And the bugs keep coming. Yet another issue has surfaced in iOS 9, the latest version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. This time around, this particular bug makes full use of Siri, iOS’ digital assistant, as well as the pressure sensitive 3D Touch feature in order to allow unauthorized access to saved photos and contacts list on Apple’s current flagship devices, the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.
As first demonstrated by YouTube user Ideosdebarraquito, and then later explored in detail by another YouTube user, EverythingApplePro, the bug works by requesting Siri to search Twitter, and detecting generated search results that provide email address information. On devices such as the iPhone 6s or the iPhone 6s Plus, one then force taps on the email link in order to be able to gain access to the 3D Touch menu and select the Add to Existing Contact option, which typically makes all contacts accessible. One can also select Create a New Contact and then assign a photo for that contact, which generally allows access to saved photos.
Because this recent iOS 9 flaw requires specific settings to work, it may not affect every iPhone unit out there. However, this only goes to show hard it is to debug a new version of iOS when the bug you are trying to get rid of only appears in certain scenarios. For this new bug, since it involves the 3D Touch feature, it will only surface on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus handsets. Also, the digital assistant Siri needs to be configured to access the user’s Twitter account and Photos mobile apps.
It may take some time before Apple can provide a fix, so how exactly can owners of iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s devices protect themselves? They can start by blocking Siri’s access to Photos. This can be done by deactivating the option for Siri (go to Settings, select the Privacy option, choose Photos, and disable Siri). In order to block access to the contacts list, users can go to Settings, select Touch ID & Passcode, supply one’s passcode, and then scroll down and deactivate Siri’s ability to gain access when the screen is locked.
The roll out of Apple’s iOS 9.3 has been beset with setbacks. After its March 21st release, there were reports of installation issues that involve certain iPhone and iPad devices. Apple was compelled to release an updated version (build number 13E236), plus another one (build number 13E5237), in order to fix the issues. With this latest Siri related bug, the tech giant may yet deploy a new set of updates soon.
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