Apple has told a US court that unlocking iPhones running one of the company's newer operating systems (iOS 8 or iOS 9) is beyond its capacity due to full-disk encryption. The company, however, did say that it can extract some unencrypted data from locked iPhones running older iOS versions.
The Cupertino-based company gave the aforementioned clarification after a federal judge asked it to clear its position on the matter in a case that involves a U.S. Justice Department request to force the iPhone-maker to extract data from a locked iPhone that the government agency wants to investigate.
The iPhone in question is powered by iOS 7, which means Apple can very well do what the DoJ wants. However, the company is reluctant, and has its own reasons for it.
"Forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand," the company said in a brief. "This reputational harm could have a longer term economic impact beyond the mere cost of performing the single extraction at issue."