Apple Inc. was probably not expecting this, but another law enforcement agency has figured out how to unlock the iPhone. As per the court papers – reviewed by The Times – Los Angeles Police investigators obtained a technique to open the locked iPhone belonging to the slain wife of “The Shield” actor Michael Jace.
iPhone unlocked again without help from Apple
As per the search warrant filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, a way to bypass the security features on the white iPhone 5S of April Jace was found by the LAPD detectives. The actor Michael Jace is accused of killing April Jace at their South L.A. home in 2014. The bypass took place last year.
During the same time, the FBI was demanding Apple Inc. maker to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters involved in the San Bernardino mass killing. Earlier this year, the FBI demanded Apple to break the encryption code of the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino shooter – Syed Rizwan Farook – and retrieve all the data, but the Cupertino-based firm refused.
Later, the FBI found another technique without taking any help from the iPhone maker. The iPhone hacked by the FBI was equipped with a newer and more advanced operating system than the iPhone belonging to April Jace.
No details on this case either
As per the search warrant, on March 18, LAPD Det. Connie Zych wrote that the department found a “forensic cellphone expert” who could “override the locked iPhone function.” No other details were given in the search warrant in respect to the method used by the LAPD to unlock the iPhone, and the police did not disclose the identity of the cellphone expert.
April Jace was killed months before Apple rolled out the iOS8, which comes better encryption. Nothing is yet clear about the OS present in the iPhone of April Jace.
As per the warrant, an Apple technician assisted the LAPD in accessing information from the phone of April Jace before, but later, the investigators sought an alternative way to bypass the phone’s lock.
About the case
As per the court papers, April Jace’s iPhone was an important piece of evidence in the criminal case against her husband. As per the search warrant, investigators contended that Michael Jace and his wife argued about their relationship via text messages some time before he killed her.
The Associated Press reported that Jace’s attorneys countered that April Jace was having an extramarital affair. April was a well-liked financial aid counselor at Biola University in La Mirada. A judge delayed the murder trial of the actor earlier this year after his attorneys remonstrated that the iPhone of April Jace should undergo investigation.
Zych wrote that the cellphone of April Jace was locked by a passcode shortly after her killing, and this hindered the investigation. As per the search warrant, an L.A. judge in June 2014 ordered an Apple Inc. technician to assist the police in extracting data from the hard drive of the iPhone. The warrant further stated that in February 2015, the technician extracted the data successfully and met with detectives.
Zych noted in the warrant that the phone “was disabled.” The authorities tried again to inspect the white iPhone the following month, but it did not even turn on.
Currently, Jace, 53, is awaiting trial. Authorities allege that on the day of the killing, around 8:30 p.m., a man called from the actor’s cellphone, and told the police that he “just shot his wife to death.” As per the police, Michael Jace made that call. As per the public records, the actor had no arrest history, but divorce papers from a previous marriage include allegations of domestic violence and threats.
The issue of privacy is very important to Tim Cook and Apple Inc. The debate around the issue became fierce as the FBI practically begged the firm to help them retrieve data from the phone of Terrorist, Syed Rizwan Farook. Since then there have been multiple successful iPhone hacks that have provided law enforcement with the access they need but many feel that personal privacy still trumps anything else.