14-year-old Austin Stephanos' iPhone 6 was found in an abandoned boat off the Bermuda coast in March, eight months after he and friend Perry Cohen, also 14, went missing during a fishing expedition that began at Palm Beach County, Florida, in June 2015.
The two boys' parents, who had been locked in a court battle over the iPhone's fate, recently agreed to hand it over to Apple after the company said it would do everything it could to recover information from it in the hope that it would shed light on the circumstances of the teens' disappearance.
With the iPhone in Apple's possession, a dedicated forensics team disassembled the damaged device, cleaned its components and performed a chemical report as part of an exhaustive diagnostics and repair process. But despite the team of engineers working "around the clock", Apple has been unable to glean any data from it.
The news was released by Austin's father, Blu Stephanos, via a statement read by the family's attorney, Michael Pike. "Although they were unable to restore the phone to a functional state, I want to thank Apple, Inc. for their hard work and generous assistance," Stephanos said.
"If the FBI turned to Apple when they needed help, I see no reason to doubt that every possible means was employed to get Austin's phone working again. It's our understanding that Apple had a team assigned to the iPhone around the clock, and for that we are truly grateful."
Stephanos' statement went on to suggest he would keep the iPhone as a memento of his son, but the parents of Perry Cohen seem intent on exploring other options.
Pam Cohen, Perry’s mother, issued a subsequent statement which likewise thanked Apple for its efforts, but she also claimed that Apple had offered to hand the phone to other experts in the field who may be able to pick up where Apple left off and continue the work.
"We look forward to working cooperatively with Austin's family toward this transition," said Cohen. "We are not giving up on the iPhone's potential for evidence until all viable efforts have been exhausted."
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