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iOS 15.4.1, iPadOS 15.4.1, macOS 12.3.1 Monterey, and Siblings Fix Bugs and Security Vulnerabilities

Two weeks after the release of iOS 15.4, macOS 12.3 Monterey, and company, Apple has released minor updates for all of its current operating systems to fix bugs and eliminate security vulnerabilities (see “Apple Releases iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, macOS 12.3 Monterey, watchOS 8.5, tvOS 15.4, and HomePod Software 15.4,” 14 March 2022).

iOS 15.4.1 and iPadOS 15.4.1

iOS 15.4.1 (266.6 MB on an iPhone 11 Pro) and iPadOS 15.4.1 (181.5 MB on an eighth-generation iPad) fix bugs introduced in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4, the most notable being a nasty battery drain that I and other TidBITS readers have been experiencing. The updates also fix accessibility bugs with unresponsive Braille readers and hearing devices losing connection with some third-party apps.

Equally as important, these updates fix one actively exploited security issue that allowed attackers to execute code with kernel privileges. If you’re running iOS 15.4 or iPadOS 15.4, you should install these updates right away.

macOS 12.3.1 Monterey

The macOS 12.3.1 (1.34 GB) update also fixes some hardware-specific bugs introduced in macOS 12.3, including problems with installing 12.3 on recent MacBook Pro models, display problems with some 2018 Mac mini models, and Beats headphone-related Bluetooth disconnects.

macOS 12.3.1 release notes

macOS 12.3.1 addresses two security flaws: the aforementioned arbitrary code bug and an exploit in the Intel graphics driver that could let an attacker read data from memory. Both have been actively exploited in the wild, so everyone running Monterey should update now.

watchOS 8.5.1, tvOS 15.4.1, and HomePod Software 15.4.1

Apple’s second-string operating systems also received updates, but details are light. It’s hard to feel much urgency in installing these updates, but it’s undoubtedly worthwhile at some point soon.

  • The watchOS 8.5.1 release notes mention “security updates and bug fixes,” but it has no published CVE entries (544 MB for an Apple Watch Series 4).
  • tvOS 15.4.1 “includes stability improvements when setting up or restoring your Apple TV.” Again, it has no published CVE entries.
  • Did you notice some HomeKit devices not responding properly through a HomePod after installing HomePod Software 15.4? HomePod Software 15.4.1 fixes that. (467.7 MB)

Let us know if you have any issues after installing any of this crop of updates.

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Comments About iOS 15.4.1, iPadOS 15.4.1, macOS 12.3.1 Monterey, and Siblings Fix Bugs and Security Vulnerabilities

Notable Replies

  1. My iPhone 8+ had begun burning up its battery much faster, and I attributed it to a reprise of a problem battery I needed replaced less than a year ago. I was glad to see that this download will also correct a battery problem.

  2. Still no update past 11.6.5 that I can see, for those of us still on Big Sur. I wish they would just release these things all at once.

  3. They almost always do, which leads me to believe that there won’t be an update for Catalina and Big Sur this time, either because the vulnerabilities identified in Monterey were only present in Monterey or they just didn’t feel they had the time to provide it to prior macOSs. I’m leaning toward the first guess on this one.

  4. Has anyone with an Apple silicon (M1) based Mac experienced problems with launching Intel-only apps like Microsoft Teams, Amazon Kindle, or Logitech Options after the macOS 12.3.1 Monterey update? All of the above immediately crashed on launch for me, with the crash report indicating a Rosetta error of “attachment of code signature supplement failed: 1”.

    Searching the web for this error yielded the suggestion to reinstall Rosetta via the terminal command “softwareupdate --install-rosetta” and rebooting, but this did not fix it for me. However, reinstalling these apps individually did fix the problem.

  5. It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle - Apple issuing an update to address a Homekit bug with HomepodOS!
    So there is actually a section (person?) within Apple working on Homekit. I just have to hope that this update does not break something else - so far so good.
    It has bugged me for years that Apple Discussions doesn’t have a thread for Homekit so users can try to resolve issues. We mostly have to use the Homepod thread.
    On a related matter I recently replaced some old Wemo power outlets with Cygnett ones. They don’t need a bridge (I found I needed to reboot the Wemo bridge regularly) and are very simple to install from the Home app - just scan the QR code on the side of the device and they join Homekit. No need to use the Cygnett app other than to use its power consumption monitoring feature.

  6. My HomePod (4 years old) was bricked by the latest software update. I contacted Apple support, and after an hour of trouble shooting, and escalating one level up, there was no fix. I tried doing a factory reset, but the red light kept going around and around, and nothing happened. The support person was also stumped. The said it was out of warranty, and the repair cost would be $329 (!), more than the original cost! He also said three he knew of three other HomePods that had been bricked in the past week. I said I felt this was due to faulty software, and charging such a huge amount for fix was not reasonable (if they still sold them, I’d just get a new one, since I love the audio quality). He said he’d check whether they could do something better for me, and will get back to me. Haven’t heard back yet, but he did say it would be a few days.

  7. Ouch! That sucks, and do let us know how Apple resolves it.

  8. Escalate, escalate, escalate. I find that Apple will do the right thing, almost always, when asked, though that often means repeatedly. I recently had a refurb MBAir go awol, as in never arrive after weeks post-delivery date. I had to ask repeatedly but eventually they offered $100 discount, an Incase shell and then, when it STILL didn’t arrive, they sent a new one. (non-refurb, not that it matters.)

