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iOS 12 Includes Setting to Disable USB Access When an iPhone Hasn't Been Unlocked for More Than an Hour

In iOS 12, there's a new setting that will effectively put an end to law enforcement access to iPhones and iPads using USB devices like the GrayKey box, preventing USB accessories from connecting when it's been more than an hour since the iPhone was last unlocked.

Located under Touch ID & Passcode, the new setting, which requires a passcode to be entered to allow a USB accessory to connect after an hour, is enabled by default.


You can toggle off the setting to allow USB accessories to connect at any time, but most users are likely going to leave this set to the default setting as there's not a whole lot of benefit to turning it off. With this turned on, you'll need to enter your passcode for a data connection to the iPhone using a USB device, such as when you connect it to iTunes on a computer, but charging via the Lightning port will continue to work fine.

The new setting is of interest because it's an expansion of USB Restricted Mode, a feature Apple toyed with during the iOS 11.4 beta. USB Restricted Mode was designed to disable USB access to the Lightning Connector after 7 days, but iOS 12 cuts that time period way, way down.

Law enforcement officials use USB access to an iPhone or an iPad to connect accessories like the GrayKey box, a tool that plugs into the Lightning port of an iPhone and uses the data connection in an attempt to brute force a passcode.

With the new setting, an iPhone's Lightning port data connection will not work with the GrayKey box if it's been more than an hour since a passcode was entered, rendering it effectively useless unless used immediately after an iPhone is obtained from a suspect.

Law enforcement officials are likely going to be unhappy with the changes Apple is making in iOS 12 because it's going to make iOS 12 devices a lot harder to get into, but from a customer point of view, this setting offers protection from hackers and other bad actors who may be able to get ahold of this kind of technology.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Related Roundup: iOS 12


Top Rated Comments

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20 weeks ago
In before that guy who's been professionally cracking iOS for a decade tells us he already knows how to bypass this setting.
Rating: 57 Votes
20 weeks ago
This is just awesome! I’m glad it’s an hour and not a week.
Rating: 38 Votes
20 weeks ago

what are you hiding?
i just had a 4 digit pin lol

Banking info, emails, contacts of friends and family, photos, personal info, and more. No one needs to see this info unless I let them. Period.
Rating: 28 Votes
20 weeks ago
I’m perfectly fine with law enforcement officials being unhappy about this.
Rating: 26 Votes
20 weeks ago
Should also be triggered when a phone is put into SOS mode and whenever TouchID/FaceID is disabled.

If it’s not doing that, that would seem to be an oversight.
Rating: 19 Votes
20 weeks ago
This is one of the things I love Apple products for, the way Apple takes genuine steps to protect privacy. Keeep on doing this and i'll be a customer forever.
Rating: 15 Votes
20 weeks ago

Good - **** the police

I was wondering why this was listed under "political, religious, and social issues". I guess this is why, lol.
Rating: 15 Votes
20 weeks ago
Bye bye super expensive GreyKey!
Rating: 12 Votes
20 weeks ago
Good - **** the police
Rating: 10 Votes
20 weeks ago

Can't it just be right away except for things (apps / hosts / etc.) I explicitly allow (if possible?), if not, right away would be great... I think someone else said this on an 11.4 thread maybe or I read it somewhere but the more I think about it the more it makes so much sense, why wouldn't it be turned off unless the device was unlocked or the relationship was established as trusted?!?

I agree, but it’s better than a week. I wish I could make it that the port doesn’t transfer data at all unless I unlock it.
Rating: 7 Votes

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