(I am on macOS 10.14.6 and iOS 12.4)

  1. I am certain that I have trusted my Mac before.
  2. Without the latter trust, I can also access the phone in iTunes.

I have tried reset "Location and Privacy" on my phone. Then

  1. When connecting the iPhone with iTunes running, it asks for the trust and I trust it.
  2. Reboot my Mac and the phone asks for another trust.

Is there some known malware mimics system behavior and steal data from an iPhone?

(I do have installed some pir*ted software recently. That's my fault.)

  • try authorising the computer once more in window menu. – ankii Jul 30 '19 at 6:28
  • Running MacOS 10.13.5 and iOS 11.1. Points 1. & 2. identical. Same strange notification on my iPhone. Noticed this for the 1st time on monday 29/092019. – dan Jul 30 '19 at 14:29
  • I am convinced this is just a bug and not any form of crapware since this notification window is just proposing OK or Cancel and is not asking for anything private like an AppleID or a password. – dan Jul 30 '19 at 15:32
  • I suggest you to remove the part about suspicious origin software, since I guess you don't want to provide any more detail on a public platform about this. Otherwise, I suggest you to make another question about this problem and to give some more information about the suspicious software. – dan Jul 30 '19 at 15:34
  • In my case I guess: each time I install an update of MacOS the permission is reset. – GEdgar Aug 1 '19 at 22:33

Personal Hotspot being "on" while connecting the USB (tethering) seems to be the issue. Turn it off, connect the cable and turn it back on if required.

  • 6
    Is it possible to have personal hotspot on and not have to deal with this issue? – Toland H Jan 10 at 22:18

I've been working with AppleCare on this issue for about 2-3 months now. The Apple engineers have confirmed to me that they can replicate the trust dialog box issue when the iPhone's Personal Hotspot is enabled, and connected to a Mac using Apple's official USB-A to Lighting cable. I believe that they replicated this using the same operating system as the one running on my MacBook Pro (macOS Mojave 10.14.6). So I'm not sure if it affects macOS Catalina, but I will be testing that shortly myself.

They are still investigating, but they said they're unlikely to patch up older operating systems. So I'll get back when I know more.

Some things to note in my case:

  • This is all happening with completely new and old Apple's official Lighting cables, but none of my cables have wear and tear, so unlikely to be a physical connection issue. Especially since they also can replicate it.

  • Resetting Privacy settings on the iPhone deletes the trust relationship with a computer, so after resetting this, it will prompt you to trust your computer next time it is connected via the Lighting cable.

  • Interesting to note, when it's prompting you to trust your computer for the first time, it will say:

    "Your settings and data will be accessible from 'Name's MacBook Pro' when connected wirelessly or using a cable".

    But after trusting it and connecting it again with personal hotspot enabled, it will say:

    "Your settings and data will be accessible from this computer when connected wirelessly or using a cable".

  • Additionally, after the initial trust between the iPhone and the Mac, the Mac writes a plist file in the /var/db/lockdown/ folder, which is titled your iPhone's UDID.plist.

  • This plist file is used each time your iPhone and Mac are connected via the Lighting to USB connection, to check that the devices have trusted each other. If the plist is missing, the Mac will prompt you to trust it from your iPhone before iTunes will recognise it.

  • Deleting the iPhone's associated lockdown plist file on the Mac, has the same function as resetting your iPhone's privacy settings (but on the Mac-side).

  • It's a bit more difficult to delete it, requiring SIP to be disabled and entering into Rootless. So unless you are very confident in working in rootless, there's not much point, as resetting Privacy settings on the iPhone has the same function. After resetting iPhone's Privacy settings and trusting your Mac from your iPhone, the old plist file is overwritten by a new one in the Lockdown folder.

  • Finally, I've noticed that if the iPhone and Mac are connected via the Lighting cable, and I disable or enable Personal Hotspot on my iPhone, there is a very quick disconnection/reconnection between the devices. I notice this on iTunes and can see it in the Mac's console log event messages.

The only solution so far is to ensure Personal Hotspot is disabled in the Settings app. Note that disabling the Personal Hotspot in the iPhone's Control Centre is not enough, as that just sets the discoverability off. You need to go to the Personal Hotspot settings in the Settings app to fully disable the hotspot.

As I said, I am unsure what the cause is, but I will update here when the Apple Engineers get back to me. But I hope this provides you all some additional information.

Please note this is my first time posting on Ask Different stack exchange, so I hope this post meets all the community guidelines :)

UPDATE 18 February 2020

I've just had a call from AppleCare. The Engineers have confirmed this is a bug that can be replicated on macOS Catalina 10.15. The Engineers have now escalated this to their senior Engineers to develop a bug fix.

As this is now out of the hands of my AppleCare Mac Specialist, my case has been closed, so it's unlikely I will receive any further updates on this issue. However my AppleCare Mac Specialist said "you've found a bug, and now we're going to fix it", so hopefully they will do this.

If I do get any further updates, I will post here.

Hope this helps everyone!

  • 2
    Welcome to Ask Different :) Thanks for writing such a thoughtful answer. – Nimesh Neema Feb 12 at 9:22
  • Thanks @NimeshNeema for cleaning my post up and welcoming me. I'll update above as I find out more. But if anyone has any questions about what we've done, I'm happy to answer. – AVelj Feb 12 at 9:38
  • 2
    Many thanks for the updated answer. You have probably saved many people a lot of time. – jdm2112 Feb 20 at 17:09
  • "you've found a bug, and now we're going to fix it" -- that's more than most people get. Did I understand correctly that the bug is in macOS and not iOS? – Andreas Feb 24 at 13:49
  • @Andreas We're not sure at this stage, but all the testing was done by the Mac Software Engineers using my Mac and their internal Macs. Personally I think it's macOS not letting the iPhone communicate to the Lockdown folder. I'll keep you updated if I get any further information (albeit doubtful they'll individually respond to me, since the case is now closed). – AVelj Feb 25 at 5:58

I used to have this issue in the past before, and for me the cause was faulty lightning cables. Make sure you're using genuine cables from Apple and not third-party ones. This might not be the same solution for you but try it out and I hope it helps!

  • 1
    Same here, except I saw it with a damaged genuine cable. Switched to a different cable and the message went away. – Jawann Aug 16 '19 at 8:31

Yes there are malware which mimic iOS window which origin isn’t clear, but all of these malware are either asking user an account and a password or providing a link to click (which link will connect the user to a booby trapped server).

No you weren’t facing a fake window in this case even if the origin of the window isn’t given. This window doesn’t try to steal you any private information.

This is just a poorly designed confirmation of trust window which should be named iTunes sync or something approaching. This is also probably an old bug when the connecting iPhone and Mac are well known friends.

I found many log entry of my iPhone which are accessible in Settings > Privacy > Analitics. But I still have to find a tool to analyze them.

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