back to article Apple emits iPhone cop-block update – plus iOS, macOS, Safari patches

Apple has released the latest version of its mobile operating system complete with its Fed-blocking option. The iOS 11.4.1 upgrade is small by Apple standards – coming in at around 200MB – but it represents a big headache for the FBI and other organizations that want to gain access to someone else's phone because it kills off …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Preventing it from going into USB restricted mode

    No doubt that's an accidental loophole that will Apple will fix in a future update (probably 12.0, unless there's a really good reason to do an 11.4.2)

    Even if the fix isn't perfect yet it is a big improvement and makes things harder for cops trying to illegally snoop people's phones. It also helps with USB security - i.e. the attacks talked about a few years ago where a miscreant could build a USB "charger" that secretly makes a data connection to a phone, since once USB restricted mode is entered a USB device is only good for charging, nothing else.

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: Preventing it from going into USB restricted mode

      Why would the phone allow ANY connection via USB if it is locked?

      I know that my Android phones don't. If I want to access them via USB, I must unlock them first.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Preventing it from going into USB restricted mode

        CarPlay comes to mind.

        1. Iain Gilbert

          Re: Preventing it from going into USB restricted mode

          Can you not just use CarPlay in wireless mode? Sure it doesn’t charge unless you’ve got wireless charging and a newer iPhone but it’s a lot less hassle than plugging in your phone especially on a short journey.

          Also why 1 hour? Give me an option to set that to whatever time I want.

          1. D@v3

            Re: CarPlay

            For me, CarPlay (certainly seems to) only work when plugged in, despite the car having both bluetooth and wi-fi.

            Which is a bit of a pain, you don't always want your phone charging for the whole of a long journey.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Preventing it from going into USB restricted mode

      No doubt that's an accidental loophole that will Apple will fix in a future update

      Easier said than done. It will require "pairing" USB devices to fix it. While theoretically possible some of the devices in question are related to assistance technologies for hearing, vision, etc impairment so "fixing it" without breaking various disability regulations may be an interesting exercise.

      If it was that easy, Apple would have "fixed it" long ago as it provides them with yet another route to deny the use of 3rd party accessories.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Preventing it from going into USB restricted mode

        No it is easy to fix. The bug happens because the timer counting down to 1 hour is reset when an unknown USB device is connected. Not sure why that should be hard to correct.

  2. Mayday Silver badge
    Big Brother

    With a bit of luck

    You could enable restricted mode as needed. This way you can use USB power sockets in public places such as airports* etc.

    *I wont trust it anyway and I prefer to use an old fashioned AC charger to prevent snooping, regardless of any software features.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: With a bit of luck

      The easiest way to do that is to us a charging (not data) cable.

  3. LiarLiarLiar

    Who here believes that the government has all ready showed up at apple and said "unlock it secretly and say you didn't, to save face" and the company complied.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sure, you can speculate about secret backroom deals all you want, I gues Apple and the FBI were just putting on a good act a couple years ago to throw us off the scent but you alone see what's really going on?

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Secret Unlocking

      If Apple colluded with the FBI which is a direct contradiction to their Company Policy, AND it got out that they had done so, Lawyers (remember them, the scum of the earth) all over the USA and beyond would be filing billion dollar law suits against Apple.

      There could be millions of class actions filed. If could bring down the company (no cheering at the back !)

      Do you really think they'd risk that?

    3. aks

      That was never the issue. With a warrant, Apple would always comply. What the refused to do was to give the FBI the tools to do it themselves on any device, without waiting for a warrant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The point is that Apple COULD NOT comply with a warrant, because they had no way to access the terrorist's locked phone.

        They will act on warrants to deliver information stored in iCloud, since that's not encrypted with a key the end user controls. The data on the phone, or in iTunes backups on a computer, are encrypted with keys that the user controls and Apple has no way to override that. The FBI can serve a warrant for such stuff all they want, Apple cannot comply because they can't access the info and won't change their policies / OS to make themselves able to access it even though the FBI thinks they should.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    El Capitan seems full of bugs

    Can't remember so many bug fixes over the previous few years. Normally Apple stops bothering once it's prepping the next major release.

  5. hur1kan3

    It's irrelevant - use burner phones.

    If your worried about cops you shouldn't use a smartphone anyway. Get an old Nokia and keep switching to new ones often. They are cheap enough now to use as burner phones, and they don't have WiFi or GPS, or android, iOS, usb hacks, or cameras. If you buy the phone and top-up anonymously then they can't even prove its your phone.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: It's irrelevant - use burner phones.

      The "privacy is just for criminals" argument is a bit passé, don't you think?

  6. HamsterNet

    Marketing are behind

    Waiting for Apple to start using their privacy, updates and security more in their marketing.

    With a fruity device it’s good for all updates for 5+ years, Apple don’t sell all your private date to advertisers, they even seem to be against your phone being hacked in seconds.

    Compared to android which Rediculiouly easy to break into, no updates, unless your on a flagship and limited to a very little for a few years. All your data is slurped, packaged and sold. And you pay again for the phone.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like