LAPD detectives have successfully hacked into a locked iPhone 5s despite the phone having a Secure Enclave, according to an LA Times report.

Los Angeles police investigators obtained a method to open the locked iPhone belonging to the slain wife of “The Shield” actor Michael Jace, according to court papers reviewed by The Times.

LAPD detectives found an alternative way to bypass the security features on the white iPhone 5S belonging to April Jace, whom the actor is accused of killing at their South L.A. home in 2014, according to a search warrant filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

More intriguingly still, this appears to have occurred during the time that the FBI was still demanding that Apple help it unlock the less secure iPhone 5c in the San Bernardino shooting case …

The search warrant revealed that the LAPD had found a forensic phone expert with the ability to unlock the phone, and that this attempt was successful. The warrant was dated 18th March, while the FBI did not withdraw court proceedings against Apple until 28th March.

A senior investigator with the district attorney’s office was able to examine the phone in April, as was Jace’s private cellphone expert, the warrant states.

Nothing was revealed about the method used, nor the version of iOS installed on the phone, but it raises questions about why the FBI was still insisting in the San Bernardino case that it could not access the iPhone 5c – which does not have a Secure Enclave and should be less challenging to hack – without Apple’s help.

The FBI, which later managed to access the 5c without Apple’s help, said that the method it used would work only with that particular model, specifically stating that it would not work with the iPhone 5s.

In the Michael Jace case, police believe that the couple had an argument via text message, and wanted to access the phone to determine whether or not this was the case.

Via the Daily Mail. Teardown photo iFixit.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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