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Apple Releases iOS 14.5.1, iPadOS 14.5.1, macOS 11.3.1, and watchOS 7.4.1

Oops. Apple just released iOS 14.5.1 and iPadOS 14.5.1 to fix an important bug in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5. If you had already disabled Settings > Privacy > Tracking > Allow Apps to Request to Track, you may not have received App Tracking Transparency prompts from apps, even if you re-enabled the setting. We were wondering why we couldn’t get any apps to ask to track us.

iOS 14.5.1 release notes

Apple also released iOS 12.5.3, macOS 11.3.1, and watchOS 7.4.1. They, along with iOS 14.5.1 and iPadOS 14.5.1, fix nasty WebKit vulnerabilities that could lead to arbitrary code execution and that Apple says may have been actively exploited in the wild.

macOS 11.3.1 release notes

We’ll likely see security updates for 10.15 Catalina and 10.14 Mojave as well. They may be delayed while Apple fixes problems that Security Update 2021-002 Catalina created for apps that use OpenCL. There is no corresponding tvOS update because tvOS does not use WebKit.

Given the severity of these WebKit vulnerabilities, we recommend updating soon, whether or not you have already updated to one of last week’s updates (see “Apple Releases iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS 11.3, watchOS 7.4, and tvOS 14.5,” 26 April 2021).

To install the updates:

  • iOS 14.5.1, iPadOS 14.5.1, and iOS 12.5.3: Go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 14.5.1 is 135.1 MB on an iPhone 11 Pro. iPadOS 13.5.1 is 92.8 MB on a 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
  • macOS 11.3.1: To install the 2.4 GB macOS 11.3.1 Big Sur update, go to System Preferences > Software Update.
  • watchOS 7.4.1: Install the watchOS 7.4.1 update from the iPhone’s Watch app in My Watch > General > Software Update. The Apple Watch must be on its charger and charged to at least 50%. The update is 63.1 MB on an Apple Watch Series 4.

As always, if you experience any problems after updating, please share that information in the comments to help other users.

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Comments About Apple Releases iOS 14.5.1, iPadOS 14.5.1, macOS 11.3.1, and watchOS 7.4.1

Notable Replies

  1. iOS app tracking presents an interesting dilemma for me.

    Rather than use the Facebook app on my iOS devices, I use a shortcut pointing to the mobile website version of Facebook.com. That is to say that I use Safari. Back in the day I decided I’d rather use a standards-compliant and heavily scrutinized app – which already offered cross-site tracking prevention & 3rd party cookie blocking – than a mystery box app to see photos of my friends’ kittens.

    Now that we have app tracking transparency, however, I wonder if I might better accomplish the same result by turning on the new app tracking feature and then disallowing tracking for developers I don’t really trust (ex: Facebook) or allowing tracking for apps that I do (ex: TidBITS News).

  2. Still not getting App Tracking Transparency on my iPhone 12 Pro or my 11" iPad Pro after updating to 14.5.1. Is there a mystery step besides setting “Allow Apps to Request to Track” to true?

  3. Updating watchOS has become annoying lately. Opening the Watch app with the watch fully charged and sitting on its charger gets a prompt to enter the unlock code on the watch. This can’t be done on the charger, so I have to pick it up. It is locked, so I have to put it on my arm and enter the unlock code. Then it prompts me to again enter the unlock code to do the update. And then it must be put it back on the charger since the update can’t proceed if it’s not on the charger. Sheesh!

  4. App tracking transparency prompts require the app to be updated to ask for the permission. As I showed in another thread, I received my first prompt today from the ESPN app. So far no prompts for me from any of the apps made by Facebook.

    To be clear: starting with iOS 14.5, apps are not allowed access to the IDFA (identity for advertisers) until they are granted permission by the user. So, until you get the prompt and allow the app, it cannot use the IDFA to track you (because iOS will not allow the app to see it.)

  5. I have checked both of my devices, iPhone and iPad, and the setting to “Allow Apps to Request to Track” was turned off on both. I thought the default setting was to be On, or am I not understanding the Setting?

  6. Here is what I do:

    1. Start the Software Update with the Watch on my wrist (see note below). This enables me to properly enter the passcode.

    2. Immediately, place the Watch on the charger and lay the phone close to it (I have a non-cellular Watch version).

    3. Let the update proceed to completion

    Note: For the last 2 updates, I have started the update via the Settings App on the Watch rather than the Watch App on the iPhone. It seems to proceed faster, because I think that starting on the phone causes the update to be verified on both the phone and watch, while starting on the watch only series the update there. Today’s update (admittedly a small one) was done in under 15 minutes.