    Absolutely, please report back on how they resolve.

  9. A few very lucky people report that their bricked Homepods came back to life after being unplugged for days or months:

    BTW the update went OK for my three OG Homepods.

  10. I’ve yet to upgrade from Apple network devices. Airport Extreme and Airport Expresses. The later are set up both wired and wireless, depending upon the device and its location.

    For the later, I have them connected to three tuner/amps so as to be able to stream music around the house.

    There are a couple of music web streams I like, HotelCostes.com and RadioactiveFM.gr.

    Prior to the 15.4.1 upgrade on an 8+, I was able to stream music from either of these two sites, using either Chrome or Safari, to the tuner/amp-connected AirPort Expresses.

    After the 15.4.1 upgrade, the streaming won’t work.

    It also won’t work from iPads running the latest iOS upgrade.

    I have an iPhone 6+ running iOS 12.5.5. That set up streams perfectly to the two devices the upgraded 8+ is unable to stream to.

    It appears that Apple ‘broke’ the ability to stream. I suspect this might be to steer customers to Apple Music, which will stream, as will Spotify.

  11. In Apple Discussions there are reports of Airplay problems after recent iOS updates. The unacceptable “solution” is that the app developers need to update their apps - Apple won’t fix it.

  12. Since downloading 15.4.1 on the day it appeared, my iPhone battery has never been worse.

    I have an older phone, an SE 2016, but its battery health is still 91%.

    From 100% charge it fell to 1% overnight. It’s never been this bad.

    I searched the Internet for conformation of this performance and found the following article:

    Just taking one photo dropped my battery by 4%!

    I bought an iPhone 13 mini today and while in the Apple store had an engineer check out my old iPhone SE. He confirmed there was nothing wrong with it (using an adjacent iPad to check it) and I had a green pass on every item . So I said to him “Then it was the 15.4.1 download that did it.” He demurred.

  13. It’s impossible for us to diagnose a problem like this in a discussion thread, but I read reports similar to yours after every iOS update. It never affects everybody, but there is always someone who reports severe battery problems after an update.

    I’ve never gotten a good answer about why, but my working theory is that it is one or both of:

    • A new update sets off some power-hungry activity in the phone. This causes bad battery drain for a few days, but usually returns to normal after that.
    • An older phone may have a battery close to the end of its usable life and the update pushes it over the edge.

    In your case, your phone is 6 years old. If you have never had the battery replaced, then I suspect you’ve hit the second of my cases. I think you’ve been running on borrowed time long before this update if you’ve got a 6 year old battery. I would ignore the 91% health indicator - that number doesn’t seem to mean anything useful.

    If you plan on continuing to use this phone (I don’t know about that, since you said you just got a new 13 mini), then I would recommend paying Apple for a battery replacement. An out-of-warranty battery replacement for an SE costs $50, which I consider to be quite reasonable.

  14. Looks like macOS 12.3.1 also fixes a bug related to two monitors not appearing on a MacBook Pro:

  15. Yes, thankfully. I suspected as much.

  16. “He demurred”. They demur like nobody’s business, right? Whenever you (rarely) encounter an Appleoid who allows that something :apple: may have been done in less than ideal fashion, it’s always refreshing.

    12 Pro, also 91% health (!?) and was at 100% at 6:49 AM, 6 hours, 20 minutes later. down to 80% with a full cell signal and wifi, maybe 30 minutes screen time, tops. Not great, right?

    How low does battery health have to go before replacement under AppleCare?

  17. and Catalina and iOS 14 for one of them plus a history of many other vulnerabilities that apparently never got patched in OSs that were still eligible.

  18. Apple says that batteries in iPhones are designed to have 80% battery health within 500 full charge cycles, and generally will not do a replacement under warranty (e.g., for no cost) until maximum capacity is below 80%, but that’s not always true - if you have obvious physical damage (swelling) or the battery fails their diagnostics, they’ll replace it, even if reported battery health is above 80%.

    You can always pay them to do a battery replacement though.

  19. Since buying two new mini 13s (love 'em!) and having removed the SIM cards from the old 2016 SEs, I charged both SEs up to 100% 24 hours ago.
    My wife’s SE (battery always good despite installing 15.4.1 with battery health at 88%) has gone down to 80% and mine to 76%, so sans SIMs they perform almost as expected. It makes me dubious of the claim that the battery health indicator cannot be relied upon. It’s as if some networking process that required a SIM in place was constantly running in the background on my phone.
    I’m aware of the advice that says to allow the phone a week to stabilise after an update.

  20. Hi Adam,
    Apple support didn’t come through with any sort of discount on a repair. I decided to take it into my local Apple Store. The Genius Bar guy also couldn’t get it to do a factory reset, so it looked like I was stuck. But miracle of miracles he found out that they still had a brand new one in stock (the last one in fact) and offered to give me that for the price of the repair ($279, a little cheaper than the original price). Since I like the sound a lot more than then HomePod mini, I grabbed it (they kept the old one). Not a great ending, but I’m happy since I really did want the big version, and now I have a brand new one.

  21. I don’t know when, but apparently Monterey added a terminal command to test network speed. (Sorry if this was already covered in a TidBITS article, but I don’t recall so.)

  22. Thanks for this! Very easy and helpful for :sweat_smile: the Terminally challenged.

    I bet some smart person has put a little script together to make it pretty.

  23. No, we hadn’t covered it yet, though we’ve discussed it on our internal Slack.

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