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iOS 6.1.3: Worth Upgrading?

iOS 6.1.3 upgrade screen

Apple just released iOS 6.1.3 to fix an infamous bug with the lock screen. By performing a series of operations, one could bypass the lock screen and gain access to contacts. Unfortunately, while iOS 6.1.3 fixes this issue, it introduces a new vulnerability. This update also introduces a battery issue that has affected some users.

Videosdebarraquito, the YouTube user who uncovered the last flaw, also found this new issue. With a locked iPhone, one can bypass the lock screen simply by activating Voice Control, voice dialing a number, and ejecting the SIM card with a paperclip once the phone starts dialing. Once the user has thwarted the lock screen, access to photos and videos is possible by creating a new contact. This new vulnerability is worse. It is easier to gain access and allows even greater control over the device. Since I do not have an ejectable SIM card on my Verizon iPhone 4, this is not an issue for me.

Fortunately, for those iPhone users who have an ejectable SIM card there is an immediate fix. One can disable voice dialing (Settings > General > Passcode Lock > turn Voice Dial off). If you have a recent iPhone with Siri, you can use that for voice activated dialing instead. To activate Siri, go to Settings > General > Siri and turn Siri on.

iOS 6.1.3 fixes

Users have reported battery problems after upgrading to iOS 6.1.3. Their iPhone’s battery drains rapidly. I have not experienced battery problems. I upgraded 4 days ago and had 90% charge, and my iPhone has 10% today. Nonetheless, some users are having problems. Some people have claimed they fixed the issue. The Apple Support forum has a thread on this issue, with some possible solutions. Softpedia also has some recommended steps, based on contributions from the Apple Support forum. The steps are simple — just turn off iCloud services, do a hard reset, and turn them back on. This has fixed the problem for most users.

Others suspect that fetching data is the problem. I have my iPhone set to fetch emails manually. “Pushing” has been known to drain the battery. To change from push to fetch, simply go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data. Turn “Push” off and select the appropriate interval to fetch email. Next, at the bottom of the screen, go to Advanced > iCloud. Change iCloud to either “Fetch” or “Manual”. My iCloud settings were set to “Push”, yet I did not notice a difference in battery life. People claim that simply changing from push to fetch has fixed their battery problems. It may be why I never had a problem.

iOS 6.1.3 has some other improvements. Maps has better data for Japan. There are also some other security fixes. Two issues with local users being able to execute unsigned code and determining the address of structures in the kernel have been fixed. An issue with a USB vulnerability, allowing a local user to execute code has also been fixed. Apple also secured a vulnerability in WebKit (affecting Safari and other browsers) which could allow a malicious website to close an app or execute code.

Is it worth upgrading to iOS 6.1.3? It depends on whether you lock your iPhone and if voice dialing is important to you. If you lock your iPhone, don’t have Siri, have an ejectable SIM card and rely on voice dialing, you should probably wait. If you are concerned about battery issues and need emails and iCloud data pushed to your device, you may want to wait. All other users will benefit from upgrading to iOS 6.1.3. I have tested the upgrade, and so far it works well. It is common for un-publicized bugs to be fixed in software updates.

The iOS 6.1.3 upgrade is 17.2 MB. It took me less than 10 minutes to install. This time will vary, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Remember to plug in your device or have over 50% battery life before you begin the upgrade. Follow this how-to article for upgrading iOS to avoid losing any personal data.

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