Apple releases its first rapid-fire security updates for iPhone, iPad and Mac

The rollout hasn't been completely smooth, however.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Apple promised faster turnaround times for security patches with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, and it's now delivering on that claim. The company has released its first Rapid Security Response updates for devices running iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1 and macOS 13.3.1. They're available through Software Update as usual, but are small downloads that don't require much time to install. MacRumors says the fix is deploying over the course of 48 hours, so don't be surprised if you have to wait a short while.

There have been hitches so far. Engadget and others have received an error warning that iOS can't verify the update as the device is "no longer connected to the internet." We've asked Apple for comment, but you may have to be patient with this software. To date, the upgrades have only been available to beta testers.

Rapid Security Response lets Apple fix vulnerabilities sooner than it would through conventional software updates. While you can disable them, they may be ideal for quickly fixing zero-day flaws that attackers can use right away. That, in turn, could prevent malware from rapidly spreading through the community — particularly among users who have automatic updates enabled.

The concept of emergency security updates isn't new, of course. Apple, Microsoft and others have posted out-of-schedule patches. This just streamlines the process, and (along with recent additions like Safety Check) provides some reassurance. You're less likely to spend days worrying that your data could be up for grabs.