Apple iOS 15.7.1 Release: Should You Upgrade?

Tech Industry

Apple has released iOS 15.7.1 and iPadOS 15.7.1 for iPhones and iPads worldwide. The update arrives shortly after iOS 16.1 and provides the same critical zero-day security patch as its next-generation sibling. Here’s everything you need to know.

Tip: bookmark this page because I will keep it up-to-date if/when new problems are found. I will deliver my final verdict in a week.

Who Is It For?

Apple iOS 15.7.1 and iPadOS 15.7 are for all iOS 15-compatible devices; this means the iPhone 6S (2015) and newer and iPad Air 2 (2014) and newer. With Apple admitting to auto-update delays, it is best to trigger the update manually by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update. If you are running newer beta software (see ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), you must unenroll your device before the update appears.

Note: this guide is not focused on iPadOS updates, but I will touch upon pertinent issues in these guides. You can read my iOS 16.1 Upgrade Guide here.

The Deal Breakers

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The first 24 hours for iOS 15.7.1 have been calm. The most notable issue is isolated reports of the update breaking Face ID, something which was reported in beta testing but was not expected to make it into the final release. This is worth monitoring over the coming days.

So What Do You Get?

Unlike the extensive array of new features in iOS 16.1, Apple’s iOS 15.7.1 release notes contain only a single line: “This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.”

Checking the official iOS 15.7.1 security page reveals a lot more. The update contains 18 security patches (compared to 20 in iOS 16.1), including a patch for CVE-2022-42827, a Zero-Day memory vulnerability. Apple explains that hackers could have potentially exploited this to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.

It remains unclear whether Apple will also update iOS 12 for older devices. I have repeatedly asked Apple to disclose the impact of CVE-2022-42827 on all generations of iPad and iPhone but have not received a response.

Apple iOS 15.7.1 Verdict: Upgrade

Unlike iOS 16, which is still battling to patch all the bugs in its initial release, iOS 15 is a mature platform. This, combined with the low number of complaints from upgraders and the importance of the security patch, make iOS 15.7.1 a strongly recommended update. My only caveat is that a small number of upgraders are having Face ID issues. I will monitor this and keep the article updated.

Note: bookmark this page because I will track user experiences and deliver my final verdict in a week.

The Road Ahead

While Apple is already beta testing iOS 16.2, users still running iOS 15 should only expect dedicated fixes and security patches. Given Apple’s commitment to supporting older platforms, iOS 15.7.2 will inevitably arrive at some point, but (unless the Face ID issue blows up) that is unlikely to happen until another significant zero-day vulnerability is discovered.

Meanwhile, if you are getting itchy feet and want to step up to iOS 16, then iOS 16.1 is shaping up to be its most stable release yet.

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