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You Should Really Update Your iPhone Right Now

The latest software update patches a security vulnerability that would allow an attacker to hack your phone using the device's Wi-Fi chip.

Posted on July 21, 2017, at 1:11 p.m. ET

Apple released a new iOS update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch on July 19 — and if you haven't yet, you should download and install it now.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

There's a serious vulnerability related to the devices' Wi-Fi chip, and the new update, iOS 10.3.3, offers a patch for this specific attack.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

Before installing any software update, you should back up your iOS device.

Bravo / Via

In rare cases, software updates may cause data loss — or even "brick" your phone (meaning it won't respond if you try to turn it on or connect it to a computer). You can *never* be too careful!

You can back up your precious memories via iCloud (Settings > tap on your name at the top > iCloud > scroll down to iCloud Backup "on").

If you don't have enough space on your iCloud account, connect your iPhone to your computer and back up via iTunes. There may be a pop-up asking you if you Trust This Computer (say yes), and a prompt to enter your passcode. Once the device is connected, click the name of the device in iTunes > Summary. In the Backups section, select This Computer on the left, and then Back Up Now on the right.

You can verify the backup was successful by going to iTunes Preferences and clicking Devices. All of your backups should be listed there.

The easiest way to update your iPhone is wirelessly. Go to the Settings app > General > Software Update.


Make sure you're connected to a secure, fast Wi-Fi network. Then hit "Download and Install" when you're ready.

You can also update using iTunes. Connect your device to your computer, open iTunes > Summary > then Check for Update. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes.

If your iPhone's storage is full, you may not be able to update your device. Here's what to do if that's the case.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via

It's always important to make sure your phone is using the latest version of iOS. But this update is extra important because it patches a fairly serious flaw in the Wi-Fi chipset installed in many Android and iOS devices.

Researcher Nitay Artenstein discovered a vulnerability in Wi-Fi chipsets designed by Broadcom, which supplies Apple, as well as many Android hardware makers. Artenstein is presenting his findings at the Black Hat Security Conference later this month.

The vulnerability, which Artenstein is calling Broadpwn, allows hackers to execute code (essentially letting them control the device remotely) without any interaction on behalf of the user. In an April 4 blog post by Google's security research team, author Gal Beniamini discussed a similar exploit and demonstrated "full device takeover by Wi-Fi proximity alone, requiring no user interaction." Scary stuff.

If you have an Android device, no need to worry if you're using the latest version of the software. It was patched on July 5.

If you want to double check, open your device's Settings app, scroll to the bottom > tap About phone > Android version to check that you have the latest, or System updates to update the operating system.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.