So, in today’s show, you’ll discover the 3 kinds of operating system updates that Apple provides.
We’ll explore whether or not Macpreneurs should update their Apple gear to the latest version of iOS or macOS and when it’s the best time to do so.
At the time of recording, iOS 13 has been officially released a week ago and the adoption rate is already beyond 20%.
What is new this year is that the iPad got a dedicated operating system iPadOS, which shipped with iOS 13.1 on Sept 24th, that is 5 days after the iPhone got the latest version
On the Mac side, macOS 10.15 Catalina is still being developed and Apple has yet to announce the official release date.
If all goes as planned, it should happen before the end of October as I suspect Apple would like to be ready for the official launch of the new Apple TV+ subscription service on November first 2019.
Over the past two episodes, I’ve shared my first impressions of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina, so if you haven’t listened to them yet, I encourage you to do so.
The main goal of today’s episode is to help you decide whether or not, you should update your Apple gear to the latest and greatest version of the operating system, and if so, when.
To do that, I’ve split the episode in 3 parts:
- First, I’ll explore the three different kinds of operating system updates that Apple provides
- Second, I’ll talk specifically about the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
- Third, I’ll talk about the Mac
The 3 kinds of OS updates
So, let’s start with the three kinds of operating system updates offered by Apple:
- Major updates
- Minor updates
- Security & Supplemental updates
- Once a year
- Number or name changes
- iOS: Main number (i.e. iOS 12 to 13)
- macOS: Second number and name (10.14 Mojave to 10.15 Catalina)
- Many new features for the end user
- Architectural improvements (faster, better battery life) => useful for developers
- Risks or issues
- Very buggy when released
- Some iPads were bricked when iOS 10 just released
- Preview stripped out OCR portion of PDS early with macOS 10.13 High Sierra
- Some bugs turn into security vulnerabilities
- Lock screen bypass or data exfiltration (ex. contacts with iOS 13.0)
- Oftentimes requires third-party app developers to update their apps
- Sometimes, loss of functionalities or compatibility with older peripherals
- Very buggy when released
Macpreneurs should be extremely careful about those updates and it requires testing and preparation before deciding to update or not
- Multiple times between two major updates
- Sub-level number change (never a name change)
- iOS: Second number: 13.0 to 13.1, 13.1 to 13.2
- macOS: Third number: macOS 10.14.1 to 10.14.2
- Mostly bug fixes mixed with security patches
- Cosmetic changes (i.e. General > About section of iOS Settings app: possibility to list 32-bit apps or layout)
- Additional new features and apps (i.e. Photos with macOS 10.10.3)
- Risks or issues:
- Less bugs than with major updates but still possible
Macpreneurs should be careful about those updates and it, too, requires some research before updating. It’s best to wait for 3 to 7 days but then do it.
Security & supplemental updates
- A few times between two minor updates
- Sub-sub-level number change
- iOS: Third number: 12.4.1 to 12.4.2 or 13.1 to 13.1.1
- Called supplemental for the latest version of macOS: i.e. Supplemental update for macOS 10.14.6
- Called Security update with the year a dash and a number for the two macOS versions before the last one: i.e. Security Update 2019-005 for High Sierra
- To patch security-related bugs or issues
- Risks or issues:
- Very little
Macpreneurs should apply them as soon as possible.
Updating your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
- Historically, only the latest version of iOS and watchOS received security updates => if not compatible, insecure
- Not true anymore:
- Even though iOS 13 is out, Apple released iOS 12.4.2 to address security vulnerability for iPhone 5S, 6, 6Plus, iPad Air 1, … stuck at iOS 12
- The oldest devices patched were released in 2013 so would make sense to keep them secured
- Series 1 & 2 Apple Watches received watchOS 5.3.2 this week before watchOS 6 will arrive for those 2 models
- That said, it’s not possible to securely keep a device behind the latest version of iOS or watchOS if it’s compatible with that latest version.
- Software update will always show the latest compatible update
- Example: iPhone 6 will show iOS 12.4.2 but iPhone 6s not -> iOS 13.1.1 at the time of recording
- Major update
- If possible, allocate 1 device for public beta testing
- Wait at least until the first security update or first minor update
- Monitor mission-critical apps and wait until all of those have been updated by the developer (temporarily deactivate automatic app updates)
- To stay secure, at one point you’ll need to pull the trigger
- Already done a major update?
- Be careful about database upgrades that may break synchronisation with older devices
- Example of Reminders database with iOS 13
- If upgraded, can use newest features but cannot sync with iOS 12 or macOS Mojave and earlier
- Not obliged to upgrade the database, Reminders still functional without newest features (nested reminders, grouped lists, attachments)
- Minor updates & security updates => Automatic OS updates should be turned on (will download automatically but needs your passcode before a restart)
Updating your Mac
- Since Apple supports the last 3 versions of macOS for security updates, no rush to update to the latest one
- My advice is to stay 1 version behind the latest one if possible -> wait for 1 year
- Less bugs and security risks
- No need to perform minor updates (directly at the latest one)
- Only security updates
- Saved time
- Not the latest and greatest features and optimisation
- Cope with nudge/notification by Apple to update to the latest version
- Considering performing a major update?
- Double-check that all mission-critical apps are compatible via developer site or roaringapps.com
- Warning with Catalina:
- 32-bit apps and 32-bit libraries are not supported
- Run free utility called Go64 from St Clair Software to make inventory on your Mac
- If you depend on some of the apps and no alternative, can stay on Mojave until end 2021
- Minor updates?
- Best to wait for 3 days to 1 week
- Not an issue when already at the last version of the previous major version (i.e. 10.14.6)
- Security & supplemental updates?
- Should be downloaded and installed automatically: System Preferences > Software Updates > Advanced
- Macpreneurs should prepare themselves and treat major updates very seriously
- If possible, allocate 1 device for beta testing purposes
- Different advice between iOS and macOS:
- iOS: Wait at least until the first minor or security update but do it if device compatible & it looks OK to keep an iOS device stuck 1 version behind the latest one
- macOS: Stay at least 1 version behind the latest one on your main production machine(s)
- Security and supplemental updates should be installed automatically
And you, what you do before updating your Apple device to a new version of the operating system?
Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
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