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Patch your iPhone and iPad: Apple security update stamps out active exploit

iPhone 12 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

If you use an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad, now's the time to make sure you've got the latest OS update downloaded and applied, as the tech giant has just patched a critical security vulnerability.

In its statement on iOS and iPadOS (as well as WatchOS), Apple has confirmed that it is "aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited". This means that the vulnerability may have already been discovered and exploited by hackers, hence the urgency of the security patch.

As mentioned in Apple's patch notes, the exploit was found by Google's Project Zero team and impacts WebKit – the browser engine that Apple used to build Safari.

For iPhone and iPad users, this will bring the OS up to version 14.4.2 (ahead of the upcoming iOS 14.5 release), and the Apple Watch OS version to 7.3.3. 

For most users, this update will land automatically, but if you check your device's OS version and notice it doesn't match the above, you should manually update your device to the latest version via Settings > General > Software Update.

Apple has provided a list of the compatible devices, which we'll list below:

  • iPhone 6s and later
  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad Air 2 and later
  • iPad 5th generation and later
  • iPad mini 4 and later
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • Apple Watch Series 3 and later

While only a tiny percentage of security vulnerabilities are actually exploited, it's good practice to apply security patches from tech companies as soon as they're available so hackers never get the chance.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.