There has been some speculation as to whether a third-party could access the data on deceased San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone.
DriveSavers was the first data recovery company to successfully recover lost data from the iPhone back in 2007. Since that time, we have successfully recovered thousands of smartphones, including password-secured iPhones.
Newer iPhones and iOS updates, however, feature innovations in security, including more advanced encryption, passcode options that range from four-digit numeric code to a custom alphanumeric code and an improved auto-erase function. In newer phones with updated iOS, there is currently no possibility of circumventing the 10-attempt auto-erase function. Attempts to unlock Farook’s phone with 10 incorrect passcodes will automatically wipe the phone, deleting all data and possible evidence that it may hold.
While a third-party may eventually discover a way to access the phone, no such action is currently available. It may be possible that Apple is able to develop new firmware which would allow the auto-erase function to be bypassed. Once developed, installation of this firmware update onto the phone would require an Apple-specific digital signature.
DriveSavers standpoint today is that no third-party currently has the ability to access the data on Syed Farook’s iPhone that is in FBI possession.