Apple today released iOS 11.4.1, an update that adds protections against the USB devices being used by law enforcement and private companies that connect over Lightning to crack an iPhone’s passcode and evade Apple’s usual encryption safeguards.
If you go to Settings and check under Face ID (or Touch ID) & Passcode, you’ll see a new toggle for USB Accessories. By default, the switch is off. This means that once your iPhone or iPad has been locked for over an hour straight, iOS will no longer allow USB accessories to connect to the device — shutting out cracking tools like GrayKey as a result.
Apple’s decision to implement USB Restricted Mode is a boost to user privacy, but might again put the company at odds with law enforcement and authorities who want to access information stored on recovered or confiscated iPhones.
The company famously faced off with the FBI in 2016 over an iPhone connected to the San Bernardino terrorist shootings. Apple refused to build custom software that would have allowed the agency to bypass security measures designed to protect the encrypted data on all iOS products, fearing that such a “backdoor” would quickly fall into malicious hands and make millions of consumers vulnerable.