Apple Introduces Rapid Security Responses for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS

  1. Rapid Security Responses are available only for the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, starting with iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1.
  2. Devices are set by default to allow automatic application of Rapid Security Responses, with prompts to restart the device when necessary.

Apple has announced the introduction of Rapid Security Responses, a new software release strategy aimed at improving the security of its iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. These releases will deliver important security improvements between standard software updates, addressing issues such as vulnerabilities in the Safari web browser, the WebKit framework stack, and other critical system libraries.

The new Rapid Security Responses will help Apple respond more swiftly to security issues, including those that may have been exploited or reported as existing “in the wild.” However, these security updates will only be available for the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS—beginning with iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1.

By default, devices are set to automatically allow Rapid Security Responses, prompting users to restart their devices when necessary. Users can check their device settings by following these steps:

For iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates
  2. Ensure that “Security Responses & System Files” is turned on

For Mac:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Settings
  2. Click General in the sidebar, then click Software Update on the right
  3. Click the Show Details button next to Automatic Updates
  4. Make sure that “Install Security Responses and system files” is turned on

When a Rapid Security Response has been applied, a letter will appear after the software version number. For example, macOS 13.3.1 (a).

Users who prefer not to apply Rapid Security Responses when they become available can opt-out of the feature. In this case, their devices will receive the relevant fixes or mitigations when they are included in a subsequent software update. Apple strongly recommends keeping this feature enabled to maintain optimal security for all devices.