Apple users need to update their devices. Here’s why (and how)

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Apple iPhone, iPad and Macintosh users, this column is for you.

Windows and Android users, feel free to snicker and shake your heads.

Apple has issued a warning for users of many of its products to update their devices’ operating systems to patch a potentially dangerous security vulnerability.

According to a security bulletin released Aug. 17, Apple recommends updating iOS and iPadOS to version 15.6.1 to close a security hole that could allow an application to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. The ability to execute code at the kernel level could allow someone else to control your device.

Apple also released macOS Monterey version 12.5.1, which patches a similar vulnerability that would allow an application to execute code with kernel privileges on Macintosh computers.

These vulnerabilities are as serious as it gets.

Normally, Apple users revel in how they don’t really need to run antivirus software. Apple keeps a close watch on operating system security, and if users stay up to date with their operating system patches, they are reasonably protected.

The updates are released as needed by Apple, and smart users have set their device to download and install such patches automatically.

It is rare for Apple to tell everyone to upgrade as soon as possible.

These updates are intended for users of iPhones from the 6S up to the current iPhone 13 models.

Also affected are owners of iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation).

How do you make sure your device will automatically keep current with OS updates?

iOS users should go to their Settings and then open General and Software Update.

Tap the Automatic Updates option to turn it on (green), and then you’ll see options to automatically download and automatically install updates. You should turn them both on.

Mac users running Monterey should go to their System Preferences and open Software Update, then put a check in the box to “Automatically keep my Mac up to date.”

There is also an Advanced option there so users can choose to automatically check for updates, download them and install them.

I have them all checked on my Macs at home and at work.

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