Apple to block popular police method for breaking into iPhones

Image    Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

Image Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", the company said in a statement.

Apple will make a method - often used by police - for getting data off iPhones much less powerful with a software update announced Wednesday.

Apple Inc. announced a change to its iPhone default settings Wednesday that's meant to further secure user information from unauthorized access.

According to sources from the industry connected to Apple's suppliers, the tech giant based in Cupertino "is redesigning chargers and related interface for its next-generation iPhone and iPad devices, and will likely have its 2019 series of iPhones come with USB Type-C support".

While the feature is now optional and can be turned on or off via Settings in iOS 11.4, it will be made permanent in an upcoming release of iOS 12, which will likely make the feature near-ubiquitous in the coming months. After an hour, law enforcement won't be able to use such devices.

Apple has insisted that the new security measure is primarily aimed at protecting users in despotic countries, not at making law enforcement's job more hard.

Two years ago, Apple went to court to block an Federal Bureau of Investigation effort to force it to weaken iPhone encryption on the device of a mass shooter in San Bernardino, California, but officials dropped the case after finding a tool to unlock the phone. The FBI ultimately found a contractor that broke into the phone without Apple's cooperation. The USB 3.1 standard powering most new USB-C devices offers as much as 10 Gbps in data transfer rates and is capable of providing up to 100 W of power.

It comes as a big annoyance to many users, but Apple remains the technological trendsetter, and despite usually not being first, a technology never really arrives until Apple adopts it. They also say that weakening encryption by design would lead to more hacking by those outside of government. The FBI blamed "programming errors".

Latest News