Why the latest iOS and macOS releases are an absolutely essential update

Apple has issued important maintenance updates for iOS (11.2.2) and macOS High Sierra (10.13.2), designed to strengthen its software’s defences against the ever-so-scary Meltdown and Spectre chipset vulnerabilities.

The firm’s latest patch supersedes an earlier release – which mitigated against the effects of Meltdown on its Mac range, and Spectre on the iPad and iPhone – by introducing protection from browser-based Javascript attacks.

More specifically, the build reinforces the barrier that stops savvy hackers from using malicious Javascript code to attack Apple’s in-house Safari browser, in a bid to gain access to the confidential material saved on a device.

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Meltdown, for those unaware, is a flaw in modern Intel processors, which leaves a computer’s kernel memory data – the protected part of a system used to store sensitive information, like passwords – open to prying eyes.

Spectre, on the other hand, is a bit more serious. It’s an underlying security weakness in desktop and mobile chipsets manufactured by a number of leading suppliers, including ARM, AMD and, of course, Intel.

Apple was one of the first companies to identify Meltdown and Spectre, issuing updates to make them harder to exploit before they were even common knowledge, while competitor Microsoft is also now releasing its own patches.

While many incremental OS (and mobile OS) updates can be considered highly optional, this is a big one for Apple device owners and we can’t stress enough that you should make the leap – however much of a pain it might seem.

Have you installed the update on your Macintosh, iPad or iPhone? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.