Protect Your iPhone, Apple Devices From Malicious Files

Staff Writer
Updated

Apple iOS 10.1's most well-known feature is the addition of the Portrait Mode camera option, but various security patches are the best reasons to download the mobile-device update. All of the latest updates from Apple, which also include macOS Sierra 10.12.1, watchOS 3.1, Safari 10.0.1 and tvOS 10.0.1, contain fixes to security vulnerabilities that, if unpatched, could let hackers gain remote access to your devices.

The updates to iOS, macOS and tvOS patch issues that would allow no-goodniks access to your devices if you were to open maliciously coded JPEG image files. A similar flaw would grant those deviants access to your Mac if they managed to sneak harmful font and PDF files onto your system.

MORE: Mobile Security Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Another flaw patched in this update enables ne'er-do-wells to eavesdrop on the audio portions of conversations when you use the FaceTime protocols on iOS and macOS. The Safari vulnerabilities patched by the updates let bad actors remotely execute code on your system if you visit nefarious webpages.

The watchOS flaws aren't as alarming, but one patched vulnerability allows third-party applications to view the image libraries and audio files on Apple Watches without the user's permission.

What Can You Do?

As always, these updates may arrive on your devices automatically, but it's not difficult to manually download them yourself. You can find iOS 10.1 by opening Settings, tapping General and then Software Update.

On a Mac, you'll update macOS and/or Safari by opening the Mac App store and clicking Updates. The stand-alone Safari update is only for those who haven't haven't updated to Sierra, so don't be worried if you only see the macOS option, as it includes the fixes for the browser.

The tvOS update, which only applies to 4th generation Apple TVs, is found by opening the Settings app, selecting System and then Software Update.

To get the latest watchOS update, open the Apple Watch appon your iPhone, tap My Watch, tap General and then Software Update. You'll need to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS first, and then make sure your Apple Watch is charging, is near your iPhone and has at least a 50 percent charge.