Apple released iOS 11.2.1 on Wednesday, the eighth official update to the iOS 11 operating system and the first update to iOS 11.2. Notably, the new update fixes a critical security flaw within HomeKit.
Of course, more accurately, the bug re-enables remote access to shared users in Home. Apple intentionally disabled that feature last week when a pretty significant security vulnerability was discovered. iOS 11.2.1 turns that feature back on, and presumably, patches the vulnerability on Apple’s servers.
The zero-day vulnerability, which was first spotted on Dec. 7, could have allowed hackers to gain remote, unauthorized access to a wide range of HomeKit-enabled smart devices and accessories. Most worryingly was the ability to gain control of smart locks and smart garage openers, potentially allowing attackers to enter a home without a physical key or Home access.
The vulnerability was first reported by 9to5Mac, which had the security flaw demonstrated to it firsthand. Currently, it’s unclear how the security vulnerability worked or what elements of HomeKit it exploited. But reportedly, Apple had been aware of similar issues since October.
Of course, with the security implications so critical, Apple quickly introduced a temporary server-side by disabling remote access for shared users in the Home app. iOS 11.2.1 introduces a full patch for the vulnerability, and it reinstates remote access for shared users in the Home ecosystem.
Other than the HomeKit fix, no major features were released in iOS 11.2.1, according to Apple’s release notes.
The update might have minor, under-the-hood changes, but apparently none substantial enough to warrant inclusion in the release notes. That’s justified because of the severity of the security vulnerability, however.
You can think of iOS 11.2.1 as an emergency update that you should install even if its feature list is pretty sparse.
How to Download iOS 11.2.1
iOS 11.2.1 is now available as a free, over-the-air update for all iOS users. To download and install the update, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update on your iOS device.