MacMost Q&A Forum • View All Forum QuestionsAsk a Question

Can Local Police Open a Locked iPhone?

A customer recently told me that his misplaced iPhone, with fingerprint & code security, was unlocked by local PD who called a few of his contacts. Is this possible?

Comments: One Response to “Can Local Police Open a Locked iPhone?”

    3 years ago

    First, it depends on the model of iPhone, the version of iOS running on it, the length of the passcode, and the crime that was allegedly committed. But also, it could have been that they didn't break in at all.

    The older the model of iPhone, the more exploits that police have that they can use to try to get in. Same with iOS. Some of those methods will simply try passcodes, so a 4-digit passcode will take hours to break, but a 6-digit code considerably more time, and a longer passcode with alphanumerics will be nearly impossible.

    As for the crime, I add that as a factor because a high crime like terrorism would mean federal agencies with experts and large budgets would be working on it. A small crime, like petty theft would just be a local police department without those resources.

    But if all that happened was that the police called some of his contacts, well they don't need to unlock his iPhone for that. All they need to do is call his mobile phone provider. With a warrant they can get all of his phone records, voicemails, SMS messages and other data that the company has. In fact it would be foolish for them to try to break into the phone when they have that easier route. But if it is an older iPhone and the police already have purchased the equipment to break into older iPhones, then maybe they would use it if the crime was big enough.

Comments Closed.