Apple is today announcing the release of iOS 11.4.1, watchOS 4.3.2 and tvOS 11.4.1 to the public. The updates do not bring any major change in terms of features but offer improved reliability and bug fixes.
The iOS 11.4.1 update, now rolling out for iPhone and iPad, is mainly a released aimed to fix bugs ahead of iOS 12 public release. The update improves reliability of Find My AirPods feature and syncing with mail, contacts and notes with Exchange accounts. The update also brings small but very meaningful feature: USB Rectricted Mode. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker is restricting law enforcement and private companies to crack iPhone’s encryption by using the lightning port.
Under Settings >> Face ID (or Touch ID) and Passcode, Apple has added a new toggle for USB Accessories. By default, the toggle is off, which means your iPhone or iPad will not support USB accessories if the device is locked for more than an hour straight. The feature basically stops tools like GrayKey from being used to decrypt a locked iPhone. In 2015, Apple was asked by FBI to create a backdoor to its encryption after the authorities found San Bernardino attacker’s locked iPhone.
While Apple declined to help the authorities citing privacy of billions of other iOS users, FBI found a way to unlock the device using third-party tools. If you want to continue using your USB accessories then you will need to switch on the toggle, which removes the hour limit. As The Verge notes, Apple’s wording for the feature is confusing with the company suggesting the feature is activated by default when the toggle is off and users can override it by the removing the hour limit.
Apple’s iOS is already the most secure mobile operating system and with USB Restricted Mode, the company is making it ever more difficult for third-party to break the encryption. “We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves, and intrusions into their personal data,” Apple said in a statement.
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With watchOS 4.3.2, Apple’s release note states that the update includes improvements and bug fixes but does not offer specifics. There is also iOS 11.4.1 released for the HomePod. Apple is currently testing beta version of iOS 12, tvOS 12, watchOS 5 and macOS 10.14 called Mojave. The update is expected to become available later this fall.