Apple on Monday stopped signing code for iOS 14.4.2, effectively blocking downgrades to the operating system following the release of iOS 14.5 and 14.5.1.
The halt of iOS 14.4.2 code signing arrives one week after Apple issued iOS 14.5 with a slew of new features and bug fixes including App Tracking Transparency, mask unlock with Apple Watch and support for AirTag. Earlier today, Apple pushed out iOS 14.5.1 with patches for active WebKit vulnerabilities.
With Apple no longer authenticating iOS 14.4.2 code, users who upgraded to iOS 14.5 or 14.5.1 are no longer able to download or install the now out-of-date operating system.
The outgoing operating system version addressed a security issue related to processing and viewing web content.
Apple routinely stops signing legacy code after the release of a new iOS build in part to protect customers from nefarious actors attempting to take advantage of newly discovered vulnerabilities. In addition to security, preventing users from downloading older code allows Apple to keep more iOS devices on the latest, feature-rich software.
Initial beta versions of iOS 14.6 were released in April, though the point update is not expected to deliver any major changes or feature additions to Apple's mobile operating system.