Apple’s iOS updates are always released to much fanfare. The latest one – iOS 6.1 – brought more than just Siri-enabled movie-ticket purchases and iTunes Match enhancements to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In fact, it has brought with it a couple of bugs that surely Apple coders didn’t write in to the software.

This new vulnerability can be exploited to bypass passcode locks on iOS 6 or 6.1 devices, just like it was exposed with the iPhone 4. The security lets anyone bypass the iPhone password lock and access the phone app, view or modify contacts. Other things a potential hacker can do include checking your voicemail, and also look through your albums, by attempting to add a photo to a contact.

Unlocked version won't be available for some weeks now

Hackers can access contact data and also view albums

The method was revealed in detail by videosdebarraquito on a YouTube video. As the video shows, it involves making an emergency call from the lockscreen. There is no option to switch off the emergency call button on the lockscreen, so all users who have the passcode enabled are vulnerable to this hack. Once the call is being placed, one has to immediately cancel it. Whilst cancelling, the user also has to hold down the power button twice in a quick motion. Admittedly, it requires some amount of dexterity and lightning quick movements, but a few tries and it seems to open up a number of possibilities for a potential hacker.

It is certainly surprising that a bug like this has cropped up once more on iPhones. Why Apple haven’t tested its latest software version for such a bug is inexplicable. The miss is especially glaring as a similar bug had been found in iOS 4.1, where potential hackers could access the phone directory as well as the photo gallery. It was subsequently fixed in the 4.2 update and it seems, at the moment, there isn’t a safeguard against the latest security flaw. But at least Apple is readying a fix. Reached for comment, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD that “Apple takes user security very seriously. We are aware of this issue, and will deliver a fix in a future software update.”

Lately, Apple’s normally secure OS has been looking increasingly vulnerable. The latest revelation follows the discovery of another major bug in iOS 6.1, which affects the users of the Microsoft Exchange service. Apple is reportedly working on a fix for that one with the Redmond company.

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