iOS 8 users protected from police information requests

Privacy signs

Apple has announced that users' data is protected from the authorities - at least in the US - stored on iOS 8-enabled devices, providing they have a passcode set up on their device.

A statement released to iOS 8 users said the company cannot access user data and therefore, it cannot pass the information to police or anyone else even if there's a search warrant present.

However, it can still access iCloud data and can hand over this data if the police request access.

The company said: "On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode.

"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

In previous versions of the iOS operating system, Apple would store encryption keys, meaning it was able to find and release data if requested by the authorities. This data included content such as SMS, iMessage, MMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history.

However, this new system could have knock-on effects for iOS 8 users - if you lose or forget your access password, Apple support won't be able to help you unlock your device or send the data to you.

iOS 8 was released on Wednesday and it would seem a lot of those downloading the software update experienced problems with the 5.9GB download. Because of its size, the download took longer than average to download, angering many eager iDevice owners.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.