OS X 10.9.2 or the Security Update
First things first: Back up your Mac with Time Machine before installing any system software update. It’s always unlikely for something to go wrong, but making a backup takes a few seconds and can prevent a world of frustration in the odd event something goes haywire in the update process (even something unexpected like a power outage mid-update can lead to a broken OS X installation)
Backed up? Good, now go to the Apple menu and head to “Software Update” to install the update available to you, it will be one of the following, depending on your version of OS X:
Mac users running OS X Snow Leopard won’t find any updates available for them, but that’s because Snow Leopard is not vulnerable to the SSL / TSL bug. In other words, 10.6 is safe from this specific security flaw, despite the load of erroneous hysteria in many other tech publications about Apple ‘dropping support’ for Snow Leopard and leaving them vulnerable. This can be confirmed by any Mac running Snow Leopard using Safari to visit the GoToFail test website.
For Mavericks users, installing OS X 10.9.2 also has nice perks, like resolving the final Mail problems that many Mac users had encountered, and there’s even a few new features added to OS X, like the ability to block iMessages from the Mac.
Those interested can read the release notes of OS X 10.9.2, and one of our readers was nice enough to paste the entire detailed security notes in the comments as well.
Can’t update quite yet for some reason? You really need to do so as soon as you can, whatever your version of OS X, but if you have some reason why you can’t update quite yet follow these basic protection tips in the meantime (for everyone else, it’s good advice to follow in general).
Got an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? Update to iOS 7.0.6
Before anything else, back up your iPhone or iPad before beginning, you can back it up to iCloud or iTunes, or both. Just don’t forget to back up first. iOS updates usually go without a hitch, but it’s not completely unheard of to wind up with a ‘bricked’ device after installing a minor update, and a backup lets you recover from that situation in minutes rather than hours.
With a fresh backup handy, update directly by going to Settings > Software Update and installing the latest version available. This is known as “OTA” or Over-The-Air updating, and the device needs to be on a wi-fi network to accomplish this.
Advanced users can also go the manual route and download the iOS 7.0.6 IPSW.
Yes, even jailbreakers should update their devices too you can read more about the evasi0n jailbreak for 7.0.6 here.
For nearly everyone, the iOS 7.0.6 update goes without a hitch, but if you have an experience like my iPhone 5 or some of our readers, and happen to experience some truly unusual reduction in battery life post-install, you’ll find the rapid battery draining issue is easily resolved with this simple trick.
Got an Apple TV? An update is available to plug the security hole for you too, found in Settings > Software Update.
Whatever your Apple device, do not leave yourself vulnerable to malicious individuals, update to the patched iOS or OS X version as soon as possible.