Apple, backed by a broad coalition of technology giants like Google and Facebook, was fiercely opposed to assisting the US government in unlocking the iPhone on grounds it would have wide-reaching implications on digital security and privacy.

A key court hearing scheduled earlier this month to hear arguments from both sides in the sensitive case was abruptly cancelled after the FBI said it no longer needed Apple's help and had found an outside party to unlock the phone.

"Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone," US attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement yesterday.

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"We sought an order compelling Apple to help unlock the phone to fulfil a solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting -- that we will not rest until we have fully pursued every investigative lead related to the vicious attack."
It was unclear who helped the FBI access the phone and what was stored on the device. But news reports have said the FBI may have sought assistance from an Israeli forensics company.