iOS 11.4 release date and news: USB Restricted Mode could make it harder for police to access your iPhone

Apple's iOS 11.4 software update is expected to be publicly released in the next few weeks

Thomas McMullan
9 May 2018
Advertisement

Apple could soon make it much harder for both criminals and police to get access information from your iPhone, with digital forensics software firm ElcomSoft unearthing an interesting security update in iOS 11.4.

“USB Restricted Mode” works by disabling your data connection via Lightning port if the phone hasn’t been unlocked for a week. That means if a device has been idle for seven days, you won’t be able to access data using a Lightning cable, and will instead need to get into the device using Face ID or a passcode.

The move will likely cause headaches with law enforcement. Ever since the clash between Apple and the FBI over access to the iPhone of the San Bernadino shooter, there have been reports of agencies using third-party companies and services to bypass the tech company’s security. Hardware like the GrayKey iPhone unlocker  reportedly sells for $15,000 (£11,105) and is specifically used for breaking into locked Apple devices.

The update to iOS 11.4 looks like an effort to thwart those attempts to bypass Apple’s security. When an iPhone is normally plugged into a computer, the devices will communicate with each other to check if they’re authorised to exchange data. This can be taken advantage of by those looking to break into the handset, but Apple’s latest update should make that process much harder to pull off.

For the owner of the iPhone, they probably won’t even know the measures are in place. If they’ve left their phone for a week, all they need to do is put in the password of scan their face as normal, and it will unlock. It’s only those without access to that information that will be frustrated.

iOS 11.4 is expected to be publicly released in a matter of weeks, following four public betas. 

iOS 11.3.1 on iPhone and iPad

25/04/2018: Apple's latest software update for iPhones and iPads is now live and while it's a minor update, compared to the relatively far-reaching changes we saw in iOS 11.3, it does come with some important additions. 

Namely, iOS 11.3.1 fixes an issue created by the previous update which saw the screens on certain iPhone 8 models become unresponsive. Specifically, this problem only affected those screens which had been fitted by a third-party. The patch notes address this issue but come with a warning from Apple telling users to avoid "non-genuine replacement displays."

READ NEXT: iOS 12 release date, features and news

"iOS 11.3.1 improves the security of your iPhone or iPad and addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 8 devices because they were serviced with non-genuine replacement displays," these notes explain. "Note: Non-genuine replacement displays may have compromised visual quality and may fail to work correctly. Apple-certified screen repairs are performed by trusted experts who use genuine Apple parts. See support.apple.com for more information."

A security update has additionally been rolled out for Macs, as part of macOS 10.13.4 to fix flaws in a previous macOS High Sierra build.

The iOS 11.3.1 update is the latest in a long line of iOS, and Mac, updates being made as we gear up for the launch of iOS 12 later this year. 

Following the release of the new iPad in March, Apple rolled out iOS 11.3, which featured a number of tweaks and fixes, along with music videos in Apple Music and an icon that let’s you know if Apple is using your personal data. On that latter point, Apple has updated its guidance around privacy and data ahead of incoming GDPR legislation, which is also timely given the current conversation around Facebook’s handling of user data.

READ NEXT: What is GDPR?

The iOS update also includes four new animoji, allowing you to gurn at the camera and have dragons, lions, skulls and bears leer back at you. ARKit gets updated to 1.5, adding support for vertical surfaces like walls, autofocus and a boost on its resolution.

A post shared by @emilia_clarke on

How to install iOS 11.3.1

When the update is available for your phone you will be prompted to install it automatically. It should be noted that the release can sometimes be staggered and may not be available immediately. 

If you are concerned about iOS 11.3.1, it's also worth downloading the firmware for previous releases, just in case. The full list of files for each compatible iPhone and iPad is listed at the bottom of this article. 

To backup your phone, go to Settings, [your name], iCloud and iCloud backup. You can also backup your device using iTunes. If you choose the latter, it's worth making sure iTunes is also up-to-date and you can get the latest software here. We recommend you backup certain apps, namely WhatsApp, as it may delete chats. This can be done in Settings, Chats and Chat Backup. 

