Person holding an iPhone SE (2022) in their hand
Justin Duino

Apple usually delivers critical security fixes as minor updates for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and so on, which means a full reboot and a (potentially) long install process. That might change soon.

Apple just released the first beta versions of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, and all of them have a new feature called Rapid Security Response. The description of the feature from the macOS Ventura changelog reads, “get important security improvements to your devices even faster. This isn’t a standard software update. These improvements can be applied automatically between normal updates — without a restart.”

Automatic Updates screen with a 'Install System and Data Files' update toggle
Rapid Security Response in iOS 16 Beta

In other words, it sounds like some security patches will be distributed as background updates, rather than entirely new OS updates for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Windows (and some desktop Linux distributions) can install some updates without a full reboot in the same manner, and Google Play Protect on Android is also updated quietly in the background when needed.

Automatic background updates that don’t require a full upgrade are nothing new on the Mac — Apple already updates malware lists, fonts, SSL certificates, and more without the need for full system upgrades. However, background security updates have (seemingly) never been available for iPhones and iPads until now.

Security updates are crucial to keeping your device and personal information as safe as possible, so it’s great to see that Apple might be able to roll them out even quicker in the future. There will still likely be some problems that can only be fixed with a full OS update, much like Android’s monthly security patches, but not all of them will require a system upgrade.

Source: TechCrunch, Apple

Profile Photo for Corbin Davenport Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
Read Full Bio »