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Urgent Updates from Apple to Combat Spyware

You can’t escape seeing headlines about this all over the news. Yesterday Apple released a set of security updates affecting all products running macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and WatchOS. This means any Apple device running current operating systems, except AppleTV devices, need an update.

Specifically, the concern is spyware that can be transmitted via iMessage and infect a device without any interaction on your part. Is this a concern? Of course. Is it likely you will get it? No, unless you are a target based on your occupation or where you live, because of the suspected source of the spyware ( To be safe, get the updates as soon as your schedule allows in the next day or two, but at least for our clients, there is no need to panic.

What devices are affected?

You can see the specific updates in this Apple support article, but in summary:

  • Computers running macOS 10.14 Mojave, 10.15 Catalina, and 11 Big Sur
  • iPhone and iPad devices running iOS or iPadOS 14
  • Watches running WatchOS 7

How do you get the updates?

If your device is already setup for automatic updates, you will get prompted soon. If not, or you don’t want to wait, you can follow any of the following links to see how to run updates on your devices:

  • Update macOS (follow the steps for Update not Upgrade):
  • Focus on the “Another update is available option if you are not already running Big Sur, by clicking More info…,, and then following the prompts.

Do I have to be running macOS Big Sur for this?

No. There are Safari and/or security updates that are applicable for computers running macOS 10.14 Mojave and macOS 10.15 Catalina.

Should I go ahead and run the Big Sur upgrade while I am at it?

No. That is a much bigger and very different question. Don’t go down that path right now, just get the updates for the version of macOS you currently have installed on your computer.

How long do these updates take?

The time needed will vary depending on your internet speed to download the updates, the congestion on Apple’s servers offering the downloads at the time you attempt to run them, the age of your device, and which updates your devices need. So far in our testing and running these on our own systems, we’ve found:

  • iPhone and iPad devices that are 3 years old or younger, are taking 15-20 minutes.
  • 2018 & 2019 MacBook Pro computers running macOS 10.15 Catalina are taking 20-30 minutes.
  • 2017, 2018 & 2019 MacBook Pro computers running macOS 11 Big Sur are taking 25-45 minutes.
  • 2021 Mac minis running macOS 11 Big Sur are taking 25-35 minutes.

You will need to be patient while running the updates and remember that any timer telling you “xx” minutes remaining really is an estimate. Don’t start these if you have a need for your device 15 minutes later. Give yourself some breathing room.

Anything else I need to do?

Nope. Once you run these updates, you are set. If you’re one of our Managed and Co-Managed clients, we are working directly with their leadership teams to get these updates into their environments.

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