Apple to officially bless USB-C with 2019 iPhone

Image    Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

Image Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

With USB Restricted Mode, an iPhone's Lightning port will lock one hour after the phone is locked. It will have little practical effect on most people using the devices but will make it far more hard for investigators to use extraction tools that attach through the port for the goal of collecting the contents of seized iPhones.

Now, in a statement to Reuters, Apple has acknowledged these efforts and says they come in an effort to protect its customers...

Yet some authorities nearly certainly will see it as yet another barrier to carrying out their legally sanctioned investigations.

If you've been anxiously waiting for Apple to bring USB-C to its smartphones in some form, it looks like you'll have to replenish your patience once more.

While the feature is now optional and can be turned on or off via Settings in iOS 11.4, it will be made permanent in an upcoming release of iOS 12, which will likely make the feature near-ubiquitous in the coming months.

But according to Reuters, Apple has confirmed that it's going to push through a rumored change to iOS that will make GrayKey virtually worthless. It chose to simply alter the setting, a cruder way of preventing most of the potential access by unfriendly parties.

With the new settings, police or hackers will typically have an hour or less to get a phone to a cracking machine. But the company has been a target of some in law enforcement for rejecting efforts to allow easy access to iPhones. In practical terms, that could cut access by as much as 90 percent, security researchers estimate. After an hour, law enforcement won't be able to use such devices.

Apple has been the most prominent opponent of those demands. In 2016, it went to court to fight an order that it break into an iPhone 5c used by a terrorist killer in San Bernardino. The FBI ultimately found a contractor that broke into the phone without Apple's cooperation. Every time Apple has instituted new security procedures, new workarounds have been found nearly as fast.

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