Apple has released a small but important update to all its operating systems today. The update notes for version iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1, watchOS 6.2.6, tvOS 13.4.6, and macOS 10.15.5 are practically non-existent: “This update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.” The iOS update also includes 13.4.6 for HomePod.
Typically, when Apple is so vague about a security patch, it is trying to make sure users have a change to update without tipping off hackers. This latest patch is probably related to a new jailbreaking tool that apparently works even on newer hardware running iOS 13.5.
We can get a little more information by looking at Apple’s security updates page. The security update details for all these operating systems is exactly the same:
Impact: An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges
Description: A memory consumption issue was addressed with improved memory handling.
“Arbitrary code with kernel privileges” is really bad. Yes, that’s one component necessary to jailbreak iPhones and iPads, but it’s also a major security issue for malicious hackers, and an open window for the devices law enforcement and government agencies use to access the data on personal devices (with or without a warrant).
In short, you should take Apple’s word that this is “recommended for all users” seriously and update your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, HomePod, or Apple Watch.