A day after releasing the fourth watchOS 8 Beta, Apple has pushed another update to the current stable version of watchOS. This version comes in via watchOS 7.6.1 and doesn’t add any new features. Instead, the update’s sole purpose is to provide a security patch for an exploit that was discovered in watchOS 7.6.
According to Apple, the patch in question is related to a “memory corruption issue”. Diving deeper, Apple’s security notes revealed the following:
An application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.
It seems that although the exploit was discovered by an anonymous researcher, it’s possible that a developer has already taken advantage of the exploit. It’s for this reason that we recommend installing the update if it has not yet already been applied.
In most cases, your Apple Watch will update itself when charging and if your iPhone is within range. But you can manually check for an update by following these steps:
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap General.
- Select Software Update.
If an update is available, you will be prompted to download and install it to your Apple Watch. Just like every other software release, your Apple Watch will need to be charged to at least 50%. Additionally, your iPhone will need to remain within range, as that’s how the software is downloaded and then transferred to your Watch.
Apple is usually pretty good about not letting these bugs make their way through to the stable releases. This one happened to just slip through the cracks. However, considering that iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 were both released as a security update, this may have affected more than just your Apple Watch.
Let us know if you run into any issues with your Apple Watch either before or downloading the update.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.