Apple releases first Rapid Security Response update, but its contents remain a mystery...

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,988   +190
Staff member
In a nutshell: Apple has released its first Rapid Security Response, a new type of security update designed to address pressing issues at an accelerated pace. Apple introduced Rapid Security Response at WWDC 2022 nearly a year ago. The Cupertino-based company didn't share a ton of details on the feature at that time, but said it was intended to deliver important security updates to iOS, iPadOS and macOS between full system patches.

These bite-sized updates are smaller and require less time to download and install.

Rapid Security Response is enabled by default. To check your device settings, simply navigate to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates on iPhone or iPad and look for the Security Responses & System Files toggle. On Mac, head to Apple Menu > System Settings, then click General on the sidebar followed by Software Update. From there, hit the Show Details button beside Automatic Updates to see if Install Security Responses and System Files is enabled.

It's worth noting that Rapid Security Responses are only available on the latest version of Apple software. As of writing, that is iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, and macOS 13.3.1. Systems that have had a Rapid Security Response applied can be identified with a letter beside the OS version number, for example: iOS 16.4.1 (a). Tapping the version number will reveal more information about the update.

Should you choose to opt out of Rapid Security Responses, they will instead be delivered as part of the next full system patch.

The first publicly released update is being rolled out now although according to some reports, there were some wrinkles early on that have since been ironed out. The Verge noted the 85 MB update eventually installed without issue but what exactly it addresses remains a mystery at this hour. It's not uncommon for Apple's patch notes to lag behind updates, so don't be surprised if the notes don't show up for another couple days.

Image credit: iPhone by James Yarema, Updating by Szabo Viktor

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Very welcome addition.

It is welcome, unfortunately support for it on the enterprise end is pretty trash. Using JAMF, managing and reporting apple updates is a mess for MacOS. They don't even show the RSR updates in their reporting tools and its a broken field on the device view level.

We use Workspace One for phone/tablet (because we need Android support) and they had an KB article yesterday that support for RSR was pushed back from Q2 and tentatively scheduled to be examined in Q3 (yes examined not even implemented). Needless to say that article was updated late yesterday to something generic like they are 'actively working on it'.

It seems that none of the companies can support Apple's OS update implementations and this has been a consistent problem Not sure where the blame ultimately lies, but it would have to fall on Apple for not investing the time with vendors to have quality support for something as basic and critical as OS upgrades.