iOS 11.4.1 - USB Restricted Mode

Chris Welch, writing for The Verge -

Apple has added protections against the USB devices being used by law enforcement and private companies that connect over Lightning to crack an iPhone’s passcode and evade Apple’s usual encryption safeguards.

If you go to Settings and check under Face ID (or Touch ID) & Passcode, you’ll see a new toggle for USB Accessories. By default, the switch is off. This means that once your iPhone or iPad has been locked for over an hour straight, iOS will no longer allow USB accessories to connect to the device — shutting out cracking tools like GrayKey as a result. If you’ve got accessories that you want to continue working after your iPhone has been sitting locked for awhile, you can toggle the option on to remove the hour limit.

More detail on this feature here, by Jack Nicas at the New York Times, from June 13th when the feature was first announced.

This is a great idea for solving a potential security issue with iOS. To me this is a security feature that no one would have faulted Apple for not doing. This is not something that was specifically causing issues for almost anyone, but it was the right thing to do. Even if the investment in making this feature never has a specific ROI, all of these types of features add up, and eventually make iOS one of the most secure platforms in existence today.

At this point I'm a little surprised that they released this as a feature in 11.4.1 when iOS 12 is right around the corner. I assume that as a feature they felt like it was ready, and likely had some important bugs to knock out. Interesting timing though.