FBI is still having trouble unlocking iPhones in the Pensacola case

There are well-known methods to unlock the phone but FBI wants Apple's direct help.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is no stranger to unlocking iPhones. But it continues to ask for Apple's help to unlock the iPhones in the Pensacola case, according to Bloomberg. FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the bureau had reconstructed one of the phones but still couldn't access data.

After a deadly shooting took place at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, the FBI has reportedly attempted to seek Apple's help in unlocking two iPhones. The bureau believes that these phones were owned by the man suspected of carrying out the shooting: Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. In early January, the FBI sent a letter to Apple's general counsel to unlock the iPhones, according to NBC News. "Investigators are actively engaging in efforts to 'guess' the relevant passcodes," the letter claimed, "but so far have been unsuccessful."

Apple stands its ground — In response to the FBI's formal letter, Apple stated, "When the FBI requested information from us relating to this case a month ago, we gave them all of the data in our possession and we will continue to support them with the data we have available." In other words, the tech company has promised to help through publicly available routes but has yet to provide a backdoor to the FBI.

This refusal from Apple should not be interpreted as the company being loyal to bad actors. In spite of Donald Trump recently issuing statements like "[Apple] could have given us that information. It would have been very helpful. Apple has to help us. And I’m very strong on it. They have the keys to so many criminals and criminal minds," the reality is that Apple is standing firm on maintaining its encryption and user privacy.

In fact, the company officially stated, "We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys." It's unlikely that Apple will capitulate to the FBI's demands. For that reason, it should simply seek third party help from the likes of GrayKey or Cellebrite.