The Department of Justice postponed its courtroom showdown with Apple on Tuesday after telling the judge that it might have found an alternative way to break into the iPhone used by Syed Farook.
The FBI has repeatedly told Apple that it needed the tech giant’s help in hacking the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooting.
But in a court filing on Monday, the DOJ said it may no longer need assistance from Apple.
“On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone … If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc,” the document reads.
Federal investigators want to see what data is available on the iPhone, but it is permanently locked. If they input the wrong code a total of 10 times, all of the data is automatically erased in order to protect the users privacy.
The FBI wants Apple to create special software that will let it bypass the phone’s security protocols so it can try endless password combinations.
Apple has argued that the request would create a backdoor that could ultimately be used for nefarious reasons. The company has argued that making it write code would also violate its first amendment rights.
“This was always about getting into a dead terrorist’s phone,” a senior US law enforcement official said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “It’s always been about this phone.”
If the new method works the DOJ will likely drop its lawsuit against Apple. The tech giant has gained support from some of the biggest names in tech, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and others.