APPLE will soon close a security loophole that lets police crack into iPhones without a password.
It means police will no longer be able to use hacking devices to hoover up info from locked handsets using your phone’s Lightning charging port.
EPA Apple iPhones are extremely difficult to break into, thanks to their hi-tech security systems
An upcoming update to Apple’s iOS software for your iPhone will break the police trick.
Right now, police can purchase “cracking” boxes that plug into the Lightning port on the bottom of an iPhone.
Given enough time, these boxes can unscramble your iPhone – which is typically locked and encrypted – and give police access to your info.
But Apple’s new update will shut off the data transfer capabilities of the Lightning port one hour after an iPhone has been locked.
Hand Out Police forces have been using devices like the notorious Graykey to break into locked iPhones
That means unless police can get access to an iPhone within an hour of it being locked, they won’t be able to break into it.
It also means users won’t be able to transfer data to a computer using the Lightning port without unlocking their phone – if it’s been locked for an hour, anyway.
The new setting is turned on in beta-test versions of the upcoming iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12 updates.
We’re not expecting iOS 12 until September, but iOS 11.4.1 could be rolled out at any time in the next few weeks.
Despite the fact that this update will hamper police efforts to break into phones, Apple has defended the move.
“We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal date,” an Apple spokesperson said.
“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”
Alamy Apple is making it so that Lightning port shuts off data transfer after an hour of being locked, preventing police from exploiting it
Police have long struggled to get access to iPhones.
Back in 2016, Apple famously battled with the FBI to resist turning off encryption, which encodes the info of your iPhone so outsiders can’t read it.
Apple resisted 11 different orders by US courts to hand over iPhone info in 2015 and 2016.
The tech giant argued that by creating software backdoors for police forces, it would also give a free pass to hackers trying to get into user’s handsets too.
To beat Apple’s encryption, several security firms began exploiting the Lightning port with “cracking” boxes.
A company called Grayshift offers the Graykey, which is a device designed to break into iPhones using this exact method.
Police forces can buy the box for $15,000, or around £11,000 in the UK.
An Israeli company called Cellebrite has also been paid to help US law enforcement agencies break into locked iPhones.