Apple has confirmed that iOS 12 will cut off data through the USB port when the phone hasn’t been unlocked in the past hour, shutting out most attempts to use dedicated cracking devices from GrayShift, Cellebrite and others.
According to Apple, the loophole will be closed in an iPhone software update that will disable the Lightning port one hour after the phone is locked. To transfer data to and from the iPhone, users would then need to use Touch ID, Face ID, or their PIN code directly on the phone. Thankfully, power can still be transferred — so users will still be able to charge their phone without having to authenticate every time.
This could frustrate the FBI and other agencies that have been frustrated by Apple’s security measures and have wanted the company to weaken those safeguards through backdoors. It’s not a complete shutout, as law enforcement theoretically has a chance if it gets an iOS device to a cracking machine within that first hour.