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Photograph: Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns, used under CC BY

US authorities say in a court filing that they successfully accessed data stored on an iPhone linked to the San Bernardino terrorist attack, and dropped a demand that a court force Apple to hack the device for them.

The filing in federal court in Riverside, California, ends a heated standoff over whether the government could compel the world's most valuable company to bypass its own data protection measures in the name of US national security.

A judge last month ordered Apple to help authorities access data on the iPhone 5c used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who with his wife killed 14 people in the December 2 attack outside Los Angeles.

The court ordered Apple to devise a workaround to a feature built into its latest iPhone operating systems that erases stored data after 10 failed password attempts, to enable investigators to keep trying passwords until they succeeded.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook refused, setting off a legal battle and a national debate over the competing demands of data and real-world security.

In a surprise twist, the FBI announced March 21 that an "outside party" had come up with a possible way to open the device.

Related stories

Apple case delayed as FBI tries its own iPhone hack

Apple and FBI to face off in court

Google, WhatsApp back Apple in encryption fight with FBI

Apple, FBI headed for showdown over San Bernardino encryption

Apple: Court must reverse "dangerous" FBI order

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