Apple stops signing iOS 16.3 after patching security exploits

Apple stops signing iOS 16.3 after patching security exploits

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Following the release of iOS 16.3.1 last week, Apple has now stopped signing iOS 16.3 and iPadOS 16.3. This means that iPhone and iPad users can no longer downgrade to this version of the operating system if they’re already running a newer version of iOS.

Apple no longer signing iOS 16.3

iOS 16.3.1 was released to all users on February 13. While the update didn’t add any new features, it came with multiple security patches. One of the patched exploits was found in WebKit, the engine behind the Safari web browser, which had been “actively exploited” by attackers.

On Monday, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3.1 fixes another exploit that could lead to a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. The company said the DoS problem has been fixed with “improved input validation.” Of course, users running previous versions of the operating system are still vulnerable to such security breaches, so that’s why Apple has stopped signing iOS 16.3.

iOS 16.3 was released on January 23 for all users. In addition to security patches, the update also adds the option to protect your Apple ID with Security Keys. This is also the iOS version that adds support for the second-generation HomePod.

Reverting to older iOS builds is a technique often used by those who jailbreak their iPhones and iPads. Back in December, the hacker team palera1n released the first jailbreak tool based on the checkm8 exploit compatible with iOS 15 and iOS 16. The tool works with all versions from iOS 15.0 to iOS 16.3.

Restoring an Apple device to a previous version of iOS can also sometimes be helpful for users who experience significant bugs after upgrading to the latest version of iOS.

Downgrade from iOS 16 to iOS 15

While you can’t easily revert to iOS 16.3, you still have a chance to downgrade from iOS 16.3.1 to iOS 15. That’s because Apple is still providing security updates to users running iOS 15.7.3. Those who want to downgrade an iPhone or iPad must do so using a Mac or PC.

This is not the first time Apple has offered the option to let users stay on an older version of iOS. Last year, once iOS 15 became available, users could choose to stay on iOS 14 longer while Apple was still releasing security updates for it. However, the company removed this option a few months later.

It’s unclear how long iOS 15.7.3 will remain as an alternative to iOS 16. It’s worth noting that users running iOS 16.4 beta can also downgrade to iOS 16.3.1 or iOS 15.7.3.

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