Another small iPhone update is rushed out to fix a security flaw

A new iOS and iPadOS update has been released that fixes a single security flaw, suggesting it could be a big vulnerability that users should patch out as soon as they can.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise Smartphones | Smartwatches | Tablets | Telecom industry | Mobile semiconductors | Mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Apple has rushed out a pair of iPhone and iPad software updates to fix a security flaw that might already have been exploited by bad actors.

The updates, iOS 15.3.1 and iPadOS 15.3.1, only fix a single issue, which is unusual as Apple often bundles several bug and vulnerability fixes into each update. This suggests the flaw is severe enough for Apple to rush out a fix. 

Indeed, the support page for the updates discloses that "Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," which is a rare affirmation by the company that a vulnerability is not only theoretical, but possibly taken advantage of already.

If this rush to update your iPhones and iPads to fix security flaws sounds familiar, it's because Apple just did that a couple of weeks ago with iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3. As far as we know, this new security update addresses different exploits than the previous patch was supposed to fix. 

Read more: iOS 15: What's in Apple's latest iPhone OS and its updates

As is the case for all Apple software updates, these security patches are free and available for every modern device that could download iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. These are the iPhone 6s and later, as well as the iPod Touch (7th generation) for iOS update, and the iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later for the iPadOS update.

It's easy to update your compatible iPhone or iPad: just open the Settings app and head to General > Software Update

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.