While the FBI was embroiled in a very public spat with Apple about unlocking an iPhone, it seems the LAPD may have been quietly unlocking another. The Los Angeles Times reports that it's seen court papers which explain that the LAPD recently unlocked an iPhone 5S. In the documents, claims the newspaper, LAPD Detective Connie Zych wrote that the police department had identified a "forensic mobile phone expert" with the ability to "override the locked iPhone function".
That's pretty much it in terms of details: There's no word on how it was done, nor who did it. Much like the FBI's final approach, then, involving a third-party organisation rumoured to have been paid around $US1 million ($1.3 million) for its troubles. Importantly, there's also no mention of which OS the phone was running — a crucial factor in how straightforward it would have been to unlock the device.
Interestingly, this all seems to have taken place at the same time as the FBI's iPhone struggle, with Zych's report being dated March 18, according to the LA Times. Whether the LAPD knew something the FBI didn't, or whether it simply had an easier time of things because of the OS the phone was running remains — sadly — tightly under wraps for now.
The documents seen by the LA Times are part of a court case involving actor Michael Jace, who is currently on trial, accused of killing April Jace.