For the first time, Apple is rolling out a Rapid Security Response update. It is a new method of software release for its three popular operating systems, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
Previously, security patches were baked together with OS updates. This delayed the deployment of security issues that have already been patched. Rapid Security Responses, or RSR, separate the security updates from the OS updates. Now security patches, especially zero-day bugs, can be tackled with automatic over-the-air updates without having to wait for the OS update to be rolled out.
Devices running iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1 onwards are eligible to receive RSR. A big difference with RSR is that it does not always require you to restart your device for it to apply the patches. By default, auto-updates are enabled. You can check your device's settings as follows:
- iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates, then make sure that "Security Responses & System Files" is turned on.
- Mac: Choose the Apple menu > System Settings. Click General in the sidebar, then click Software Update on the right. Click the Show Details button next to Automatic Updates, then make sure that "Install Security Responses and System Files" is turned on.
For your safety, if you choose to disable RSR, Apple will still provide you with relevant fixes or mitigations in the next software update for your devices.