Apple updated macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS

Apple UpdatesAs you may notice, I stopped blogging recently. This is not the end of project, I plan to review all my articles, because I have made many grammar mistakes and I have also found many stylization issues. I will continue to post articles about Apple’s software updates like I do now. I know I’m (again) late with this article, but I was reinstalling my home computer and network system and I had a lot of work. Now let’s look what’s new in macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS, which were released on January 26th.

As for macOS Big Sur, the most notable bug fixes were related to the M1 Mac mini and to the iCloud Drive. Apple fixed an issue with a black screen on external displays that may appear on M1 Mac mini after connecting mentioned Mac to external display using an HDMI to DVI converter. iCloud Drive service was affected by issue that caused iCloud Drive to disable when turning off the ‌iCloud Drive‌ Desktop & Documents Folders option.

For advanced users and system administrators, there are also another great news: in this update, a ContentFilterExclusionList feature was removed.

What is it?

It’s a feature, that allows Apple to bypass 3rd party firewalls and VPNs for certain built-in services, like App Store and Update services. It was meant to protect unexperienced users against blocking access to critical system services by using firewalls like Little Snitch, but many security researchers and experts, like Patrick Wardle, pointed to security issue that could cause that attacker could abuse the ContentFilterExclusionList feature to add malicious processes to the list and to bypass any firewall leaving macOS Big Sur completely naked. And yes, it was not so hard as was demonstrated by Patrick Wardle. With bad press, Apple decided to remove ContentFilterExclusionList feature.

Later, on February 9th, Apple released macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 update, which addressed a critical Root Access Sudo bug, that could allow an attacker to gain root access to a Mac. Bug is listed as “CVE-2021-3156” and was also addressed in Supplemental Update for macOS Catalina and older macOS Mojave. The updates also include fixes for two bugs that could allow an app to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.

Full release notes for macOS Big Sur:

‌macOS Big Sur‌ 11.2 improves Bluetooth reliability and fixes the following issues:

  • External displays may show a black screen when connected to a ‌Mac mini‌ (‌M1‌, 2020) using an HDMI to DVI converter
  • Edits to Apple ProRAW photos in the Photos app may not save
  • iCloud Drive‌ could turn off after disabling the ‌iCloud Drive‌ Desktop & Documents Folders option
  • System Preferences may not unlock when entering your administrator password
  • Globe key may not display the Emoji & Symbols pane when pressed

iOS and iPadOS update allows to read smaller QR codes and also adds option to select a device type of connected 3rd-party Bluetooth audio devices for more accurate Headphone Audio Level measurement.

There are several bug fixes for issues that include image artifacts appearing in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro, problems with the Fitness widget not updating correctly and a bug that could cause typing to be delayed and word suggestions not to appear when using the keyboard.

Full release notes for iOS and iPadOS:

iOS 14.4 includes the following improvements for your ‌iPhone‌:

  • Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera
  • Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
  • Notifications for when the camera on your ‌iPhone‌ is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera in ‌iPhone 12‌, iPhone 12 mini, ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and iPhone 12 Pro Max

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌
  • Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data‌
  • Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard‌
  • The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages‌
  • Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri‌
  • Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen‌

watchOS 7.3 adds a “Time to Walk” feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers, adding an audio experience in the Workout app where those who are doing a walking workout can listen to inspiring stories during their walks.

Also, ECG functionality is expanding to Japan, Mayotte, Philippines and Thailand, and irregular heart rhythm notifications are coming to Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

Full release notes for watchOS:

watchOS 7.3 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

  • Unity watch face–inspired by the colors of the Pan-African Flag, the shapes change throughout the day as you move creating a face that’s unique to you
  • Time to Walk for Apple Fitness+ subscribers–an audio experience in the Workout app where guests share inspiring stories as you walk
  • ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, and Thailand
  • Irregular heart rhythm notifications in Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand
  • Fix for an issue where Control Center and Notification Center may be unresponsive when Zoom is enabled

As for tvOS, no new features were found during beta testing. It’s unclear what’s new.

New version number(s):

  • macOS – 11.2.1
  • iOS – 14.4
  • iPadOS – 14.4
  • watchOS – 7.3
  • tvOS – 14.4
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