Reeva Steenkamp, shot by Oscar Pistorius (photo: India Times)

Reeva Steenkamp, shot dead by Oscar Pistorius (photo: India Times)

The International Business Times reports that three detectives investigating the killing of Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp have flown to Apple’s HQ in Cupertino to seek assistance in accessing the athlete’s iPhone.

Prosecutors want to access its SMS and WhatsApp messages as evidence for the trial.

South African police have been struggling to gain access to the phone for months, one of several handsets found in the double-amputee athlete’s Pretoria villa on the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius has claimed that he cannot remember the passcode … 

Evidence from a second mobile phone found in the villa reportedly revealed that Pistorius had been accessing pornography on the night of the killing.

[The phone] suggests that he looked at the material while Steenkamp was present in the building, on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The document goes on to state that this evidence paints a picture in “direct contrast to that of a loving couple spending their time together.”

South African police had reportedly asked the FBI to authorise Apple to unlock the phone, but that this has not yet happened, and the matter is now urgent as the murder trial begins on Monday.

Pistorius has admitted shooting Steenkamp through a bathroom door, but says that he did so believing her to be an intruder. Prosecutors will argue that he deliberately shot her following an argument.

The fact that even police were unable to bypass the passcode lock is testament to the security of iPhones, though law enforcement officials would of course have an easier time with an iPhone 5s, simply needing to obtain a court order to use a fingerprint to unlock the phone. 

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19 Responses to “South African police take Oscar Pistorius’s iPhone to Apple after failing to crack passcode”

  1. Scott Bear says:

    “easier time with an iPhone 5s, simply needing to obtain a court order to use a fingerprint to unlock the phone.”

    Not true…passcode is still needed after 48 hr without using touch id or a reboot!


  2. “Reeva Steenkamp, shot dead by Oscar Pistorius” Can you say that despite the fact he wasn’t deemed guilty yet??


  3. They shouldn’t be asking the FBI, they should ask NSA they have all the info already


  4. He can’t remember his passcode, riiiiiiight…. Hope this scumbag gets some serious jailtime.


  5. the NSA can probably bypass it in a matter of seconds


  6. Grez Suziö says:

    really, forgot the password?? how old are we? …someone remind me


  7. Assuming the phone was confiscated on the 15th February 2013 the iOS that was on the phone was 6.1.1 or previous OS . There was a security flaw on these operating systems to bypass the passcode.


  8. It is so simple to get into an iDevice if there is a jailbreak available for it. Simply just jailbreak it and use a third party program to install a deb of ‘Plan-B’ tweak. Once it is installed, reboot the iDevice and view the details of the package online on what is the default password. I have personally used Plan B and it has worked great. Its the only way to get into the phone unless you can install afc2add and then view and modify the corresponding file where the passcodes are stored.

    For this to work, there has to be a jailbreak available and I highly doubt you can actually install a deb without afc2add as I don’t think without this specific tweak/system tweak it will allow third party programs to view files and content of an iDevice.

    If you really want help and Apple is no help, use Saurik. Ask Saurik or creators of jailbreaks to create a private version of the jailbreak for whatever firmware the iDevice is on (you can use f0recast for that from and then jailbreak with that private jailbreak. Only request the jailbreakers to add the package afc2add by default. And possibly get them to use redsn0w method to jailbreak the device with DFU mode because otherwise you will need the passcode in order to get into the jailbreak and launch a specific app that it injects whilst trying to jailbreak. Once you have afc2add just go into the filesystem and manually remove the passcode file or just install plan-b and get into the phone.

    Its really not that hard…


  9. Our company performs Device Seizure Analytics – we copy the memory of cell phones for civil and criminal matters, and I can tell you that you do NOT need the password in order to MIRROR the entire contents of an iPhone.

    One simply makes what is known as a “Physical Copy” of the iOS device, or any cell phone with the exception of one brand, and the investigators work from that, reviewing and culling information that is now delivered to the client or agency that hires us, on a outboard hard drive.

    Even the low end products that are sold in the form of “USB sticks” typically don’t need the password to get in and access the goods. In this case SMS, email, photographs, browser contents and history, etc. are easily accessed on a locked phone any day of the week.

    And they sent 3 Detectives to do this? The 5s is isn’t THAT heavy last time I checked. Maybe the police wanted to come to the US for other reasons, but certainly one does not need to knock on Apple’s door in Cupertino, California just to make a copy of the defendant’s iPhone.