iOS 16.4.1 Now Available with Siri and Emoji Fixes and More

iOS 16.4.1 update screen on iPhone 14 Pro Max.25db40c61f144dc6a0cd74c4947cabab.jpg Credit: Jesse Hollington
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Apple has just released iOS 16.4.1, a minor bug fix release to address two specific issues with emoji rendering and Siri, along with plugging some security vulnerabilities.

Weighing in at just a hair under 300MB, iOS 16.4.1 specifically notes that it addresses a problem with the pushing hands emoji not showing the proper skin tone variations and fixes scenarios where Siri may not properly respond to “Hey Siri” requests.

The Leftwards Pushing Hand and Rightwards Pushing Hand emojis were introduced in iOS 16.4 as part of the Emoji 15.0 collection that was approved last fall. In addition to new glyphs for hearts, animals, plants, and more, each of the two new hand emojis was supposed to be available in five alternate skin tones common to all emojis used to represent people.

However, it seems iOS 16.4 didn’t offer up any selections other than the standard yellow. This was clearly more of a bug than an oversight, as long-pressing on one of the pushing hands emojis showed the usual selection pop-up, but the other options weren’t there.

Important Security Fixes

The latest iOS 16.4.1 release (and the accompanying iPadOS 16.4.1) also fix two security vulnerabilities that Apple notes may have already been “actively exploited.”

The security problems in question were related to IOSurfaceAccelerator and WebKit, and both would have allowed for arbitrary code execution. The first was related to apps that may have been able to do so with full kernel privileges, while the second WebKit vulnerability could be triggered by “maliciously crafted web content.”

Apple credits Clément Lecigne of Google’s Threat Analysis Group and Donncha Ó Cearbhaill of Amnesty International’s Security Lab with discovering both of these flaws.

Although Apple isn’t providing details on how these vulnerabilities may have been used, it ultimately doesn’t matter since they’re now fixed in iOS 16.4.1. Security fixes like these are the main reason you should always stay up to date on the latest iOS versions.

iOS 16.4.1 has a build number of 20E252, and it can be installed on any device capable of running iOS 16, from the iPhone 8 and iPhone X onward. Likewise, iPadOS 16.4.1 can be installed on all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 3rd generation and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 5th generation and later. It can be found in the usual place in the Settings app, under General > Software Updates.

macOS 13.3.1 also released

Apple has also released macOS Ventura 13.3.1 to address the same security vulnerabilities and add the missing skin tones for the pushing hand emojis.

According to the release notes, macOS 13.3.1 also addresses an issue where you may be unable to auto-unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch.

These updates to iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1 will eventually install automatically, but considering the aforementioned security updates, it’s better to install them right away.

iOS 16.5 and macOS 13.4 Coming Soon

Meanwhile, Apple continues to move toward a release of iOS 16.5 and macOS 13.4, which will likely land in the next 4–6 weeks. The first iOS 16.5 developer beta arrived in late March, followed by a public beta two days later. So far, iOS 16.5 doesn’t seem to be adding much in the way of user-facing features, but more may pop up as the beta cycle continues.

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