New iOS 11 update offers crucial AirPods fix and keeps the cops out

Apple might be turning its attention to iOS 12, but that doesn’t mean the firm has forgotten all about the iOS 11 software residing on the vast majority of iPhone and iPad devices.

The company has just issued iOS 11.4.1 as an over-the-air update, which brings an important fix for users of the company’s wireless AirPods earphones.

The bug had prevented the AirPods’ last known location appearing within the Find my iPhone app. Considering how easy it is to mislay one or both of the ‘Pods, this was a pretty significant issue for those who splashed out for the audio accessory.

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Beyond the resolution of this problem, Apple is also using this update to undermine law enforcement efforts to crack user passwords on suspects’ personal devices (via The Verge). The new USB Restricted Mode comes a month after Apple promised to plug a loophole that enables investigators to transfer data from an iPhone’s lightning port without authorisation.

In iOS 11.4.1 iPhones that have been locked for an hour or more will no longer enable USB accessories to connect to them. Once the update has been downloaded and installed, users can toggle these settings within the USB Accessories section of the Face ID (or Touch ID) and Passcode menu.

Police in the US had been using the GreyKey device to circumnavigate Apple’s built-in protections for consumers’ iPhones.

At the time, the company said: “We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions into their personal data. We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs.”

Finally, the update “improves reliability of syncing mail, contacts and notes with Exchange accounts.”

This is likely to be one of the final iOS 11 updates before iOS 12 rolls out to Apple users in the next couple of months.

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