The FBI is now claiming that they may have found a way to crack the security features of the iPhone that was used by the San Bernardino terrorists without the court ordered assistance of Apple.

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On the basis of the above information, A US judge has postponed a hearing due to take place this week while the FBI investigate the new option.

Had the latest ongoing legal dispute gone ahead, it would have been the next stage by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to try and force Apple to cooperate with a previous ruling demanding they unlock the phone, or create the means to do so.

The FBI state that: “Testing is required to determine whether this is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc.”

Crucially the FBI is not asking for the case to be dismissed, only for time to see if they can unlock the iPhone with the new means at their disposal. The FBI will have to show their progress and file a report by April 5th at the latest.

“That is why we asked the court to give us some time to explore this option,” said Department of Justice spokeswoman Melanie Newman. “If this solution works, it will allow us to search the phone and continue our investigation into the terrorist attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 people.

That said, if the FBI can gain access, the court case and Apple’s staunch defense of its current position will be pretty much irrelevant.

If the FBI fails however, then Apple will find itself back in court to continue fighting the order.

It is still not clear, and has not been disclosed, as to just how the FBI now think they may be able to circumvent Apple’s security features, but some observers have speculated that a 3rd party firm has come forward with a solution.

Rizwan Farook and his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last December before police killed them.