Apple is apparently preparing to release iPhone security updates separately from iOS updates with feature changes. The just-released fourth beta of iOS 14.5 gives users a new, separate toggle to choose whether to automatically install security updates.
However, at this point this feature doesn’t work quite as many might expect.
Currently, the Settings application allows iPhone users to chose to either automatically download iOS updates or require the user to manually do so. They are then given the option to automatically install them or do so manually.
When iOS 14.5 is released, two options become Download New Updates and Install Security Updates. At this point, there is is seemingly no option to automatically install every iOS update.
iPadOS 14.5 beta 4 also includes the same reconfigured screen for installing updates.
Treating full updates and security ones separately?
Currently, there’s no way to squash an iPad or iPadOS security bug other than by updating the operating system. The result is iOS 14.4.1, a new version that takes care of a single security problem and nothing else. There have been other recent examples, too.
It appears Apple is going to separate security fixes from ones that contain new features. It’s not clear yet how that will work.
Especially as iOS 14.5 beta 4 does not allow iPhone and iPad users to only download and install security fixes. As it works now, it’s not possible to check Install Security Updates without also having Download New Updates checked.