iOS 14.2
Image Credit: Screegrab

DUBAI: If you use an iPhone, better check this to avoid the so-called “zero-day flaws”. A simple update with the latest iOS version (14.2), could perhaps help do the trick. Take really simple steps (see below) to get the latest iOS version meant to plug holes that could be exploited by hackers.

TIP: Make sure your battery charge is at least 50% for the update to proceed.

Yet, despite being up-to-date with iOS 14.2, some iPhone users have reported major irritations such as audio "call drops”, calls being automatically cut off in the middle of a conversation — even if the phone battery is good, the use is updated with payments, and the phone is used within an active cell site coverage, Gulf News has learnt.

iOS 14.2 screengrab
Image Credit: Gulf News / Screengrab

It's one of latest talks on Reddit, too, where a user who claims to have been using a beta of 14.2 in October had faced a "bug", both with dropped Facetime Video use and audio calls. Apparently, the bug involving audio call drops had not been sorted in the commercial release. (Apple's FaceTime is not available on iPhones sold in the UAE).

"Am I the only one having this issue? FaceTime just disconnects and sends me back to the Home Screen. I thought it was a wifi issue but usually when that happens it switches to LTE. So, I’m assuming it’s the beta. I have an iPhone XS running beta 2," stated u/Sbl4ack last month.

Call rejections

On Saturday, a UAE-based user reported the possible bug with iOS 14.2, specifically with dropped audio calls. "My calls had been cut off in the middle of a conversation," said the iPhone user who showed to Gulf News his iPhone uses the latest 14.2 iOS. "At other times, I've had callers tell me their callers had been rejected after the first ring, even if I didn't do it. It's embarrasing," the user told Gulf News. "This also happened to my callers a number of times," still another iPhones said.

Tweep Oliver Thomas on Sunday (November 15, 2020), also reported an "annoying bug with iOS 14.2 and/or AirPods Pro firmware 3A383". "I like to use the ‘Off’ Noise Control feature, when you press and hold on the AirPods Pro stems. This keeps on randomly getting disabled in settings," he stated.

Other tweeps reported some iOS 14.2 "bugs" too, and called out Apple Support over the Music app, which appears — or disappears — automatically. It's not all bad news, though. iPhone user Amit Bhawani reported significant improvements in battery life for his iPhone 11 Pro Max after the iOS 14 upgrade.

14.2 release

The latest iOS release offers to automatically update iPhones. Updating to iOS 14.2, however, requires at least 930 MB of free space on your iPhone. If your phone battery charge of less than 50%, no update happens. If it does not have enough memory (make sure it has 1GB or more), you’ll also see this message: “Please change your media sync options to make more storage available.”

iOS 14.3
On November 12, 2020, Apple briefly released the first betas of iOS and iPadOS 14.3 before pulling the updates again, according to Apple fan site MacRumors. During the time the software was available, some people were still able to download it and have been digging into the features.

Shane Huntley, Director of Google's Threat Analysis Group, stated in a tweet that the three iOS “zero-day vulnerabilities” are related to the recent spat of three Chrome zero-days and a Windows zero-day that Google had previously disclosed recently. Google did not share details of the attacker(s) or their target(s), as in at least four previous cases.

To sort out persistent user complaints or plug more bugs ​— ​​​​​​or both — the latest iteration, iOS version 14.3, is already on its way. A beta version now being tested, reports 9to5Mac. It is also reportedly going to suggest third-party apps to users during the iPhone or iPad set-up process. When sought for comment by Gulf News, there was no immediate response from Apple Middle East regarding these user complaints.

Most over-the-air software updates happen automatically. However, for those who opted for manual udpates, failure to update, from the standard iOS14 version may expose you to iPhone jailbreakers, especially if hackers perceive you as a high-value target. iOS 14.x updates apply to iPhone models from 6S and above (iPhone 6 and below won't be able to update to latest iOS 14 or its iterations).

Warning from UAE authorities

On November 6, 2020, the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) identified an iPhone system vulnerability. Specifically, the warning pointed to earlier versions of iOS14 and iPadOS14. The agency urged users to update their operating system to implement the latest zero-day hole patches implemented by the California tech giant.

In a tweet, the UAE’s Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) reported several "vulnerabilities" were discovered in iOS and iPad OS “that could allow the execution of arbitrary code with kernel privileges and discloser kernel memory content.”

Update WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business apps

The agency also urged users to update their WhatsApp and WhatApp Business apps “to prevent hacking or manipulation by criminals”. It warned of a vulnerability that permits Siri to interact with WhatsApp even if the phone is locked. The agency then urged users to update by install iOS 14.2 and iPad OS 14.2 — released on November 5, 2020 — that include fixes to “vulnerabilities”.

Updating Apps
Image Credit: Screengrab

Bounty money

Apple iOS is known as a prized target for hacking groups. Security researchers and “penetration testers” are drawn to the iOS platform not only by the challenges it provides but also the high rewards on offer. One hacker reportedly earned a bounty payment of $75,000 from Apple after finding a number of “zero-day vulnerabilities” in Safari that led to an iPhone camera hijack.

Vulnerabilities are often found in software like operating systems and apps. Finding those “holes” is now a proper profession — called “penetration testing” — now a $1.5 billion industry, and is estimated to jump to $4.5 billion by 2025.

A "zero-day vulnerability", is a security “hole” in a software (operating system or application) that remain unpatched by the vendor — thereby leaving a window of opportunity for hackers to exploit — some applications, including browsers may be used. On mobile phones, app vendors go through rigorous tests before they’re allowed to sell on either Android or iOS platforms.

On November 11, 2020 aeCERT reported that 112 security vulnerabilities in #Windows, #Office and other products had been fixed in a new update from #Microsoft

Software patches 

Tech companies do software iterations as often as needed, especially when vulnerabilities are found, usually by white-hat hackers. The latest software or OS versions contain patches designed to plug holes that could be exploited by hackers to hijack your system, or worse, steal sensitive files.


June 22, 2020

The first developer beta of iOS 14 released.

July 9, 2020

First public beta of iOS14 released.

September 16, 2020

Commercial iOS 14 released. New features include a new home screen design, widgets, picture in picture, and more.

October 13, 2020

Apple unveiled iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini with 5G, released with with iOS 14.

October 21, 2020

Apple released iOS and iPad OS 14.1, with multiple bug fixes. Apple has released the iOS 14.1 as well as iPadOS 14.1 updates with support for the latest devices and some bug fixes.

November 5, 2020

Apple releases iOS 14.2. The iteration is aimed patch at least three “zero-day vulnerabilities”, according to tech media reports. These holes were discovered being abused in attacks against its users. The same security bugs have also been fixed in iPadOS 14.2.

November 6, 2020

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) identifies iPhone system vulnerability, specifically in the earlier versions of iOS14 and iPadOS14, and urged people to update these apps. Several vulnerability were discovered in iOS and iPad OS “that could allow the execution of arbitrary code with kernel privileges and discloser kernel memory content.”

November 12, 2020

Apple releases first developer beta of iPhone iOS 14.3 and iPad OS14.3, according to 9to5Mac. (It’s not available yet to the public. 

How to manually update your iPhone OS and iPad OS:

  • The updates can be downloaded on compatible iPhones (starting from the iPhone 6s).
  • If you haven't been notified about the update, you may manually check by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • The latest Apple OS updates are iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2; but an iOS 14.3 is also on the way.

How to update apps in your iPhone

  1. Open the App Store, then tap Today at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap your profile icon at the top of the screen.
  3. Scroll down to see pending updates and release notes. Tap Update next to an app to update only that app, or tap Update All.