When you try to connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac via a USB cable, you probably have noticed the “Unlock iPhone to use accessories” message. This isn’t only limited to iPhones but rather applies to other Apple devices as well such as the iPad. The reason why the message or notification appears is due to a security feature that was introduced by Apple to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your phone. This sounds like a good thing, and it surely is. However, in some cases, users find it annoying because it prevents them from accessing their phones on their PC or Mac unless it is authorized.
To explain this even further, the message is essentially due to the USB restricted mode, which happens to be a security feature from Apple that was initially added in the iOS 11. From there on, it has been a feature of all the coming iOS versions. What it actually does is it stops the USB device from establishing a connection to your phone when it is locked. Now, the devices that are connected to the lightning port can still charge. However, they are not able to do anything other than that unless you authorize the device. Meaning, you have to unlock the device in order to allow it to establish a data connection.
Why Was This Feature Added?
Now, you might be wondering why this feature was added to iOS by Apple. The answer is pretty simple and reasonable. As technology advances, more and more exploits are found which is in essence the nature of security. The reason why this feature was added can be associated with that in simple terms. Basically, the security feature was included because of the rise of hacking tools such as the GrayKey that enables unauthorized parties to gain access to your phone. This is done by cracking the phone’s PIN code by exploiting the USB connection that is established.
This tool is often used by police departments and other agencies, however, the possibility of it being in the hands of the bad guys isn’t really high either. Therefore, to prevent against that, Apple included this feature so that USB connections are blocked unless the phone is unlocked via its passcode, Face ID, or whatever. That is why you see the USB Accessory notification upon connecting your phone to your Mac or PC. Once you unlock your phone, the connection is established and everything works normally.
Improvements in iOS 12
Initially, when the feature was introduced, the device wouldn’t show the “USB Accessory” notification if it was unlocked in the previous hour. This means if you had unlocked your phone in the previous hour, there was no restriction and the connection would be made immediately.
This, however, was removed in the iOS version 12, and thus, every time you connected the phone, you would have to unlock it. As it turns out, some users do not really appreciate this improvement and as a result, it happens to be annoying for some. With that said, you can easily disable this security feature altogether from the device settings if you are not fond of it.
How to Disable USB Accessory Message
This is something that is not really recommended and you should try to keep the feature on at all times. You will just have to unlock your iPhone every time you connect it to a device via a USB cable. In case you find it annoying and wish to disable it completely, you can do so easily. Follow the instructions down below to disable the USB restricted mode on your phone:
- First of all, make your way to the device Settings.
- Then, on the Settings screen, tap the Touch ID & Passcode option.
- On the Touch ID & Passcode screen, you will see a USB Accessories option at the bottom of “Allow Access When Locked“.
- Turn on the USB Accessories option to disable the restricted mode.
- Once you have done that, devices will now be able to connect to your phone even if it is locked.
Finally, we would like to mention again that this is not really recommended and you should consider turning the security feature back on when you are not trying to connect your phone to your PC. The mere reason for the feature is to protect your data from exploits and you should really consider using it.