iPhone card

The FBI has successfully gained access to the iPhone of San Bernadino killer Syed Rizwan Farook without the help of Apple, the organisation has said.

Last week, the FBI said a third party had approached it with a possible way into the protected phone. On Monday, FBI officials said it had now unlocked the iPhone and asked for the court order against Apple to be withdrawn.

Apple had been locked in argument and debate with the FBI and US Department of Justice (DoJ) after the DoJ issued a court order for Apple to breach its own security measures. The FBI wanted access to Farook's phone because it is believed to contain vital information in its investigation of the shooting which killed 14 people in California in December.

Apple argued that helping the FBI break into Farook's iPhone would have set a dangerous precedent.

In a statement, federal prosecutor Eileen Decker said: "It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with co-operation from relevant parties, or through the court system when co-operation fails."

Apple said: "From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought."

"[We will] continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated," it added.