by Ian D Scofield
Recovering evidence from phones has always been a difficult task. Some areas have also been gray. Recently Apple has made an announcement that could make it even harder to retrieve evidence. In iOS 11.4 iDevices will lock their lightening ports for anything but charging after one week of not being unlocked.
This translates to not being able to retrieve data from the device after one week without the owner of the phone unlocking it first. Unless a backdoor is discovered, you will be stuck with not being able to retrieve evidence.
Apple’s new feature of locking device’s USB ports is titled USB Restricted Mode. It won’t just apply to iPhones but also to iPads and potentially iPods.
What USB Restricted Mode doesn’t do is permanently disable the iDevice’s USB port. All that needs to be done to re-enable a device is to either use biometrics or the device passcode. It isn’t meant to be similar to erasing the device after so many wrong logins. Instead, it is a safety feature.
Some people believe that this new safety feature is aimed specifically at law enforcement agencies. They speculate that it is to prevent officers from being able to use phones as evidence after waiting for a warrant. Some past moves by Apple have been aimed at the same thing.
After update 11.4, officers/detectives will only have seven days to apply for a warrant and make their attempts to retrieve evidence from the device. Otherwise, they will need to get the subject to unlock the device with a passcode, fingerprint, or facial ID.
Why has this come along? Some speculate that it is because Apple is tired of companies making money just unlocking devices for law enforcement. They wanted to combat this and help to protect their customer’s privacy.
It is important to note that this will only affect Apple devices. So far we have not seen any announcements from Google (or 3rd party Android companies) that they will be incorporating this feature into their devices.
As soon as the new update (11.4) hits to the public, it will be important to determine what kind of phone is seized from a subject. If it is an iPhone, the warrant will need to be put in for rapidly. Just as rapidly you will have to put utilize unlocking software or techniques to access the information.
How does the fact that phones will be locked make you feel? For most people it will just be another challenge as part of their duty. Remember that this will not necessarily affect your ability to remove data, just shorten your timeframe to do it. Stay safe out there, and remember to keep an eye out for the iOS 11.4 update.
About The Author:
Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice. He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer. At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content. Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.
Did you just get a job as a law enforcement officer or are you trying to get one?
Law enforcement is a very rewarding career, one that can enhance your life and benefit you greatly. Preparing for a job in law enforcement shares some similarities to other careers. At the same time it has unique challenges to overcome.
Let’s take a moment to examine how you can prepare for a job as a law enforcement officer.