The company plans to upgrade its products' security with a software update that disables the device's charging and data port one hour after it's locked. It will have little practical effect on most people using the devices but will make it far more hard for investigators to use extraction tools that attach through the port for the objective of collecting the contents of seized iPhones.
Apple said its changes were made with criminals in mind who can exploit the same vulnerabilities as law enforcement to break into stolen phones.
Yet some authorities nearly certainly will see it as yet another barrier to carrying out their legally sanctioned investigations. For its 2018 iPhone lineup, the company is expected to bundle an 18W USB-C fast charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box.
The feature previously appeared in the iOS 11.3 beta, making its way into the iOS 12 beta and now the company has confirmed that the security patch will make it into a final iOS release.
The new changes could stoke another round of debate between Apple and law enforcement. It also chose to simply alter the setting, a cruder way of preventing most of the potential access by unfriendly parties. That could cut access by as much as 90 percent, security researchers estimated. If they want to unlock suspect devices, they'll need to plug them into a GrayKey within an hour of seizing them, which could mean deploying the GrayKey devices far more proactively with first responders, rather than keeping them in a lab.
The setting change could also draw criticism from US law enforcement officials who have been engaged in an on-again, off-again campaign for legislation or other ways to force technology companies to maintain access to users' communications.
Either way, researchers and police vendors will find new ways to break into phones, and Apple will then look to patch those vulnerabilities.
Apple MacBook 2017 review - Ultimate laptop in pictures Sat, August 5, 2017 APPLE'S new MacBook is the ultimate portable laptop and now offers more power and improved design. Every time Apple has instituted new security procedures, new workarounds have been found nearly as fast. They also say that weakening encryption by design would lead to more hacking by those outside of government. The FBI blamed "programming errors".