Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes
21st January 2022
Regular readers will know that I talk about Apple patching a fair bit. Apple gets a lot of praise from me about the long patching life they give their devices, but I also tend to mention regularly that patching on iOS/iPadOS tends to require careful managing due to the combination of feature updates alongside security fixes that most iOS releases bring.
So, if you cast your mind back to the distant past of last June, you will see that I was getting rather excited about the fact that Apple iOS is Splitting. This was big news… for the first time, Apple was giving users (and thus Enterprise Admins) the choice of taking new features or just taking security fixes. This created the two parallel tracks for patching – users could be patched and up to date on either iOS 14 or iOS 15.
That choice is actually good news for Enterprise Admins – feature changes create support overhead. Stability is a good thing, so long as it’s secure!
Back to Plan A
All change this week. Eagle-eyed admins noticed that iOS 14.8.1 had stopped being made available to iOS14 devices that needed an update. Instead, they were being pointed to iOS 15.2.1.
In yet another example of ballsed up communications from Apple, they have now confirmed that iOS 14 was only going to receive updates for a “period of time” (see this good summary from Ars Technica here if you want to know more about this).
Apple really should have been much clearer about their plans for patching. This is particularly important for the Enterprise market which is trying to plan and build processes around this. Here at Mobliciti, we had to double up on our patch testing for managed service customers to support two possible major releases being patched, and I expect many Admins globally have been doing the same since iOS 15 came out.
So, now it’s back to Plan A. iOS/iPadOS is back to having a single patched version. And for all the flack Apple is getting about this at present (which they deserve)…
At Least It’s Easier Than Android
Another common theme for me is to compare Android patching. It’s been a mess since the beginning and, despite Google’s best efforts (notably on their own phones), it remains a mess.
Android 12 was released back in October last year. Do a quick Google search for Android 12 and you’ll get a screen full of results along the lines of “When will my phone get Android 12” which says it all really. Because sadly the answer for most will be “not yet”.
As an example, this page from Android Police gives a decent summary – it’s not exhaustive, but a quick scroll down will show what a tangled web Android patching remains. Per Device / Per Country or Region dates are still common just like the bad old days of Mobile Phone updates from Carriers.
For all its flaws, iOS continues to smash it compared to Android. So, I’ll do what most customers do – stop moaning and get on with it!
And if you do need any assistance with patching/updates then please do get in touch – we can take the entire problem off your hands if you want…