Apple has been accused of a “lack of transparency” over its approach to security updates for its iPhone operating system, after a controversy over whether the Cupertino firm went back on its word on providing iOS 14 users with continued security fixes following the launch of iOS 15.
When Apple announced the release of iOS 15 last year, the company said that users would be given a choice “between two software update versions” in the settings app, and that it would offer security updates for iOS 14 until people wished to upgrade.
Last week, however, it was reported that Apple had ceased releasing iOS 14 security updates, and had begun pushing iOS 14 users to upgrade to iOS 15, in an apparent reversal of its promise.
Now, according to an Ars Technica report, Apple has said that it always intended the option for iOS 14 users to receive continuing security updates to be a temporary arrangement. As evidence of this, the Cupertino company pointed to a support page, published in September 2021, that refers to iOS 14 receiving updates for a “period of time”.
Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham, however, remained unimpressed, stating that the notice’s “lack of specificity doesn’t address our core complaint about Apple’s lack of security timelines and transparency”.
The tech news website had earlier said in an op-ed: “Apple likes keeping secrets and hates talking in public about its future plans. But these are all mature operating systems with well-established update patterns.
“For the sake of the people who use this hardware and software, and for the developers and administrators who support Apple’s devices out in the real world, a little more transparency would go a long way. And we’ll keep saying that until Apple actually gives it to us.”
Apple has also today stopped signing iOS 15.2 for all iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models, meaning users are no longer able to downgrade their devices to iOS 15.2.
iOS 15.2 was released in December and included Apple Music Voice Plan, new App Privacy Report in the settings, Digital Legacy, safety alerts for children using Messages, and more. iOS 15.2.1 was released the following month, with the aim of fixing CarPlay bugs and a security exploit discovered in HomeKit that could cause the repeated crashing of iPhones and iPads.
Now that the option to downgrade to iOS 15.2 has been taken away, any user who has encountered major issues with iOS 15.2.1 will have to wait for a future update to address the problem. Users running the 15.3 beta have also been denied the ability to downgrade.