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Last week, Apple rolled out the much-anticipated iOS 16.6 update, and with it came a significant development: the tech giant has officially stopped signing iOS 16.5.1 and iPadOS 16.5.1. This means that iPhone and iPad users are no longer able to revert to the previous version of the operating system once they’ve updated to a newer one.
iOS 16.5.1, which was released on June 21, addressed the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter bug and tackled two crucial security vulnerabilities. The first flaw allowed malicious parties to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges, while the second was a WebKit exploit that permitted the execution of arbitrary code through specially crafted web content.
Throughout its lifecycle, Apple diligently provided additional security patches for iOS 16.5.1 via various Security Response updates to ensure users’ devices remained protected.
On the other hand, iOS 16.6 made its debut on July 24, bringing along an impressive total of 16 security fixes. These patches covered vulnerabilities in categories such as the kernel, Find My, WebKit, and Apple Neural Engine. Notably, Apple disclosed that two of the patched flaws were potentially being actively exploited by threat actors.
Interestingly, iOS 16.6 is expected to be one of the last updates within the iOS 16 series, as the tech community eagerly awaits the official release of iOS 17 this fall. Consequently, devices like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, which won’t support iOS 17, are likely to receive iOS 16.6 as their final software update. Nonetheless, Apple has reassured users that security patches will still be provided for these devices for at least another year.
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In the past, downgrading to older iOS builds has been a popular technique among those who jailbreak their iPhones and iPads. In December, the hacker team palera1n made waves by releasing the first jailbreak tool based on the checkm8 exploit, which remained compatible with iOS 15 and iOS 16, including iOS 16.5.1.
Additionally, reverting to a previous iOS version can be helpful for users who encounter significant bugs after upgrading to the latest release.