A key obstacle is that iPhones block passcode attempts after a certain number of wrong guesses, and the delay is increased with more wrong attempts. Alshamrani was killed during the attack.
In both cases, the shooters were deceased, and courts have found that dead people no longer have a right to privacy.
The company added they were continuing to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation and that their engineering teams had recently spoken to the department on the phone to provide additional technical assistance.
The reason why it's important for the government to obtain this data is because they need to know with whom and about what the suspect was communicating to others before he died.
The Attorney General is referring to Apple's unwillingness to provide U.S. law enforcers with backdoor access into the suspect's iPhone 7 and iPhone 5. Apple has already provided law enforcement officials with information from Alshamrani's iCloud account, but the two iPhones are passcode protected (one is also damaged from gunfire) and Apple has in he past taken a strong position against providing access to locked iPhones.
Apple has not responded to our request for comment.
In a statement following Mr Barr's accusation, Apple rejected that it had not provided assistance with the investigation and said it had responded promptly to multiple FBI requests for information. The queries resulted in many gigabytes of information that we turned over to investigators. Apple said the company received its first inquiry on January 6 but didn't receive a notification about the second iPhone until January 8.
Barr's statement boils down to nothing more than yet another demand for companies like Apple to backdoor its encryption, which would endanger the private communications of millions of innocent users.
As it has in other investigations, Apple has declined to unlock or create an encryption backdoor into the iPhones used during criminal activity, saying that by doing so it would threaten customer security.