For user ease, these updates include improved iBeacon connectivity, the technology that lets iOS 7 devices notify each other of their presence, and a Safari bug should no longer cause unexpected app crashes, thanks to improved memory.
Security updates include data protection for e-mail attachments will now be better protected through encryption. Data transfers have been improved for third-party accessories, such as bar code scanners. Changes have been made to the lock screen that now make it more difficult for someone to exceed the number of failed passcode attempts and break into the device. The Siri voice-operated personal assistant now will require that a passcode be entered when asking to view a phone's list of contacts from the lock screen, should someone be trying to gain access to contacts without permission.
These updates are available for the iPhone 4 or later, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad 2 or later, and iPad mini or later.
Users can download the update through iTunes or over-the-air in the Software Update tab on the iPhone's General Settings.
The last iOS 7 update came in March with iOS 7.1.1, which featured a cleaner, sleeker design. That update, however, failed to provide data protection for e-mail attachments, as noted in an April blog post by NESO Security Labs co-founder Andreas Kurtz.
iOS 8, available this fall, will feature HealthKit and HomeKit, applications that will let users aggregate their health and fitness data and better control their devices through the Internet. It will also provide better connectivity between various Apple devices, allowing users to transition easily between applications on their iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer, for example. And updates to iCloud will let users deliver large files of up to 5 GB via e-mail.