Apple released a new version of iOS yesterday, and the public notes this time apply just to iPhones. Labeled iOS 12.1.2, it arrives just two weeks after 12.1.1 hit, and primarily, it fixes a couple of bugs.
Both bugs are related to cellular connectivity and apply only to the three phones just released this year: the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. One is an issue with eSIM activation on those devices. (eSIMs are a new feature in these phones that allow a single phone to have multiple numbers or carriers; they’re useful if you, for example, have separate personal and work phone numbers or are a frequent international traveler.)
The second bug is related to cellular connectivity specifically in Turkey.
Here are the notes accompanying the update:
iOS 12.1.2 includes bug fixes for your iPhone. This update:
- Fixes bugs with eSIM activation for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
- Addresses an issue that could affect cellular connectivity in Turkey for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
The cadence of this update is unusual; Apple usually waits longer between updates and distributes more beta releases than we’ve seen here. When that cadence has been broken recently, it has been because the update in question solves a very pressing and serious problem. For example, Apple released a rapid succession of minor updates to iOS 11 (11.0.1, 11.0.2, 11.0.3) in late 2017. These updates fixed an issue that broke email functionality with Exchange servers, then an audio issue with iPhones, then audio and screen issues on iPhones, all within a few weeks.
These eSIM problems are fairly minor, which has led enthusiast publications like AppleInsider and MacRumors to speculate that iOS 12.1.2 may include changes that address the Qualcomm patent violations that led modem-maker Qualcomm to seek a ban on the sale of certain iPhones in China. If those changes are included, Apple hasn’t spoken of them publicly, however.
Typically, Apple has also provided a list of security changes associated with each update on its developer website. But the entry for iOS 12.1.2 reads “This update has no published CVE entries.”