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Apple iOS 14.8: Everything to know about the latest iPhone update and security fix

The iOS 14.8 upgrade fixes a critical security flaw, and arrives the week before iOS 15's general release.

iOS 14.8 doesn't include many new features, but it does fix a security vulnerability.

James Martin/CNET

Apple's iOS 14.8 was released on Monday, and the small update contains a big security fix. The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system repairs a vulnerability reportedly exploited by invasive spyware called Pegasus that can potentially turn on your phone's camera and microphone, and record messages, texts, emails and calls. (Though the odds of your iPhone or iPad being infected are low, you can still check to make sure your phone is not infected with Pegasus spyware -- here's how.)

While iOS 14.7 brought some useful new features like MagSafe battery pack support for the iPhone 12 and managing timers on your HomePod, iOS 14.8 is just a security fix. It arrives right before iOS 15 is generally available to download on Monday, Sept. 20 (here's how to download iOS 15 and iPadOS 15), and Apple releases the iPhone 13, new iPads and the Apple Watch Series 7.

Here's what you need to know about iOS 14.8. Plus, check out everything to know about Apple's upcoming iOS 15 update

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iOS 14.8 is now available.

Patrick Holland/CNET

How to download iOS 14.8 now

Since Apple released iOS 14.8 to the public, you should get a prompt telling you that iOS 14.8 is now available and asking if you'd like to download it. Or you can do the following: 

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select General.

3. Tap Software Update

Your device will connect to Apple's servers and prompt you to download and install the update. Follow the prompts to complete the installation. When your device reboots, it will be running iOS 14.8. (Check out our full instructions on preparing your phone and downloading iOS 14 here.)

What devices does iOS 14.8 work on?

iOS 14.8 is compatible with all the same devices as iOS 14. Generally, these include the iPhone 6S all the way up through the iPhone 12, along with the iPhone SE and the seventh-gen iPod Touch. For the full list of devices compatible with iOS 14, click here

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You'll be able to download iOS 14.8 on the iPhone 6S through the iPhone 12, pictured here.

Sarah Tew/CNET

iOS 14.8: Security fix and new features

The latest operating software update is only meant to fix the security flaw that the Pegasus spyware could exploit -- it doesn't bring any new features to your iPhone. 

Pegasus was created by Israel-based cybersecurity company NSO Group, with the intention of helping governments pursue criminals and terrorists, CNET's Stephen Shankland reported. But in July, researchers found evidence of attempted or successful installations of Pegasus on 37 phones of activists, journalists and businesspeople -- and all but three of the devices were iPhones. It's another example of how vulnerable we can be to digital spying, even with security protections in place. 

Again, it's unlikely that your iPhone would be targeted by Pegasus, particularly with the iOS 14.8 patch, but you can check to make sure here

For more, check out some of the best hidden iPhone features we've found in iOS 14. And before you make any OS updates, make sure your iPhone and iPad are ready to do so