Apple to officially bless USB-C with 2019 iPhone

14 June, 2018, 10:14 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • Image    Apple began working on the USB issue before learning it was popularly used by police

The company routinely works with investigators on lawful requests for data.

Apple's adoption of the USB-C port on its 2019 iPhone lineup would also greatly accelerate the adoption of the connector across the tech industry. The reason why you won't see USB-C in this year's models is that the company "is still in its redesign phase". New products from companies like Cellebrite and GrayShift use a USB connection through Apple's proprietary Lightning port in order to bypass limits on passcode attempts that Apple built into the operating system.

An Apple Store staff shows Apple's new iPhones X after they go on sale at the Apple Store in Regents Street, London, Britain, November 3, 2017.

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

"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs", an Apple spokesperson said over email. The data on the device is encrypted and can not be pulled off without cooperation from Apple or the phone's owner - or possibly by using a corpse's fingerprint.

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But in 2016 Apple refused to help police unlock a phone used by a gunman who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California. Instead, the Federal Bureau of Investigation purchased a tool from a third-party that let it hack into the device.

In recent months, a law enforcement tool called GrayKey has become publicly known as the gold standard for law enforcement agencies trying to break into encrypted iPhones.

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.

While Apple has historically been non-compliant when law enforcement has sought capabilities to hack into Apple customers' devices, in certain instances, police have been able to use third-party hacking tools to exploit a loophole in iPhone Lightning ports.

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