  7. Same issue with iPhone updates. It has to be unlocked, then download, then verify, then it waits…oh look, Install. Then it wants my unlock code, then install begins. This update was minutes, but with the larger updates, even left on charger, the phone lights up my room at night (thinking a bedtime update would allow no interruption).

    I wonder if anyone notices on the iphone, how a 1-pixel thin line of blue is legible without some magnification support? I’m no longer in possession of a teenager’s optics, but someone at Apple needs a lesson in visual guide standards and accessibility.

  8. Well summarized. All this extra hoopla would be fine in the name of security or whatever if this were a once in a quarter event. But with Apple now having started pushing weekly updates* it’s just outright obnoxious.

    *) The updates would perhaps be monthly, but then a week after the update Apple needs to push another one to fix what they screwed up in the last update. Then a week after that a fix for the fix. You’d think there was zero testing going on. And this despite all of the super hyped marketing fluff about devs and betas and PBs and yada yada. What a circus. Imagine if cars worked this way. LOL.

  9. Speaking of weird-ities with these updates…I’ve noticed that on both macOS and iPadOS that I no longer stay logged in to those websites that previously retained my logged in status overtime. Amazon, some photo sites and others that I’ve been logged into essentially forever no longer retain me being logged in…so I presume it’s got to be something in Safari causing the issue.

  10. Thanks. Problem is me, in that I come from the school of thought “don’t let update automatically” because percentages of errors are greater with unmitigated updates. Look at 14.5 rolled out, because support for new sales items (M1 products, Airtags, …) and then rush to 14.5.1 because of ZeroDay vulnerabilities. Is Apple that BIG to not think fail? Perhaps this thinking of Out the door, patch later, is becoming a crutch.
    Well, the good news is, atleast we don’t have to mail away for floppies to install the updates!
    (edit-ghost typos)

  11. Curious. I haven’t experienced any of this. Mostly I start watchOS updates while I’m wearing it, and then put it on the charger without ever being prompted to unlock again. And this morning, after it charged all night, I remembered that I’d forgotten to install watchOS 7.4.1 so I triggered it before taking the watch off the charger. Again, no unlock prompts.

    I wonder if that could be related to having Unlock with iPhone enabled in Watch > Passcode (which I do).

  12. Of course, if there was no Internet connectivity, most of these security problems wouldn’t matter, so we’d only be upgrading to fix user-visible bugs, which doesn’t happen nearly as often.

  13. And the bug in question would never have happened because it revolved around App Tracking Transparency, which could never have been an issue in the floppy era. :slight_smile:

    Modern operating systems are orders of magnitude more complex than in the past, and they contain vast numbers of bugs, most of which no one will ever notice. @das wrote about this last year when Apple was really having trouble with Catalina and iOS 13.

    Frankly, the number of operating system bugs that have actively impacted my everyday use is vanishingly small. Developers have it harder, since they often have to work around bugs to get their apps to operate correctly.

  14. I was starting on upgrading Macs, iPhone, iPad and Watch today. To my amazement, the watch had upgraded itself while being on the charger by my bed close by my iPhone. This has never happened before.

  15. Is that in any way related to your setting for Safari > Prefs > Privacy > Prevent cross-site tracking ?

    I have had legit sites no longer work properly as soon as that is checked. Once you know which site it is, you can remove the setting just for visiting that site (it’s a pain, but it worked). The trouble is figuring out which sites’ broken behavior stem from that setting.

  16. Indeed, many of us would appreciate long-standing and easily reproducible visible bugs get patched more often. But despite all the feedback and various .* updates, not much happens to those.

    Nah, we see them plenty alright. And they get reported by many too*. It’s just that, apparently, Apple doesn’t care to fix them. They might get “fixed” when the entire code gets refactored in a future release perhaps, but that’s essentially leasing a new car to replace the worn brake pads on your last car.

    *) Some actually argue we should stop reporting bugs to Apple entirely. Howard Oakley is a highly regarded individual among that camp.

  17. yes, i barely noticed that thin blue line.

  18. Why have the three ‘traffic light’ buttons in every app window changed colour? Why am I now seeing ads at the start of every YouTube video in Safari 14.1?

  19. Why am I now seeing ads at the start of every YouTube video in Safari 14.1?

    You will have to ask YouTube about that as it doesn’t seem to be limited to Safari. I see the same for many (but not all) YouTube app videos. I don’t believe there is any way that a Safari extension can prevent them, either.

    -Al-

  20. To what? They look the same to me.

  21. I see left to right: red, brown, green. They used to be red, yellow, green.

  22. You may want to color balance the monitor again. Seems the chroma or brightness has changed

  23. Sometimes, I’ve found that after a system update, color calibration resets back to its default.

    Fortunately, there is a simple fix. Open System Preferences and select Displays. Go to the Color tab. Select a profile that isn’t already selected. Then re-select the one you were using.

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