It's over: FBI successfully accesses data on San Bernardino iPhone without Apple
And just like that, the tempestuous battle between Apple and the US government over a locked iPhone is finished.

The FBI has successfully accessed the data stored on San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook’s iPhone, according to a filing today by federal prosecutors.

That means the government “no long requires the assistance from Apple Inc.” it had sought through a court order filed last month.

The short filing concludes by asking that the order, which would have forced Apple to build a special software to circumvent the phone’s security measures, be thrown out.

Turn of events

After more than a month of court orders, legal filings and public blustering, the case as it stood is effectively over.

The last week has seen a stunning turn of events in the encryption battle that had the government squaring off with the largest technology firm on the planet, which at one point was headed to a hearing and could have gone all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Little more than a week after slamming Apple’s arguments in a filing, the government revealed on March 21 that a third-party had come forward with a possible method for unlocking the device.

Today’s filing makes no mention of what method the government used to ultimately access the data on Farook’s phone. What’s more, we don’t know what data the FBI found, or if it will be of any use to its investigation.

The government’s request to vacate the court order amounts to a win for Apple as it now won’t be forced to create what it considers a backdoor into the iPhone, which it said would have put hundreds of millions of users at risk.

However, there’s been no indication whether this method will work on iPhones in other cases where the US government is seeking Apple’s assistance, such as this one in New York. While Apple won’t have to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, the possibility exists we may see a similar story unfold in other cases down the line.

We’ve asked Apple for comment on today’s events as well as whether it will pursue finding out what method the government used to access the device is, and will update this article when we hear back.

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