What Are Rapid Security Response Updates? (and How to Enable Them)

What Are Rapid Security Response Updates? (and How to Enable Them)

  05 Jan 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Rapid Security Response updates deliver critical security patches between typical iOS updates.
  • By default, a Rapid Security Response update will be installed automatically on your Apple device.
  • You can choose to remove a Rapid Security Response update after its installation, but it’s safer to keep it to protect your device.


Usually, you receive critical security fixes whenever you update your Apple device. However, this has changed slightly with the release of Rapid Security Response updates. Here, we’ll discuss how these differ from regular OS updates and show you how to enable them.


What Are Rapid Security Response Updates on Apple Devices?

A Rapid Security Response update is a minor security update Apple rolls out to patch vulnerabilities that crop up between standard iOS or macOS updates. Consider them as hotfixes to rectify security flaws. Apple denotes these updates with the iOS version followed by a letter in parentheses—for instance, iOS 16.5.1 (a).

How do they differ from regular iOS updates? These updates have a smaller file size, will install automatically, and most won’t require a device restart. This makes it even easier for Apple users to secure their devices without having to download a large update file.

How to Enable and Disable Rapid Security Response Updates

Rapid Security Response updates are available on all Apple devices running at least iOS/iPadOS 16.4.1 or macOS 13.3.1. By default, these updates are enabled on your device. If your device isn’t getting them, you can check if the feature is enabled.

On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates. Ensure that the Security Response & System Files option is toggled on.

On a Mac, go to System Settings > General > Software Update. Click the Info (i) button next to Automatic updates. Check that the Install Security Responses and system files option is toggled on.

Enable Rapid Security Response Updates from macOS System Settings

If the latest Rapid Security Response update is yet to be installed on your device for any reason, you can install it like how you usually update your iPhone or Mac. On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update; if an update is available, tap Download and Install.

On a Mac, go to System Settings > General > Software Update and select Update Now if a new version is available.

To disable Rapid Security Response updates on any device, follow the same process above but set the Security Response & System Files setting off instead.

Is It Safe to Remove a Rapid Security Response Update?

You can remove Rapid Security Response updates if you suspect they’re causing issues right after installation. However, unless the effect is severe, it’s safer to keep the updates as they contain essential security fixes for your device.

For example, if you feel that your iPhone’s battery is draining faster after the update, it’s worth reviewing your usage habits and applying tips to make sure you’re maintaining your iPhone’s battery health properly first.

Still, if you wish to proceed and remove the Rapid Security Response update on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General > About > iOS Version > Remove Security Response.

On a Mac, go to System Settings > General > About. Click on the Info (i) button next to the macOS version. Then, under the Last Security Response section, click Remove and Restart > Remove Response & Restart.

About page of System Settings

After removing the update, you can install it later again or wait for the next standard software update from Apple, which will then automatically include the Rapid Security Response update as well.

Rapid Security Response updates are just one of the security features from Apple that keep your devices safe. By having the latest security patches, you can better protect your device and personal data.

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