Back in September 2021 Apple rolled-out
iOS 15, but that doesn’t mean that the company had finished development of iOS 15, on the contrary, development of iOS 15 has continued and on 13 December Apple released iOS 15.2 to the general public, followed on 12 January 2022 with the iOS 15.2.1 update.
Now Apple has issued iOS 15.3, so in this article we will run through what’s in iOS 15.3 and whether you should install it.
iOS 15.3 release date
iOS 15.3 arrived on Wednesday 26 January 2022.
This tallies with our predictions which we based on the gaps between iOS 15, iOS 15.1 and iOS 15.2:
- 21 September 2021: work begins on iOS 15.1 (the day after iOS 15 launched).
- 25 October 2021: iOS 15.1 update made available to the public (just over a month later/five weeks).
- 13 December 2021: Full version of iOS 15.2 is released (seven weeks).
Should I install iOS 15.3?
You should install iOS 15.3 because it fixes some particularly nasty security flaws and vulnerabilities, details below.
How to get iOS 15.3
You can download iOS 15.3 now. Go to Settings > General > Software Update. You will then see iOS 15.3 which you can download and install.
Apple will now be working on the beta for iOS 15.4, so if you’d like to join in with the testing, read our guide showing
how to join an Apple beta programme. As usual, however, be sure to back up your devices before installing the new beta versions; that way you won’t have to risk losing your files.
how to get the iOS beta and
how to install iOS 15 and subsequent updates in a separate article.
What’s in iOS 15.3?
With iOS 15.2 Apple introduced some features that had been previously announced, but absent from iOS 15 at launch. These included Digital Legacy, SharePlay and more. Read about
what’s in iOS 15.2.
As for iOS 15.3, the content is mostly bug fixes, so nothing as exciting as SharePlay and none of the other
iOS 15 features that were missing at launch.
Here’s what you can expect to find in the new update to iOS 15:
Wallet app: Digital ID support
The Wallet app will soon be able to support digital IDs in about 30 US states. It’s unlikely that we will get this functionality elsewhere in the world for some time, or at all.
Bug fixes in iOS 15.3
You can be sure that iOS 15.3 will include bug fixes and security enhancements, one issue that is likely to be addressed concerns Safari.
Safari vulnerability fix
As we had hoped, Apple has addressed a
Safari 15 bug that was known to be leaking details of the tabs you have open and your Google Accounts. Apple was known working on a solution so we were expecting a fix to come in the next version of iOS 15.
The potentially serious privacy breach bug in Safari 15 that could leak iPhone, iPad or Mac browser activity and make personal information associated with a user’s Google accounts visible to others.
Apple had apparently known about the issue since November 2021. A
Github entry indicates that the Webkit project is working on an update for Safari that fixes the described bug. Safari will probably be updated with one of the next updates for iPad OS 15, iOS 15 and macOS Monterey.
iOS 15.3 includes a patch for the Safari leak your browsing activity, but that’s not the only fix.
iCloud Private Relay error
Apple has also made a change in verbiage with how iCloud Private Relay error messages are delivered.
Apple has also made various other security updates in iOS 15.3. These include a WebKit patch that could have lead to arbitrary code execution.
HomeKit patch (in iOS 15.2.1)
Apple has already fixed, in iOS 15.2.1, a security flaw that “poses a serious risk to users” according to the security researcher who discovered the vulnerability.
Trevor Spiniolas identified the bug that can be exploited through the HomeKit API. The attacker can use the API to change HomeKit device names, the new name is then backed up to iCloud. If the user’s Home devices are enabled in Control Center this will render the iPhone unresponsive until the devices names are changed back using the API.
The danger, explains Spiniolas, is that an attacker “could use email addresses resembling Apple services or HomeKit products to trick less tech-savvy users (or even those who are curious) into accepting the invitation and then demand payment via email in return for fixing the issue.”
Spiniolas informed Apple of the bug in August 2021. We run thorough this in more detail here:
HomeKit bug can render iPhone unusable.