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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?