New feature in iOS 11.4 designed to prevent law enforcement from unlocking an iPhone

New feature in iOS 11.4 designed to prevent law enforcement from unlocking an iPhone
We recently told you about the GrayKey device, which unlocks Apple iPhone models and can even bypass encryption. With two Lightning cables sticking out of the box, this device can crack an iPhone in as quickly as three hours to as long as three days depending on the complexity of the passcode employed. This is obviously a tool that law enforcement agencies love; priced at $15,000 to $30,000, a purchase shouldn't bust the budget of the FBI, CIA and big city police forces like the NYPD. But Apple has come up with a way to possibly thwart the machines made by companies like GrayShift and Cellebrite.

In the latest iOS 11.4 beta, if an iPhone hasn't been unlocked for more than a week using the passcode, the Lightning port will support charging the phone only. No data can be transferred through the port. This feature, called USB Restricted Mode, was originally seen in iOS 11.3 beta, but removed from the final version. Now, it is back, just like some other features that have gone the same route such as AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud. And this time, it looks like the feature will make it to the final version of the new iOS build.

USB Restricted Mode works like this. Once an iPhone or iPad is updated to the latest version of iOS that supports the feature, the USB data connection over the Lightning port is disabled one week after the phone was last unlocked. So those two Lighting cables that stick out of the GrayKey would be useless on a iPhone in USB Restricted Mode.

Law enforcement does have a way around this. If it uses a GrayKey in an attempt to unlock the device within the seven days from the last passcode unlocking, it will disable USB Restricted Mode even if it has yet to unlock the phone.

source: ElcomSoft



1. cmdacos

Posts: 4388; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Lol no sense fixing the security issue. Just add in AI to speed up the process. Pretty soon you'll be locked out after 24 hours.

2. Chest00

Posts: 1; Member since: May 08, 2018

What about law enforcement of CCP in China?? Can you prevent them from unlocking Chinese people iPhone ?? Since Apple is kowtowing to CCP in order to survive in China, I don't think apple will protect Chinese users privacy

8. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Well the Chinese already have access to Apple iCloud servers so no need to break into anything for the most part.

14. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

You have a turd in your pocket. “We” don’t need to get into any peoples phones. China won’t alow the iPhone over there without the ability to get to there iCloud.

3. gamehead unregistered

What if this is all a ploy?

4. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

"iOS 11.4 designed to support terrorism" Customers is customers afterall.

5. kiko007

Posts: 7523; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That’s such bullshit. How many “terrorist” attacks have been stopped by unlocking fucking phones? You paranoid fools don’t even understand what your founding fathers tried to protect.

6. iushnt

Posts: 3175; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Even 1 stopped terrorist attack is a huge number. Law enforcement are not going after each and everyone’s phone, just the suspects’.

9. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yeah, no that's BS. Privacy is Paramount. The FBI and whoever can go screw themselves. Once you start eroding privacy and freedom, the next thing that happens is you're living under a dictatorship.

12. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

"Law enforcement are not going after each and everyone’s phone, just the suspects." And you believe in this bullshivick? Then why 'pretend' we live in a democracy? Ha!

13. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

For once in my life; I support you Monseigneur Kiko007. BTW, are you and James Bond related?

7. ndcart

Posts: 17; Member since: Sep 11, 2015

Designed to support terrorism? WTF did I just read? hahahaha

11. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Well, that's another way to look at it. To me; its designed to protect my rights. If people stop watching those alt-right propaganda channels then perhaps they might be able to think more clearly and logically? I'm drunk right now; but even I understand what Apple is trying to acocomplish here, unlike some other people. Politics and propaganda can cook your head like an egg, little one. Be wise.

16. tokuzumi

Posts: 2002; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Security is always a cat and mouse game. It's in Apple's (and any software manufacturer for that matter) interest to fix any security flaws, such as the one this device uses. Plus, didn't this device just recently get hacked and the source code leaked to the internet? This doesn't sound like an exploit I'd want to remain open. Besides, it all sounds benign having the local authorities being able to unlock criminal's cell phones, until they try to use it on your phone during a routine traffic stop. You will be the first one to scream your rights are being violated.

10. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

If you're so worried about it then its best to use a pigeon for communication and pray for it so that it don't get 'intercepted' by a bald eagle or a... cat. On a more serious note; there are radio walkie talkies around which can send encrypted texts over a relatively long distance. Very cheap too.

15. tokuzumi

Posts: 2002; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Good guy Apple. Almost makes me want to get another iPhone when my iPhone 6 is up for replacement next month. Almost.

17. MobilePhoneNo1

Posts: 3; Member since: May 09, 2018

Why not make the USB charging only instead of 1 week timer and if anyone wants to transfer using usb they have to unlock using passcode everytime plugged in (for transfer or multimedia only)

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