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

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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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.

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

BC2009

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2009
1,949
260
Somebody was saying this could be bypassed since it was a software change, but if this works then it is awesome.

My way around GreyBox was to use an alphanumeric password that would take a very long time to guess. Touch ID makes it so I rarely have to enter that password.

This is a setting that I will leave turned on -- for sure.

I just wonder if this is just the next step in the move / counter-move.
 

thefredelement

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2012
1,142
559
New York
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?!?
 

Mr. Heckles

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2018
620
585
Around
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.
 

mujtaba.mir

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2014
531
398
Don’t see the toggle on an iPhone X, can see the text about one hour warning though.
 

Princejb134

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2012
274
345
Somebody was saying this could be bypassed since it was a software change, but if this works then it is awesome.

My way around GreyBox was to use an alphanumeric password that would take a very long time to guess. Touch ID makes it so I rarely have to enter that password.

This is a setting that I will leave turned on -- for sure.

I just wonder if this is just the next step in the move / counter-move.
what are you hiding?
i just had a 4 digit pin lol
 

Dodgeman

macrumors 65816
Nov 30, 2016
1,302
198
Apple out here doing a 1st! This is good news. I admit Apple takes peoples personal security seriously.
They should probably lower this down to a half hour, or even 15 minutes.
Put a really long pin code in, and it'll be next to impossible to crack.
 
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