Apple security alert: how to update iPhone, iPad and Mac as Apple discloses flaw that lets hackers gain access

Three operating system updates are reported to fix the bug

Apple has disclosed critical security flaws in its iPhones, iPads and Macs.

The company stated in two security studies that the software issues may possibly allow attackers to take complete control of these devices.

According to the corporation, it is “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

The warning comes ahead of Apple's usual September launch of the newest iPhone, which this year is believed to be the iPhone 14.

But how can you protect yourself against would-be hackers?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is the security flaw?

According to Apple’s explanation of the vulnerability, a hacker could gain “full admin access to the device” and “execute any code as if they are you, the user,” according to Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.

People who are in the public eye,” such as activists or journalists, who may be the focus of sophisticated nation-state spying, should pay special attention to software updates, according to Tobac.

Commercial spyware companies, such as Israel's NSO Group, are notorious for detecting and exploiting such security flaws using malware that silently infects targets' smartphones, syphons their contents, and surveils them in real time.

The US Commerce Department has previously blacklisted the NSO Group - its spyware has been used against journalists, dissidents, and human rights campaigners in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Nearly £20,000 worth of iPhones were allegedly stolen

On its website, Apple simply said: “For our customers’ protection, Apple doesn’t disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available. Recent releases are listed on the Apple security updates page.”

Which devices are affected?

Apple did not say how many users were impacted by the issue, but all users are recommended to update all impacted devices.

These include the iPhone 6S and later models, multiple iPad models, including the 5th generation and later, all iPad Pro models and the iPad Air 2, and Mac computers running the MacOS Monterey operating system.

Some iPod models are also affected.

Three operating system updates – iPad and iOS 15.6.1, and macOS 12.5.1 – are reported to fix the bug.

When is the next iPhone released?

The iPhone 14 will likely be released in just a few weeks, and leaks have got the rumour mill churning on much of what to expect.

According to early reports, the new phone could include significant new features and enhancements, plus the removal of several well-known design aspects.

According to numerous reports, Apple has finally removed the notch that is cut out of the top of the display in the latest iPhones.

Instead, all of the hidden components - the facial recognition sensor and the front-facing camera - could be placed in a small cutout at the top of the screen, allowing the display to extend all the way up.

This year, the standard sizes of the iPhone models are expected to change too.

‘Mini’ models are expected to be phased out - it has never sold as well as its larger equivalent, according to rumours - and Apple will instead offer the phones in just two sizes.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is planning its next product reveal event for 7 September; the event, like others held during the Covid-19 epidemic, is expected to be streamed live online.

Gurman also reports that Apple store employees have been instructed to prepare for some sort of launch on 16 September.