Apple Issues Extraordinary Re-Release Of iPhone Update


Did you download iOS 17.4.1 for your iPhone after it was released last Wednesday, March 21? Full details here, and my final verdict of whether you should upgrade to it, follows on Thursday, March 22. That will reflect a remarkable circumstance, possibly unprecedented: it’s just been quietly re-released. But you may not be able to get it just yet.

Here’s what happened. Last week, iOS 17.4.1 was released, and not on the usual release days of Monday or Tuesday, but on Wednesday. The update itself had been unexpected, coming so soon after iOS 17.4, but the late-in-the-week added to its curiosity.

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Then, the nature of the security fixes in the update, discussed here by fellow Forbes contributor Kate O’Flaherty, came later than usual.

Now, in a hat-trick of surprises, Apple has just new versions of iOS 17.4.1 and iPadOS 17.4.1, as discussed by Joe Rossignol at MacRumors after being spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perry.

The new build number is 21E237, against the almost identical earlier build number, 21E236.

How different could it be, you ask? Probably not very is the answer, and it’s most likely a revised bug fix. However, if you thought that was the end of the mystery, think again.

Right now, you can’t download it. Well, you can, if you download what’s called the IPSW file from Apple to update or restore your iPhone or iPad through the Mac’s Finder app, for example.

In other words, the usual way to update, over-the-air, by going to the Settings app, clicking General, then choosing Software Update and clicking Update Now is not available. Your iPhone will say it’s up to date already.

Perris had an additional comment, by the way, saying that the new software does not differ from the old by adding references to upcoming iPads—flummoxing those pundits who believe the next iPad Pro will launch in a matter of days (here’s when I think it will).

So, what to do? If this were something really urgent, Apple would have done it as a Rapid Security Response, but it hasn’t. So, if and when it arrives as an update you can download over the air, that’s when to act.

I’ll keep my eye on this situation, so please check back.

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