How iOS 12 Will Improve Your iPhone’s Security

How iOS 12 Will Improve Your iPhone’s Security

Last week, Apple held its annual World Wide Developers conference, full of exciting new product and feature announcements, including new functions coming to their operating systems — iOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS.

Interestingly, according to the new features listed by David Nield of Gizmodo, it appears iOS 12 is beefing up the iPhone’s security with four new security features. Here’s what to expect when Apple’s iPhone/iPad operating system launches later this year.

Password Reuse Warnings

Reusing passwords caused a lot of issues in recent years. If one of your online accounts is compromised and you use the same login for all your accounts, well, you can do the math. To help you develop healthy security measures, iOS 12 will warn you when you create a password you’ve used before. 

Once the new OS launches, you’ll go to Passwords & Accounts and then Website & App Passwords to check if you’re reusing a password. If so, you’ll receive a prompt to change it. This password tracking feature also has the bonus of storing your passwords in case you forget them.

Simplifying Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is an easy way to boost the security of your online accounts. This login method works by adding a second verification step each time you sign into your account, such as receiving a text or email with a passcode for you to enter to verify your identity.

While two-factor authentication is an important security measure, the extra step of getting a code from your phone often turns people off to the idea of using it. iOS 12 will make the second step much quicker by offering instant transfer. Instant transfer means that once you receive a text with the passcode, Apple’s Messages app will send the code directly to the app your trying to access and log you in. The feature makes the second security step much easier and quicker to manage — and will hopefully encourage more people to adopt two-step security.

Expanded Face ID Access

If you’re not the only one who uses your phone, you can now add other faces to your iPhone’s Face ID security. Nield speculates that the addition of this feature is rooted in the fact that facial ID is coming to the iPad, which is typically shared between family members.

To set up multiple Face ID’s, go to the Face ID & Passcode screen from Settings, and then tap Set Up an Alternative Appearance to go through the face recognition process again. To ensure that an unwanted party doesn’t merely add their face to your iPhone records, you won’t be able to add a new Face ID without scanning the original Face ID login first. 

Limiting Data Access Through USB

iOS 12 will add a new feature that will restrict data that is accessible through a USB cord. Possibly added to thwart law enforcement’s attempts to break into devices, the function will block access via USB if the phone hasn’t been unlocked in over an hour. 

To turn on this feature go to the Settings screen then tap Touch ID & Passcode (or Face ID & Passcode), and then look for the USB Accessories toggle switch.

According to Juli Clover of Mac Rumors, law enforcement officials use USB access to an iPhone or an iPad to connect accessories like the GrayKey box, a tool that plugs into the Lightning port of an iPhone and uses the data connection in an attempt to brute force a passcode. The new setting the data connection will not work with the GrayKey box, rendering it effectively useless unless used immediately after an iPhone is obtained from a suspect. 

While Clover notes that law enforcement won't like this feature, this setting offers standard customers protection from hackers and other bad actors who may be able to get ahold of GreyKey box technology. 

Can’t wait to get your hands on iOS 12? The public beta for the operating system is expected to launch later this month. Once Apple makes the announcement, you’ll be able to sign up for the beta here.  

Written by Nik Vargas