Technology

iOS update blocks USB devices from hacking into iPhone handsets

The software update stops USB accessories plugged into the device being able to connect with the phone once it's been locked for an hour.

Apple has rolled out its latest iOS update, complete with a new security feature designed to protect the devices from security breaches.

The iOS 11.4.1 update includes a new security tool called USB Accessories which is on by default, and prevents devices plugged into the iPhone’s Lightning port from connecting with it when the phone has been locked for more than an hour.

The move is in response to reports of USB-based devices being used by law enforcement and private companies to crack iPhone security via the port.

In 2016, Apple was involved in a stand-off with the FBI after refusing to build software that would break the encryption of the iPhone belonging to one of the suspects in the San Bernardino terror shootings.

(Screenshot)
(Screenshot)

The technology giant cited fears that such software could fall into the hands of bad actors and leave millions of users vulnerable to attack.

The FBI eventually confirmed it had used other means to access the device, reportedly with the help of a third-party firm.

Since then, a mysterious USB device known as GrayKey has reportedly become available in the US and is able to crack locked iPhone handsets.

If true, this latest iOS update would help block such access.

The new feature can be found in the Settings app, under the Face ID or Touch ID and Passcode section.

By default, the toggle is switched off, which confusingly means the security feature is active and USB accessories can not connect to the device once it has been locked for an hour.

Switching the toggle to on will allow USB accessories to connect.

The feature is a notable part of an otherwise largely bug-fixing based software update, which also addresses issues around Find My AirPods and syncing devices with Microsoft Exchange accounts.

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