Apple just released iOS 6.1. This minor update to the mobile operating system adds a few new features and fixes some minor bugs. Some of these bugs are security flaws. Although these issues have not compromised users’ iOS devices, it is advisable to install this operating system update as soon as possible. Now that Apple has announced these issues, hackers will be able to exploit systems running iOS 6. None of these security flaws are severe. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This minor update is small (74.2 MB) and installs in less than 10 minutes for most broadband users. After installation, you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID and verify your email address and phone number. In my testing, this update does not introduce any new or regressive bugs. It is highly recommended that you install this update as soon as possible to improve security.
A vulnerability allowing the AppleID to be bypassed has been fixed. This flaw affects Apple more than users, as it could allow free access to iTunes and the AppStore. iOS 6.1 also fixes a few web vulnerabilities. This is the main reason you should upgrade. There are also a few rare edge cases that are fixed, although these flaws are not serious. One such flaw is that a hacker on the same wi-fi network could potentially disable the network. So if you are in a café using wi-fi, someone could potentially disable the network. Your home wi-fi network isn’t vulnerable, unless you are living with hackers. For more details on security issues fixed, please read this knowledge base article.
iOS 6.1 introduces a few new features. Users with Siri will be able to purchase Fandango movie tickets using their voice. 4G LTE support has been added for more carriers. There is a new button to reset the Advertising Identifier. You can access this by navigating to Settings > General > About > Advertising. Resetting the Ad Identifier will have the effect of identifying you as a new user to advertisers. So if you have been searching for dog food and you see nothing but dog food ads, resetting the Ad Identifier will expose you to new advertisements. This is another new feature to protect the privacy of iOS users. The Advertiser Identifier, introduced in iOS 6.0, improved privacy by omitting device information. As you probably know, advertisers track you. It’s no coincidence that if you’ve been looking for dog food, you are presented with ads about dog food. With iOS, you have more privacy than any other operating system. You can even limit ad tracking (Settings > General > About > Advertising).
Individual songs can now be downloaded using iTunes Match. That’s odd, because I could always download individual songs with iTunes in the Cloud. Perhaps the iTunes Match team isn’t on the ball, much like the Apple TV team. After all, Apple is a large corporation. Quality is not homogenous across such a large organization.
Some minor cosmetic changes have made their way into this release. Maps now features a much more visible “Report Problems” button. The lock screen’s media controls have a slightly new look.
Overall, iOS 6.1 is well worth upgrading. While the new features are not impressive, the security fixes are compelling. Now that Apple has announced these features, your iOS devices are more vulnerable. Take the time to upgrade your devices. It’s well worth the ten minutes it takes.
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