FBI vs Apple — The FBI Blew it!

The New York Times has reported on this issue, but otherwise, the FBI’s mistakes and Apple’s effort to initially help the FBI, has received little coverage.

(FYI, if you have an iPhone and it has a passcode, your data is automatically encrypted. If you don’t have a passcode here’s how to turn it on.)

As you most probably know, the FBI wants Apple to provide a method to unlock and decrypt an iPhone. If you own an iPhone, you also know that it can be backed up to iCloud. Apple told the FBI that they would not unlock the phone but if the phone were connected to Wi-Fi it could backup to iCloud and, as Walt Mossberg points out, iCloud data is accessable.

So what went wrong? The FBI thought they were smarter than Apple, thinking that if they changed the Apple ID password they could get access to the phone’s data. Wrong! Not only did this tactic fail but it then prevented the iPhone from backing up to iCloud, thus putting the FBI in the position of having no access to anything.

If you want to keep you iPhone data hidden from almost any possible hack (or FBI subpoena) then you should not backup your iPhone to iCloud. You should back it up to your computer, with encryption, using iTunes. Here’s how.

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