Apple forgets to fix iPhone passcode bug

Patched password protection in January, but oops ... didn't include it in iPhone 2.0

An iPhone bug that Apple patched last January to stop unauthorized users from bypassing the password-protected locking feature has resurfaced in newer versions of the phone's software.

The bug also affects the iPod touch.

First reported yesterday by a user identified as "greenmymac" on the MacRumors forum, the flaw lets anyone sidestep passcode locking by simply tapping "Emergency Call" on the password entry screen, then double-tapping the Home button.

That leads to the iPhone's Favorites, a list of frequently-called contacts, and their contact information, including phone numbers and addresses. If any of the contacts have e-mail addresses or Web URLs associated with them, the trick also allows access to the iPhone's e-mail application and Safari browser, respectively.

Computerworld confirmed that the bug is present in both iPhone 2.0 and iPhone 2.0.2.

Last January, Apple issued iPhone 1.1.3 and iPod touch 1.1.3, a firmware update that included patches for three security vulnerabilities. According to the accompanying advisory, one of the three fixed the passcode lock sidestep problem.

"The Passcode Lock feature is designed to prevent applications from being launched unless the correct passcode is entered," said Apple's advisory. "An implementation issue in the handling of emergency calls allows users with physical access to an iPhone to launch an application without the passcode. This update addresses the issue through an improved check on the state of the Passcode Lock."

Users commenting on Apple's iPhone support board weren't happy. "Wow...now the simple security issue," said "squarejp" on Apple's forum. "Apple is sure releasing beta software."

A workaround, several users said, is to go to Settings/General/Home Button on the iPhone, then select Home. The emergency call bypass then cannot access Favorites -- the default on the iPhone for a double-tap; instead, the passcode screen simply reappears.

Apple did not immediately reply to questions about the January fix and the bugs reappearance.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?