How to enable USB Restricted Mode in iOS 11.4.1

How to enable USB Restricted Mode in iOS 11.4.1

USB Restricted Mode, a new iOS feature that protects unauthorized access of the data on your iOS device, has a glaring omission that would make it quite easy for someone to beat in many scenarios. It's common for phones seized by police to be off or sitting unused for more than an hour. However, ElcomSoft note that the behaviour can be worked around in some cases ...

"What are the chances that the device is seized within an hour after last unlock?"

However, if the device is connected to a Lightning accessory - including one that has never been connected before - the one-hour countdown timer to initiate USB Restricted Mode will be reset. That means if that someone plugs in a device like the GrayKey, favored by police forces in the USA, they won't be able to break the passcode protection and access the data on your phone. The dongle allows for pass-through power, which will stop the iOS device from running out of charge in transport.

Something as simple as a Lightning to USB adapter can prevent your iOS device from going into Restricted Mode. People are constantly using their mobile devices throughout the day, Afonin notes. Law enforcement could also tactically observe a suspect, waiting for them to unlock their phone at least once, before apprehending them. Security researchers at ElcomSoft point out that connecting a USB accessory inside the 1-hour window restarts the clock.

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The iOS 11.4.1 upgrade is small by Apple standards - coming in at around 200MB - but it represents a big headache for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other organizations that want to gain access to someone else's phone because it kills off the most common route to bypassing the device's security.

You will now need to enter your passcode/pincode, then scroll down until you reach USB Accessories. Users on iOS 11.3.1 or lower are advised to stay where they are.

We've contacted Apple for comment and will update this post when we hear from them. Normally, an iPhone will wipe the data it is carrying after ten incorrect attempts to guess the passcode. That forces the phone to require a passcode. It could take up to 19 years.

The answers are uncertain, but critics are making it clear that Apple has an issue with its Lightning communication protocol.