Earlier this month, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple has been developing a new system that will allow its employees to install software updates on sealed iPhones without taking them out of the box.
Apple can now wirelessly update sealed iPhones
According to Gurman, the new system is being developed so that Apple can wirelessly update sealed iPhones to deliver them to customers with the latest software available. The company reportedly decided to invest in this system after being forced to release a day-one update for iPhone 15 models to fix a major bug during setup.
Interestingly, the iOS 17.2 beta SDK that comes with the latest Xcode 15.1 beta pretty much corroborates this report. There are three new internal frameworks named FactoryOTALogger, FactoryOTANetworkUtils, and FactoryOTAWifiUtils that enable wireless OTA firmware updates by using a special external device.
This is in line with what Gurman reported, as the journalist described the system as a “proprietary pad-like device that the store can place boxes of iPhones on top of.” The feature is not intended for end users and is clearly marked as internal in the codes seen by 9to5Mac. In the future, this will allow Apple to avoid major day-one bugs by installing iOS updates on sealed iPhones.
This system could also be useful in helping Apple to restore the firmware of iOS devices without the need for a cable. In recent years, Apple has been working on new technologies to help users restore devices such as the Apple Watch and Apple TV when they get stuck since these devices can’t be connected to a computer.
More about iOS 17.2
iOS 17.2 brings some new features for Apple Music subscribers, such as collaborative playlists and a new “Favorites” playlist that is automatically generated based on the songs you’ve marked as favorites. In addition, the update comes with the Journal app, a new Translate option for the Action Button, and some new Home Screen widgets.
The update is now available as a beta to developers and is expected to be released to the public by the end of the year.
iOS 17.2 adds one more function to the Action button on iPhone 15 Pro
When Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 Pro, it shared 10 customization options for the new Action button. One of those options, however, was described as coming later. With iOS 17.2, it has arrived.
Starting with iOS 17.2, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max lets you assign Translate as the Action button task. The new option slots in between Voice Memo and Magnifier in the Action button section of the Settings app.
When assigned to Translate, pressing the Action button invokes a translation session from the Dynamic Island. No need to launch the Translate app.
Apple introduced its built-in Translate app as part of iOS 14 in 2020. Translation on iOS relies on the iPhone’s Neutral Engine to keep everything on-device. That means translations can work offline and do not need to rely on a network connection or server.
iOS 17.2 now includes these 10 options for the Action button on iPhone 15 Pro and later:
- Silent mode: Turn Silent mode on or off.
- Focus: Turn a specific Focus on or off.
- Camera: Open the Camera app to quickly take a photo, selfie, video, portrait, or portrait selfie.
- Flashlight: Turn the flashlight on or off.
- Voice Memo: Start or stop recording a voice memo.
- Translate: Translate phrases or have a conversation with someone in another language.
- Magnifier: Open the Magnifier app.
- Shortcut: Open an app or run your favorite shortcut.
- Accessibility: Quickly access your favorite accessibility feature.
- No action: Do nothing.
Apple debuts iMessage Contact Key Verification with iOS 17.2 beta
Apple has enabled the testing of a new security feature with the first iOS 17.2 beta. For use with iMessage, Contact Key Verification gives users more certainty they’re messaging with the people they’re intending.
Apple detailed the new iMessage Contact Key Verification feature in the release notes for iOS 17.2 beta 1. As it happens, there are three levels for how to verify contacts. Here’s the first:
With iMessage Contact Key Verification, users can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend. Contact Key Verification uses Key Transparency to enable automatic verification that the iMessage key distribution service returns device keys that have been logged to a verifiable and auditable map. When a user enables Contact Key Verification, they will be notified about any validation errors directly in the Messages conversation transcript and Apple ID Settings.
However, for those in situations where stricter security is needed, iMessage Contact Key Verification can be used “in person, on FaceTime, or a through another secure call.”
Apple highlights users can also “choose to create or edit a contact and save a public key to turn on CKV with that person.”
To test out iMessage Contact Key Verification, you’ll need to have all devices connected to your iCloud account updated to the iOS 17.2 Beta, macOS 17.2 Beta, or watchOS 17.2 Beta or “sign out of iMessage on these devices in order to enable contact key verification.”
Then you can head to iPhone Settings > your name > Contact Key Verification (very bottom) > toggle it on.
While Apple has never seen an attack like this, Contact Key Verification is another security feature that will give peace of mind to those who may be highly targeted individuals.
Even though a very small percentage of iPhone users may need security of this level, the neat part is turning it on doesn’t reduce the functionality of your iPhone or iMessage – so it could end up being more widely used than something like Lockdown Mode.