Apple ‘Cracking Down’ On Location Data Apps, Looks To Add ‘USB Restricted Mode’ To iOS

Apple appears to be making a few positive security moves involving apps that track location data, and accessing data from locked iPhones, according to new reports.

Kaspars Grinvalds /

Apple has recently started “cracking down” on apps that share location data with third-parties, 9to5Mac reports. The company has reportedly started removing some violating apps from the App Store, though it’s unclear how extensive the initiative is at this point.

Developers are now being told these apps violate sections of the App Store Review Guidelines dealing with location data and data collection.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple’s push to crack down on these apps was planned since March, as a reaction to General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union.

“In addition to simply asking for permission, Apple appears to want developers to explain what the data is used for and how it is shared,” 9to5Mac says. The company is also zeroing in on apps that use location data for “purposes unrelated to improving the user experience.”

USB Restricted Mode

Apple also appears to be adding a security feature in the future that’s sure to frustrate authorities, but will also provide an extra layer of safety for users. USB Restricted Mode will disable the Lightning port — and data sent from it — after a period of 7 days without the phone being unlocked.

The new feature should be introduced in iOS 11.4, as the ElcomSoft blog first pointed out. The researchers point out that “law enforcement will have at most 7 days from the time the device was last unlocked to perform the extraction using any known forensic techniques.” Of course, this would also prevent any hackers who steal a phone from somehow managing to lift data through the Lightning port after the same time period.

iPhones already use Find My iPhone and Activation Lock — working in tandem, these features thwart most users who would try to use a stolen or lost iOS device. But USB Restricted Mode, ideally, would provide a more advanced layer of protection from more sophisticated methods, and it really hits the few companies who make their bones by unlocking protected iPhones. (H/T TechCrunch)

Phil Dzikiy

Phil Dzikiy

Phil Dzikiy is the former editor in chief of Security Baron. Before, he has worked as a freelance writer and editor at websites like and along with publications like the Lockport Union Sun & Journal and the Greater Niagara Newspapers. With digital and print experience under his belt, Phil has a passion for all things technology including home security, cyber security, and the smart home. His bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland College Park initially landed Phil his first job at the Beaver County Times, which has lead to over 15 years of experience as a journalist.

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