clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The U.S. government just withdrew its iPhone-unlocking case against Apple in New York

The government said someone provided the password.

Composite image by Re/code

The U.S. government has dropped its case against Apple in New York, saying it found another way to unlock an iPhone seized in a drug case.

The government submitted a letter Friday, Apr. 22, to the federal district court judge in Brooklyn, saying an unidentified individual provided the passcode to unlock the device late Thursday night. The Justice Department acknowledged, “the government no longer needs Apple’s assistance to unlock the iPhone,” and withdrew the case.

This is the second time in recent memory that federal investigators have found a way to access the data stored on a locked iPhone after Apple challenged a court order to provide technological assistance.

The same thing happened with a iPhone used by one of the shooters in last year’s San Bernardino terrorist attacks. The government reportedly paid $1.3 million to get at the information stored on the phone used by Syed Farook.

In the New York case, the government wanted Apple to extract information from an iPhone 5s used by a meth dealer in Queens who subsequently pled guilty to drug-related charges. Law enforcement said it might provide insights to assist in sentencing the criminal or identifying conspirators.

Apple pressed the FBI to show that it had exhausted all other technological avenues for extracting the information from the phone — rather than simply forcing the company to do the work.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.