iOS 10.3 Update Plugs 85 Security Holes, Apple Pushes Nearly 350 Security Updates to Users

iOS 10.3 enhanced security

There are any number of reasons why you should upgrade to iOS 10.3 right away. Since its public release two days ago on March 27, Apple has been pushing the update to millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices around the world. While iOS 10.3 has several attractive features like Find My AirPods, CarPlay, the new APFS file system and so on, the most important aspect is security.

Apple seems to be going heavy with security fixes this year, plugging several hundred potential vulnerabilities across iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS. Just on iOS 10.3 alone, Apple has identified and patched no less than 85 common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs.)

How Do the Security Updates for iOS 10.3 Benefit iPhone Users?

The bulk of vulnerabilities will most probably not expose the bulk of iOS device users, but even one single vulnerability can have tremendous negative impact on millions of users. Security is not so much about fixing issues as it is about preventing incidents. As long as nothing happens to your device or your data, you might not even be aware of the sheer number of attacks mounted on the iOS ecosystem by security researchers – good and bad.

Fortunately, there’s a large community of security experts who regularly help Apple by identifying weaknesses and flaws in their security so the company can patch them quickly.

Over the past few years, Apple’s systems have been breached several times, and that’s not the kind of thing that goes down well at Cupertino. As a result, Apple seems to have stepped up its security work, pushing out a tremendous number of patches and bug fixes in a relatively short amount of time. iOS 10.3 itself spent less than 60 days in beta, give or take, compared to 90 days for a typical iOS X.0 version, as you can see in the chart below:

iOS 10.3 development timeline
iOS Days in Beta – ThinkBits

iOS 11 is invariably going to see even more security fixes, which will be evident once Apple starts rolling out the first beta to developers. iOS 11 will play a critical security role for iPhone Edition, or iPhone 8, Apple’s flagship model for 2017.

For now, if your device supports iOS 10.3, you should upgrade it as soon as possible. You might not think that you’re at risk, or you might even want to hold on to iOS 10.2.1 or an older version for some specific reason such as jailbreaking, but it’s not a great idea to stay away from iOS 10.3, at least from a security perspective.

The better option in that case would be to save your SHSH2 blobs for iOS 10.2.1 while Apple is still signing it, and the update to iOS 10.3 so you can downgrade to the earlier version at a later time. But you need to do that right now, because it’s very likely that Apple will stop signing iOS 10.2.1 any day now.

Here’s how to do that: Save your SHSH2 Blobs in 3 Easy Steps

Don’t put this off, because once Apple stops signing iOS 10.2.1 you won’t be able to downgrade to it in future. Once done, immediately update to iOS 10.3 so you can get the benefits of tighter security for your iOS device.

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