Apple is closing a loophole that lets police hack into iPhones

Image    Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

The privacy standard-bearer of the tech industry said it will change the default settings in the iPhone operating system to cut off communication through the USB port when the phone has not been unlocked in the past hour. The two have battled over Apple's encryption on its devices, which makes it hard for law enforcement agencies to break into and get data from phones they procure.

"We're constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product", a company spokesman wrote in the statement.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said on Wednesday it will change its iPhone settings to undercut the most popular means for law enforcement to break into the devices.

Apple's Lightning connector port may be ditched in favour of USB-C in the future iPhone X.

Back in 2016, the agency famously took Apple to court over a locked iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooter.

The update could reignite tensions between Apple and the United States government, which wants technology companies to include backdoors - official ways to get around encryption and other security measures - on their devices. A brewing legal showdown was defused after the Federal Bureau of Investigation hired professional hackers to crack into the device.

Apple began working on the issue before learning that it was being used by police.

The Lightning port is used for charging iPhones, which will still be possible when the devices are in their locked state, and for transferring data, which will be blocked after an hour. Technology companies including Apple have objected to such requests.

Forensic companies that once employed machines to break through security provisions will now have only an hour to run code on the devices.

If a law enforcement agency wants to gain access to an iPhone, its options are limited, even with a warrant.

As much as it would make sense for Apple to switch over to USB-C connectivity for its iPhone lineup, I doubt the company is going to make the leap.

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