LAPD cracks locked iPhone in murder case

In the latest case of law enforcement taking on smartphone security, cops have hacked an iPhone crucial to the trial of "The Shield" star Michael Jace.

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Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department have found a way to cross the line drawn by smartphone security.

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The LAPD has cracked a locked iPhone crucial to a murder investigation, in the latest example of investigators taking on the security features of technological devices.

A "forensic cellphone expert" successfully unlocked the phone so it could be examined by attorneys, according to the Los Angeles Times. The LAPD has not revealed how it hacked the iPhone 5S, which was locked by a passcode and had been disabled by investigators' previous attempts to access the device.

The iPhone belonged to April Jace, who was shot and killed in LA in 2014. Her husband, actor Michael Jace, best known for his role as a conflicted LAPD officer in police drama "The Shield", is accused of her murder. Investigators believe that text messages between the couple are relevant to the case.

Earlier this year, the US government faced off with Apple when the manufacturer refused an order to unlock an iPhone connected to the 2015 San Bernadino terrorist attack. The standoff ended when the FBI apparently found an alternative method to unlock the phone.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.