Picture this scene: You are in the middle of some work and Windows says it needs to install some important updates and reboot. You grumble a bit to yourself and tell Windows to wait while you get back to the presentation you need to have ready for a meeting this afternoon. Your meeting comes and goes, you hit the end of your workday, and you shut your laptop. The problem? Windows still has those updates to install. While this scenario was common enough in normal times, it has become increasingly so as more workers are remotely working. According to Gallup, upwards of 62 percent of workers have worked remotely as of early-April.
Why are software updates so important?
Companies release software updates to add features, fix issues that can hamper device performance, or most importantly, fix bugs that are security issues and could potentially expose your device to hackers. Typically, the biggest bugs and updates will get press attention, however you still want to be sure even smaller updates get installed. To illustrate this, take a recently announced bug with Apple’s built-in iOS Mail app. The bug can allow for your device to be taken over by combining a specifically crafted email and other unknown exploits. This is expected to be fixed with an upcoming update to iOS.
What can I do to make sure updates are installed?
While most of our phones, tablets, and laptops will try to automatically install updates, you should check your devices to verify this is happening, or that your device doesn’t require further action (such as a reboot) to ensure the updates have finished installing.
- Windows 10: Open computer’s Settings app from the Start Menu, then go to Updates & Security. Here you will see any outstanding updates as well as if an update requires a reboot to finish.
- macOS: Open System Preferences, then Software Update. This will show you any available OS updates. Note: If you are on an older version of macOS, your OS updates will come from the App Store. If possible, we recommend updating your Mac to the newest version of macOS to ensure you continue receiving security updates.
- iOS: On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings Tap General, then Software Update.
- Android: On your Android device, open the Settings Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap System Updates, then tap Check for Updates. Note: Android manufactures can change how Android looks and function. For example, if you are using a Samsung device you will have a Software Update section within your Settings app.
Are there any other updates I should do?
While OS updates are typically the most important, you should also allow applications you use to install updates. This is simple on smartphones and tablets. For iOS you can open the App Store, and in Android you can check for app updates using the Google Play Store. Desktop and laptop computers can be where application updates get a bit trickier. Typically, each application will have its own update method. The most important updates, however, will be for your web browser. Most modern web browsers will keep themselves updates, however you may still be prompted to allow the browser to close and reopen in order to apply updates.
Making sure your devices are updated can feel like a chore, but an important one. If you keep up with your updates, you can help make sure your devices are more secure. You will also receive the newest features your software vendor provides and maintain your devices’ performance for as long as they are supported.
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