APPLE has released an emergency iPhone update to fix a critical software bug that is being exploited by hackers.
The U.S. tech titan began rolling out the patched-up version of iOS on Monday to protect people from potential cyber attacks.
In total, 11 vital security fixes were released with the iOS 15.7 update, according to an alert on Apple's website.
One of these, tracked as CVE-2022-32917, can be used to allow malicious apps to take control of a victim's device.
According to Apple, the bug could allow an app to execute "arbitrary code", a technique hackers use to run dodgy tasks on a phone.
"Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," the company said.
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The firm said that it fixed the flaw and has released updates for iPhone 6 and later, as well as a number of iPad models.
Mac users have also been advised to update their devices as macOS Monterey 12.6 and macOS Big Sur 11.7 have also been patched.
The software can apparently be exploited using the same vulnerability, leaving Macbooks and Mac PCs exposed.
Most iPhone vulnerabilities are hunted out by external experts and anonymous researchers.
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The reason Apple lists so many routinely is because they are kept a closely guarded secret until a fix is found.
This prevents cybercrooks from taking advantage of them as Apple rolls out an update before the vulnerability is more widely known.
"For our customers' protection, Apple doesn't disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available," Apple said.
The update should roll-out to iPhone owners automatically but you can force it to download and install immediately.
You can do that by going to Settings, followed by About, then Software Update.
What makes it particularly unusual, however, is that it dropped on the same day as iOS 16.
That's the latest major update to the iPhone operating system that brings with it a Lock Screen redesign and some new features.
The software bump began rolling out to iPhones around the globe on Monday. It's extremely rare for Apple to release two in one day.
It likely means that the security issues fixed with iOS 15.7 must be pretty serious and require fixing right away.
It's presumed that those issues are also fixed if you install iOS 16, which you can download by following the instructions above.
Can I get iOS 16?
Millions of iPhone owners will be able to install the latest updates – but not everyone.
If you're using a very old model, you might be cut off from iOS updates.
This puts you in significant danger of hack attacks, so it's worth considering upgrading as soon as possible.
For instance, when the iOS 16 update lands in September, the iPhone 6S, iPhone 7 and 1st-generation iPhone SE will be cut off by Apple.
These handsets were compatible with the current iOS 15.6.1, but won't get iOS 16.
If you're using older iPhones than that, you're already cut off, so you should upgrade to a newer model immediately.
Here's the full list of iOS 16 supported devices:
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone Xs
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)
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Any iPhones not on this list won't receive iOS 16.
If you're using an older iPhone, you'll simply need to upgrade your handset to a newer device to access iOS 16.
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