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Apple’s mysterious iOS 17.4.1 and iPad OS 17.4.1 updates are actually very important

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Maria Diaz/ZDNET

[UPDATE: March 30, 2024: Apple posted a security bulletin listing two security patches present in iOS 17.4.1 and iOS 17.4.1.]


Last week, Apple rolled out iOS 17.4.1 and iPadOS 17.4.1, a swift follow-up to the 17.4 release earlier this month.

So, what exactly does this update include?

The bottom line is that we don’t know, as Apple isn’t saying much about what’s inside. The release notes offer the standard mention of “bug fixes and security updates,” as well as urging users to install the latest version.

Also: Why I limit my iPhone 15’s charge capacity to 80% (and you should you too)

Strangely, even Apple’s dedicated page for outlining the security content of updates is oddly devoid of details this time around. Apple only teases us with a note of “details coming soon.”

iOS 17.4.1 update.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This is reminiscent of the iOS 17.2.1 update that Apple released in late 2023, another update with very little information associated with it.

Digging around, I’ve found that this update fixes an issue where an iPad might not be able to scan QR codes and the annoying bug where the alarm doesn’t go off. I’ve also noticed that AirDrop seems to be a lot faster and more reliable, as connecting my AirPods seems to be quicker and the connection more stable.

As far as battery life and performance are concerned, things seem to be about the same as before.

Regarding the inevitable “Should you install this?” question, my answer is yes. Not only might it turn out to contain security fixes, but there doesn’t seem to be much downside to applying it. 


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