Apple has confirmed that it has stopped releasing updates for iOS 14, potentially leaving millions of iPhone users exposed to hackers.
A spokesperson told ArsTechnica on Wednesday that fans need to update their devices to iOS 15 – the newer version of its operating system – to continue receiving critical security patches.
Those patches fix any vulnerabilities, bugs or other problems in the software that cyber-crooks can exploit to gain access to your device.
When Apple released iOS 15 in September, the Cupertino tech giant said that the upgrade was not mandatory for people who wanted to stick with iOS 14.
The company said that the older system would continue to receive updates for "a period of time" to ensure users remained protected from security threats.
That goodwill, however, appears to have run dry. Last week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple was no longer letting users stay on iOS 14.
The last security update for the operating system – iOS 14.8.1– rolled out in October, but users can no longer update to that version, the tech website said.
Apple has instead reverted to the traditional method of updates, where users have to install the latest version of the operating system (in this case, iOS 15) to get security improvements.
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An Apple spokesperson later confirmed that this was the case, stating that the ongoing security updates for iOS 14 were always intended to be temporary.
As of December, around 36 per cent of the more than one billion iPhones worldwide were running iOS 14, according to data analytics firm Mixpanel.
That means hundreds of millions of people will be forced to upgrade to iOS 15 or leave themselves exposed to security threats.
The change was reportedly implemented after the release of iOS 15.2 in December 2021.
What iPhones are compatible with iOS 15.2?
The update is available to anyone with an iPhone 6S and later, as well as 7th generation iPod touch owners.
If you're using an iPhone that can't update to iOS 15.2, it's important that you consider upgrading.
Moving to a newer iPhone means you'll be able to get the latest security updates.
Using older models that can't update with the latest security fixes is a major risk – and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.
How to update to iOS 15.2
If you have a compatible device and your iPhone hasn't automatically updated then you can download iOS 15.2 by following a few simple steps.
Before you get started, make sure your iPhone is backed up and that you're connected to WiFi.
Open Settings, tap "General" and then "Software Update".
The update may appear on the screen if it's ready for your phone and you can tap "Install Now" to get it.
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