Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

iOS 6.1.2: Worth Upgrading?

iOS 6.1.2 update

Apple just released a new update — iOS 6.1.2. This update addresses a bug with Microsoft Exchange synchronization. The defect decreases battery life and increases network activity. Users who sync their iOS device with Microsoft Exchange are strongly recommended to upgrade. In fact, iOS 6.1.2 has record-breaking levels of adoption. Almost 40% of iOS users have already upgraded.

The new update does not address the well-known “passcode bug”. Introduced in iOS 6.1, the passcode issue enables unlocking the device without the passcode. By performing an extensive set of steps, a user can bypass the lock code screen and gain entry to the phone app. From here, the user can access contacts and delete recent calls. It does not allow the user to take full control of the device. However, many users feel their privacy is in jeopardy if someone can see who they have been calling.

The steps to bypass the passcode are quite complicated. I have not been able to do this, and in extensive testing, neither has PC Magazine. In other words, this is low risk. Someone has to take your device and fiddle with it for some time. At most they can get into the phone app, if they happen to achieve this dexterous feat.

To unlock the iPhone, a user must perform the following steps:

  • open emergency call functionality on locked iPhone
  • push the power button
  • tap cancel
  • dial 112
  • tap green
  • tap red
  • hold down power button for 3 seconds
  • before the “turn off” slider is displayed, tap the emergency call button
  • press the home button

After all of these steps are performed, the phone app is accessible to any user. How did this guy find this?!? As previously mentioned, I have been unable to reproduce this vulnerability. PC Magazine also found that performing these steps did not produce the same results. Nonetheless, a fix for this passcode bug is expected to come shortly, in iOS 6.1.3.

Is it worth upgrading to iOS 6.1.2? If you sync your iOS device with Microsoft Exchange, you will want to upgrade. It will preserve battery life and cut down on unnecessary network traffic. Since I don’t use Exchange, I never noticed a battery problem. Even if you don’t use Exchange, it is worth upgrading. In my testing, the update does not introduce any new bugs. With a 12.8 MB file size, it is a quick update. Sometimes vendors will fix un-publicized bugs quietly in updates. I always update my iPad first. If that goes well, after a few days, I will update my iPhone. So far, so good. I recommend upgrading to iOS 6.1.2.


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