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Recently I witnessed how iTunes, which is linked to a certain iPhone may unlock it's first screen - the one which requires a password.

I also know of a few tools which may mimic this effect;

I`m curious about how this mechanism works. Does apple hold some sort of a "master key" that can be transferred via a USB device? Is that a part of the operating system, iTunes or some of those other tools? Is that a known weakness, or a feature? How do those tools (generally) work?

Now, this question is for academic purposes only. Please do not take it anywhere else, that's not what it's meant for.

  • Please try to limit a topic to one question. Regarding "Is that a known weakness or a feature", that is highly subjective. – tubedogg Feb 26 '15 at 21:38
  • @tubedogg I think there should be a clear answer to that question if you're familier with this. If there's, for example, a master key - it's probably intended. However if they do so by, let's say, some weird buffer overflow of some sort - then it's probably a weakness. – A. Abramov Feb 27 '15 at 4:33
  • I think I can say with 100% certainty that Apple does not rely on buffer overflows to make their software work. – tubedogg Feb 27 '15 at 4:35
  • @tubedogg lol, I'm pretty sure so myself. If so, you probably say they wouldn't explicitly exploit a weakness in one of their own products... Then it's probably a feature, and not a weakness. Any idea what kind of feature is it, though? How does it work? I couldn't find anything useful on a quick googling session. – A. Abramov Feb 27 '15 at 6:29
  • I think the chance of finding documentation by Apple on 'how to get past a lock screen' is less than unlikely. – Tetsujin Feb 27 '15 at 10:04

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