For months, police across the country have been using a device called a GrayKey to unlock dormant iPhones, using an undisclosed technique to sidestep Apple’s default disk encryption. The devices are currently in use in at least five states and five federal agencies, seen as a breakthrough in collecting evidence from encrypted devices.
But according to a new Reuters report, Apple is planning to release a new feature to iOS that would make those devices useless in the majority of cases, potentially sparking a return to the encryption standoff between law enforcement and device manufacturers.
Under the new feature, iPhones will cut off all communication through the USB port if they have not been unlocked in the past hour. Once the hour expires, the USB port can only be used to charge the device. The result will give police an extremely short window of time to deploy GrayKey devices successfully.