Apple iOS 11.4.1 arrives with USB Restricted Mode

Ruben Fields
July 10, 2018

Apple released iOS 11.4.1, tvOS 11.4.1, and watchOS 4.3.2 today with minor bug fixes for its iPhones, iPads, HomePods, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches, but there was one surprise in the software: USB Restricted Mode, a feature created to block iPhone-cracking USB devices used by law enforcement agencies, has finally arrived. As it typically takes more than a hour to get a warrant for police to be allowed to use a Grayshift box, this is quite a significant roadblock. There is detailed release note only for the iOS update, which mentions the USB Restricted Mode.

The feature, which you'll find in iOS 11.4.1, locks down the data connection over the Lightning port one hour after the last time your iOS device is unlocked.

Even if forensic engineers are able to stop the device they're trying to break into from entering USB Restricted Mode, Elcomsoft noted that since iOS 11.4, cracking devices such as Grayshift's GrayKey are limited to just one passcode guess per ten minutes. Law enforcement could also tactically observe a suspect, waiting for them to unlock their phone at least once, before apprehending them.

Based on Apple's previous update cycles, it is possible that these are the last updates for these operating systems before iOS 12 and its cousins arrive later this year.

George Clooney injured in Italian scooter crash
Sardinia is a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea and is over 500 miles from Clooney's villa in Lake Como. They all came together at the up-market Il Marino di Puntaldia restaurants after George had finished filming.

But the same Elcomsoft says the workaround it discovered back in May still works on iOS 11.4.1.

You'll now find a toggle switch labeled "USB Accessories" in the Touch ID & Passcode section of the Settings app labeled "USB Accessories". This immediately makes the device restrict the Lightning port to charging only.

Alongside iPhones and iPads, Apple also released an update to bump the HomePod software version to 11.4.1. However, this doesn't mean that the USB connectivity with an Apple device is entirely safe. The user maintains the only change to his device was the update to iOS 11.4.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER