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Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: Do I need those OS updates?

A reader asks why it is important to update Windows or IOS whenever updates become available. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK has a clear answer.

Q: Why is it important to update Windows or IOS when updates become available?

A: The question should really be, how much of a chance am I taking by not updating Windows or iOS?

And the answer is, you’re taking a big change, on multiple scores.  Holes in security or vulnerabilities that emerge later are probably the single biggest danger you face by holding onto outdated versions of an operating system (OS) – or any software, for that matter.

Software updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. By installing security updates, you are taking the most basic step possible to protect your device from malware and other threats (aside from keeping it switched off).

Software updates also improve the performance of a device. For example, it may include code that optimises the way your device uses memory or draws on the battery. You may even notice the improvement in the speed and responsiveness of the computer, tablet or handset.

Software updates often include new features that can make a smartphone or computer more useful. For example, it might include a new app, a new feature in an existing app, or a new way to interact.

Finally, software updates can make a device compatible with new software or hardware. If you upgrade a MacBook Air to a new version of macOS, for example, you may suddenly discover you have access to tools like Facetime, that you had always thought were only for phones and tablets. That update has parallels across all OSs.

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