Whenever Apple needs to fix a bug in iOS, they typically release it as part of an iOS update. For those who keep their devices constantly updated, this isn’t really an issue, but for those who might be late on updating or holding off for whatever reason, not updating also means not getting critical security fixes.
Apple could be changing their approach, at least according to the latest iOS 14.5 beta in which the folks at 9to5Mac have discovered some code in the beta that suggests a change. The code that they discovered makes references to how Apple could be planning on splitting up the iOS and security updates from each other.
This means that users who choose not to update to the latest version of iOS will still be able to download the security update separately and install it. While nothing has been confirmed yet, this move shouldn’t really come as a surprise. This is because Apple already does something similar for macOS, where users on older versions of macOS can still download critical security updates without having to upgrade/update their entire operating system.
As newer OS upgrades can result in a less than ideal experience on older phones, it is understandable why some users are hesitant to upgrade. Plus no update is perfect as each comes with its own set of bugs and problems, which is why some users choose to use a more stable version instead of the latest, so these changes could definitely help keep iOS devices more secure.