Apple releases iOS 16.4.1 with critical security updates — update your iPhone now

An image of an Apple iPhone running iOS 16.4.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It's time to update your iPhone. Apple has pushed out a new software update, iOS 16.4.1, that patches critical security vulnerabilities and fixes bugs related to Siri and emojis.

The update comes just a few weeks after the launch of iOS 16.4, which added new emojis, expanded accessibility features, and an overhaul to Apple's HomeKit, among other features.

iOS 16.4.1 is available on all iOS 16-compatible devices, meaning the iPhone 8, iPhone X, and more recent models. To update any one of the best iPhones, go to your Settings app, choose General, then click Software Update. 

According to Apple's iOS 16.4.1 security page, the update patches two security issues with IOSurfaceAccelerator and WebKit. Apple fixed the IOSurfaceAccelerator flaw by improving input validation and the WebKit flaw by improving memory management to address a use-after-free issue.

Apple confirmed its received reports that these issues "may have been actively exploited," indicating both are likely zero-day vulnerabilities, and opened the door to arbitrary code execution. That's a tactic hackers use to gain control of your device and run malware. 

As for bugs, the update fixes some minor but annoying problems with iPhone features you may have already come across. That includes an iOS 16.4 issue that caused Apple's Siri voice assistant not to respond to requests in some cases. iOS 16.4.1 also addresses an issue where the option for skin tone variations wouldn't show up for the pushing hands emoji. 

The future of iOS 16.4 and beyond

The iOS 16.4 added all the new emojis introduced with Unicode 15.0 — the operating system's first new emoji characters in over a year. Other new features include web-based notifications from Safari, a new section devoted to channels on the Apple Podcasts app, the return of the page turning animation to Apple Books, and an always-on display filter for Focus mode.

At least one more major update for iOS 16, iOS 16.5, is expected before iOS 17 rolls out this fall. Beta testing is already underway, but only if you're registered as a developer. There's still no word on a public beta release date.

We’ll likely hear more details at Apple's WWDC 2023 event beginning June 5. Rumor has it that iOS 17 could open up access to third-party app stores. That could let you sideload apps to your iPhone from somewhere other than Apple's app store.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.