You'll need to make sure you have enough room to complete the installation if you install it over the air (OTA), otherwise, it will fail and could, potentially, brick your phone. To clear space, go to Settings, General and Storage to check how much storage is being used and delete unwanted files or apps to make room. 

iOS 11.3.1 compatibility list

iOS 11 on iPhone 5

READ NEXT: Get iOS before everyone else 

iOS 11.3.1 features

iOS 11 was a big update adding a slew of major new features for everyone, including a new focus on iPad that Apple clearly hopes will elevate the tablet into a bigger league of productivity. iOS 11.3 tweaks a number of features - here is a list of what it changes, taken from the leaked release notes, as reported by Macrumours:

Augmented Reality 

  • ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors in addition to horizontal surfaces
  • Adds support for detecting and incorporating images like movie posters or artwork into AR experiences
  • Supports a higher resolution real-world camera view when using AR experiences

iPhone Battery Health (Beta) 

  • Displays information on iPhone maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability
  • Indicates if the performance management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns is on and includes the option to disable it
  • Recommends if a battery needs to be replaced
  • For more information on batteries and performance, visit this website: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208387

iPad charge management 

  • Maintains battery status when the iPad is plugged in for extended periods of time, such as when used in a kiosk or point-of-sale system, or stored in a charging cart.

Animoji 

  • Four new Animoji available on the iPhone X: lion, bear, dragon and skull.

Privacy 

  • When an Apple feature asks to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.

Business Chat (Beta) — US Only 

  • Communicate with companies to easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases inside the built-in Messages app on iPhone and iPad

Health Records (Beta) — US Only 

  • Access health records and view lab results, immunizations, and more in a consolidated timeline in the Health app

Apple Music 

  • Provides a new experience in video clips, including a Revised Video Clips section featuring exclusive video playlists.
  • Find friends with similar tastes through Apple Music's improved suggestions, which list the genres that the users and mutual friends follow.

News 

  • The main titles now always appear first in "For You."
  • Watch the best videos selected by News editors.

App Store 

  • Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent.
  • The Updates tab now shows the version of the app and the size of the file.

Safari 

  • Promotes the protection of privacy by notifying usernames and passwords until they have been selected in a web form field.
  • Presents warnings in the smart search field when the user interacts with password entry forms or credit card data on unencrypted web pages.
  • Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps' web views.
  • By default, articles shared via Mail from Safari are now formatted using Reader mode, if the drive is available.
  • In Favorites, folders now have icons for the bookmarks they contain.

Keyboards 

  • Adds two Shuangpin keyboard layouts.
  • Supports connected physical keyboards using Turkish F layout.
  • Improves Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better accessibility on devices with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen.
  • Allows you to return to the keyboard with a simple touch after the dictation.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature.
  • Fixes an issue on the iPad Pro that prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause undesirable activation of the digital layout on the Thai keyboard in landscape mode.

Accessibility 

  • The App Store now supports accessibility options "Bold Text" and "Large Font" for customizing the display.
  • Smart Reversal now supports images on the web and in Mail messages.
  • Enhances the RTT experience and supports RTT service for T-Mobile.
  • Improves app selection on the iPad for VoiceOver users and selection control.
  • Corrects a problem with the incorrect description of the Bluetooth status icon and the Bluetooth icon by VoiceOver.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent the end of call button from appearing in the Phone app when using VoiceOver.
  • Fixes an issue preventing access to an app's built-in ranking with VoiceOver.
  • Fixes a problem that may cause distorted audio playback when using real-time listening.

Other Enhancements and Fixes 

  • Supports AML technology, which provides more accurate location data to emergency services during an emergency call (in countries where this technology is available).
  • Supports software authentication, which provides developers with a new way to create and activate HomeKit-compatible accessories.
  • Podcasts now plays episodes with a single tap, and you can tap Details to learn more about each one.
  • Improves search performance for users with long notes in Contacts.
  • Improves the performance of Handoff and the universal clipboard when both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent incoming calls from activating the screen.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent or prevent voicemail playback.
  • Fixes an issue that prevents opening a web link in Messages.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent users from returning to Mail after previewing an attachment to a message.
  • Fixes a problem that could cause the deleted screen to reappear on the locked screen.
  • Fixes a problem that can cause the time and notifications to disappear on the locked screen.
  • Fixes an issue that prevents parents from using Face ID for approving purchase authorization requests.
  • Fixes a problem that could prevent updating of the current weather conditions in Weather.
  • Fixes a problem that could prevent the synchronization of contacts with a vehicle directory when connected via Bluetooth.
  • Fixes a problem that may prevent an audio app from playing content in a vehicle while it was in the background.

How to revert back to iOS 10

If the iOS 11 update fails, or you simply want to return to a previous version of the software, you can install the firmware via iTunes using this link. Please be aware that any updates you do to your phone are done so at your own risk and Apple will not accept responsibility for failures.

Images: Apple

Read more about: