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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The U.S. Justice Department dropped its fight to get Apple to help it unlock an iPhone in a New York drug case after someone provided the device's passcode to authorities. In a letter to the judge, obtained by BuzzFeed News, prosecutors explained they no longer needed Apple's assistance.


The government respectfully submits this letter to update the Court and the parties. Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case. Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone. Accordingly, the government no longer needs Apple's assistance to unlock the iPhone, and withdraws its application.
In a statement, also procured by BuzzFeed News, Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said the case was never about setting a precedent, but instead about law enforcement's "ability and need to access evidence on devices pursuant to lawful court orders and search warrants." Pierce said that now that they have access to the data they wanted they no longer need any help.

Last week, Apple filed a refusal to help the Department of Justice unlock the phone at the center of the New York case, claiming that the government had not yet exhausted all other means of getting the data. Apple argued that the government should have provided evidence it exhausted all other options before asking Apple for help. Additionally, Apple said the FBI did not adequately demonstrate that the method it used to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone would not work on the iPhone in the New York case.

In late February, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Ornstein ruled that the FBI lacked the legal authority to order Apple to hack the New York iPhone. The U.S. Justice Department filed an appeal in March, and Apple responded with a denial last week.

The New York case dates back to October 2015, with the FBI seeking to access data from an iPhone 5s belonging to Brooklyn drug dealer Jun Feng. Although the FBI used "hackers" to access Syed Farook's iPhone 5c, FBI Director James Comey says the method does not work on the iPhone 5s or later. Feng's iPhone 5s is running iOS 7, which Apple does have the means to access, but the company is refusing to do after taking a harder stance on customer privacy and encryption.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: U.S. Drops New York Case Against Apple After Unlocking iPhone Without Assistance


macrumors 603
Jun 16, 2008
I'm going to go on record and say that this actually sucks for Apple. However, don't get me wrong; this is a victory for Apple.

If I remember reading from previous articles, if this case actually went to court, Apple could actually have forced the FBI to reveal the method used to unlock the previous iPhone, which would have been advantageous to all of us and a major blow to the FBI.

Now that this has been dropped, we nor Apple will ever know what method was used to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.



macrumors 6502a
Oct 9, 2007
I think by doing this they are basically saying "What? no we were not trying to set some precedent, how silly". By having the "well we got our information one way or another we are happy" attitude. I will admit these guys are smart as it makes Apple look like it was fighting an unnecessary/overcautious battle. Have the public opinion start thinking Apple is just being paranoid and then bamn they sneak that precedent in. Those sneaky ***** terds.

While it IS possible that since the beginning of this whole fiasco a new hole has been found that some hacker is now selling to the FBI for access. But it is more likely the hole they are suddenly using was well known long ago and they were just playing dumb to set a precedent as that is their only solution to the fact these holes are getting less and less easy to find.

Yes Apples iOS still has tonnes of holes. Yes future iOS version will have tonnes of holes. In fact there is no such thing as truly perfect software (as far as I've been told). But at the current rate that iOS is getting more and more secure eventually these holes will become impossibly small and difficult to find.

I still believe the FBI/Government is up to something, I feel like the their backing down is just a ploy.
This is turning into an SNL skit.
The type of funny as in this is awkward?


macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
So, now people are starting trusting nothing from government.
Doom of human society? Not really, but such fight between government and tech companies may hint a little bit.

Whether China or USA, their governments are attempting to do basically the same thing on citizens I believe.


macrumors 68040
Sep 24, 2013
US Eastern time zone
I thought this one was a 5S, so how are they getting in?
Someone connected with the case gave the FBI the passcode. They just key that in by hand like the owner and they are in.

See, water boarding suspects does work in getting the passcode.:rolleyes:

Remember, use your fifth amendment rights, don't talk to the police, ever. Nothing you say can ever help you, even the truth. Always get a lawyer.

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macrumors 68040
Sep 24, 2013
US Eastern time zone
Would be amusing if another $1.3 million netted a passcode to open the phone in this case. :rolleyes:
They can have my passcode for $900K.

Hell, this could work out. Commit some robbery for say $5,000. Then negotiate with police for passcode purchase price to pay for good lawyers. Go to jail for a year or two and come out with a nice nest egg. Drive those hacker asking prices down.


macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
I thought the DoJ swore up and down that they weren't going to use the San Bernardino case as a precedent. As most of us recognized at the time, that was a lie.

Now they're like the kid growing up in the 60s and 70s that found out through a friend how phone phreaking worked and now they're showing all their friends how to do it too.


macrumors G5
May 2, 2002

The first 4 digits of the owner's SSN were written on the back in Sharpie pen. Months later, investigators had an epiphany.
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macrumors 603
Mar 16, 2012
Manchester, UK
Now that this has been dropped, we nor Apple will ever know what method was used to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.


It only effects iPhones that are 3 year old or older! So yeah, they can keep hold of that trick, son no one will give a ****.
I thought this one was a 5S, so how are they getting in?

Apparently someone gave them the pascode. It does not mention anywhere that it was hacked. Sounds a bit fishy to me.
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