Apple’s got at least two more iOS 11 updates in its pipeline and one of those upgrades could be a milestone iOS 11.3 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Next week, Apple plans to release a new version of iOS 11. The company hasn’t confirmed the version, but most expect the company to pull the iOS 11.2.5 update out of beta and release it to the general public.
iOS 11.2.5 is likely going to be a maintenance release with bug fixes and security patches though it could have at least one new feature on board. It’s an exciting update, but it’s probably not going to be as big as the update Apple pushes into its beta programs in February.
Apple typically doesn’t confirm iOS releases unless it announces plans on stage, but Tim Cook decided to give iPhone and iPad users an early heads-up about an incoming iOS 11 update earlier this week.
During a recent interview with ABC News (around the 4:30 mark of the video), Cook was asked about Apple slowing down iPhones with degraded batteries. In response, Cook confirmed plans to release a new iOS 11 update that will give users more insight into the state of their device’s battery.
Cook also says this new version of iOS 11 will give iOS users the option to disable the throttling the company uses to maintain normal CPU performance. While disabled, devices will be at risk of unexpected shutdowns.
This promise comes shortly after the company was forced to issue a statement about the iPhone slowdown issues that’ve engulfed the company in early 2018.
In its statement, the company promised to release a new iOS 11 update in “early 2018” with “new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.”
With the iOS 11.2.5 update now on its seventh beta and a release expected to take place next week, it probably won’t deliver these features. And given that Apple typically reserves x.x upgrades for new features, there’s a good chance it won’t be iOS 11.2.6 bringing these features to users in February.
Apple generally releases three milestone iOS upgrades during an iOS update cycle.
Last January, the company pushed the first iOS 10.3 beta to developers ahead of a public release in late March. In 2016, Apple released the first iOS 9.3 beta in mid-January ahead of an official release in late March. Apple declined to offer iOS 10.4 or iOS 9.4.
Both milestone updates arrived in and around the company’s semi-annual spring launch event (In 2017 it announced new products via a press release). And with rumors pointing to a potential iPhone SE 2 launch this spring, we could see the iOS 11.3 release tie-in with any hardware Apple’s cooking up for early 2018.
If Apple releases an iOS 11.3 beta to developers and testers in the public Beta Software Program in February, you can expect the final version of iOS 11.3 (or whatever Apple calls this update) to emerge sometime in March.
For now, consumers must contend with iOS 11.2.2, iOS 11.2.5, and battery throttling while we wait for Apple to cook up one of the last (if not the last) big iOS 11 updates.
Install iOS 11.2.6 for Better Security
If you're running iOS 11.2.5 or older, you're exposed to an issue that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iOS-powered device and block access to the Messages app. It can also block apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Outlook, and WhatsApp.
The iOS 11.2.6 update's main purpose is to patch up this issue.
If you're running iOS 11.2.2 or below and receive a certain GitHub link through your Messages app, your iPhone or iPad can lockup or respring. The Messages app will also become unusable.
If you're on iOS 11.2.1, your iOS 11.2.6 update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. If you're running an older version of iOS, your iOS 11.2.6 update will come with a lot more.
Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.
The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.
Apple quickly rolled out a server-side fix, but the company restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1. If you skipped iOS 11.2.1 and use HomeKit, you should download iOS 11.2.6.
If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.2.6 update. Apple's iOS 11.2 update delivered 11 patches including one for Mail and one for Wi-Fi.
The iOS 11.2 and iOS 11.2.1 updates also patched up a widespread security issue called "Meltdown." Apple says its analysis suggests it "has the most potential to be exploited."
Meltdown affects all iOS 11 powered devices so we highly recommend downloading iOS 11.2.6 if you skipped iOS 11.2.
If you skipped iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.1.1, and iOS 11.1, you'll get additional patches with your iOS 11.2.6 update.
The iOS 11.1 update delivered eight security patches including a fix for a serious Wi-Fi vulnerability called KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack. KRACK is an exploit that targets the common WPA2 encryption protocol.
If you're just now making to move from iOS 10 (or whatever you're on) to iOS 11, your iOS 11.2.6 update will come with additional security features.
In iOS 11 you can't establish trust with a PC using fingerprints alone. You'll also need to put in a full passcode in order to gain that trust.
If you skipped older versions of iOS, your iOS 11.2.6 update will come with an even longer list of security patches.
Apple's iOS 10.3.3 update delivered 24 security patches addressing potential issues with Contacts, Messages, Notifications, and Safari. It also included a patch for a potentially dangerous Wi-Fi exploit called "Broadpwn."
If you skipped iOS 10.3.2 you'll get 23 additional patches with iOS 11.2.6. And if for some reason you missed iOS 10.3, you'll get 60 security patches with your version of iOS 11.2.6.
If you want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to iOS 11 and iOS 11.2.6 soon.
This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.