Despite Apple’s best efforts to keep iOS secure, security and research companies have consistently been able to come up with ways to work around many of the more advanced security measures Apple incorporates into iOS. Earlier this year, for example, a company called Cellebrite claimed to have a solution capable of unlocking any iPhone running any variant of iOS, including an iPhone X running iOS 11.
More recently, you might recall seeing word of a iPhone hacking machine dubbed GrayKey capable of accessing locked iPhones secured by a passcode. Hardly a surprise, the machine — which is said to sell for $15,000 — has proven to be quite popular with law enforcement agencies across the country.
In light of all that, the most recent beta of iOS 11.4 features a USB Restricted Mode which will seemingly make it it much more challenging for security companies to access and harvest data from locked iOS devices. According to a report from Elcomsoft, if a device running Apple’s latest iOS has gone more than 7 days without being unlocked, the Lightning port can only be used for charging, which is to say data transfer will not be possible.
While this development will likely hamper current unlocking methods, history has shown that the cat-and-mouse game between Apple and hackers over iOS security is never-ending.