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FBI may have missed its best chance to unlock Texas shooter's phone

Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about Apple Touch ID API at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014. Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP

The FBI complained last week that it had been unable to access the smartphone of the Texas church shooter, an echo of the San Bernardino shooting.

Yes, but: If, as has been reported, the phone is an iPhone, law enforcement may have missed its easiest, best opportunity to access the phone and avoid another fight over encryption.

  • As morbid as it sounds, authorities might have been able to unlock the phone using the dead shooter's finger had they moved quickly, assuming he had a recent iPhone with Touch ID enabled. (Touch ID times out and requires a passcode after 48 hours).