Apple releases first rapid security response patch to the public

2 May 2023

Image: © Bigc Studio/

The rapid security response feature delivers various improvements between software updates, such as security flaws that are believed to have been exploited.

Apple has released its first “rapid security response” update to the public, which is designed to bring security improvements to the latest iOS and MacOS versions without the need for a full update.

The feature was unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last year, where it showcased a batch of hardware and software upgrades.

The rapid security response feature delivers important security improvements between software updates, such as improvements to the Safari web browser, the WebKit framework stack, or other “critical system libraries”.

Apple said this feature is also designed to mitigate security issues more quickly, such as issues that are believed to have already been exploited.

The update was relatively small at 85MB but initially failed to install, according to The Verge. This issue was reportedly fixed after a couple of hours.

Various rapid security response updates have reportedly been sent to beta users in the past, but the recent update marks the first public release since its announcement last year.

Apple said that when a rapid security response has been applied, a letter appears after the software version number, which also likely indicates the number of security updates.

The company also said these updates will only be delivered to the latest version of iOS, iPadOS and macOS. Any user that opts out of these fixes will have them implemented in future software updates.

The update hasn’t shown exactly what it has fixed or which security issues it has mitigated against. Apple’s products have previously been targeted by spyware strains.

Last month, reports by Citizen Lab and Microsoft claimed an Israel-based spyware had mainly targeted iOS devices and was used against individuals in at least 10 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

Pegasus – a similarly controversial spyware from Israel – also exploited vulnerabilities in Apple products, which prompted Apple to file a lawsuit against its creator in a bid to “hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic