iOS 12 includes a new feature called USB Restricted Mode, which is designed to make your iPhone and iPad immune to certain hacking techniques used by law enforcement and other potentially malicious entities to gain access to an iOS device.

There are some iPhone access methods that use a USB connection, downloading data from your iPhone (or iPad) through the Lightning connector to crack the passcode.

usbrestrictedmodedefault
iOS 12 prevents this by disabling data access to the Lightning port if it's been more than an hour since your iOS device was last unlocked.

This feature is enabled by default, but there are some situations where you might want to turn it off, such as when using CarPlay to drive long distances when you might not be able to unlock your iPhone for a few hours. Here's how to access the setting:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode, depending on the device.
  3. Enter your passcode to access the settings. usbrestrictedmodepasscode
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the app where it says "USB Accessories."
  5. Leave it toggled off to disable access to your iOS device if you want it to refuse USB connections if it's been more than an hour since the iPhone or iPad was unlocked.
  6. Toggle it on if you want USB accessories to be able to connect even if it's been more than an hour since the iPhone or iPad was unlocked. usbrestrictedmodedeactivated

Most people are going to want to leave this toggle in its default off position for extra protection.

In normal usage, most of us unlock our iPhones every hour or two, and if you do need to plug your iPhone or iPad into a computer to access it, you can just enter your passcode to allow data access if it's been over an hour since the iPhone was last unlocked.

Right now, in the iOS 12 beta, these USB restrictions do appear to shut down access to a wired CarPlay interface after an hour, so that's one exception where people might want to turn this setting on to disable the restrictions on the USB port. From the iOS 12 beta notes:

"If you use iPod Accessory Protocol (iAP) USB accessories over the Lightning connector (such as CarPlay, assistive devices, charging accessories, or storage carts) or you connect to a Mac or PC you might need to unlock your device to recognize the accessory."

Note: Even if data access to USB port has been disabled because it's been over an hour since an iPhone was last unlocked, it continues to be able to charge through a standard Lightning cable because the power connection is not disabled.

Top Rated Comments

Porco Avatar
40 months ago
This is good, but why an hour? Why not a user-definable time period, or at least a few options? Hopefully Apple will offer more options in a future update.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jasonsmith_88 Avatar
40 months ago
This is great, but I would love an option to have USB Restricted mode enabled all the time, even when the device is unlocked.

When travelling I see people charging their phones off random USB ports all the time - in stores, shopping centre charging stations, hostels, buses, trains etc. Providing a USB port or even a lighting connector is becoming more and more common (as opposed to a power outlet). And I know of at least one person who has had malware installed on their device in SE Asia from connecting their device to an untrustworthy USB port.

I guess this is a pretty niche issue, but still, would be nice to prevent anything from establishing a connection to my phone even when it's unlocked. Or perhaps something like what happens when you plug your phone into a new computer and it asks you if you want to trust it, but in this case, it would ask the same question for any new accessory if it attempts to do anything other than provide power.

For now I'll continue to charge via a power outlet for peace of mind.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
allenvanhellen Avatar
40 months ago
It’s a shame that there can’t be trusted devices that can get around the lock, like our own computers or cars.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
B4U Avatar
40 months ago
Please kindly re-post these tips again when iOS 12 is actually released.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
40 months ago
I guess this is a pretty niche issue, but still, would be nice to prevent anything from establishing a connection to my phone even when it's unlocked. Or perhaps something like what happens when you plug your phone into a new computer and it asks you if you want to trust it, but in this case, it would ask the same question for any new accessory if it attempts to do anything other than provide power.

For now I'll continue to charge via a power outlet for peace of mind.
Agreed that it would be nice to disallow any data interaction with any device not previously used, unless/until the user has confirmed via password. A settable time limit for locking down the port would also be useful. In the meantime, if you need to charge from random USB sources, something like this could help ('http://syncstop.com').
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JRobinsonJr Avatar
40 months ago
... but there are some situations where you might want to turn it off, such as when using CarPlay to drive long distances when you might not be able to unlock your iPhone for a few hours.
I know it's a lot to ask. Apple has a long history of baby-steps when implementing new features, but this just SCREAMS for a solution. When I'm already connected to a device, why would they remove access after an hour? So... Apple is telling me I have to disable a security feature to use the device when connected to other devices? Umm... can you say dumb?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...