Sorry, Apple: most people want you to unlock that iPhone

Steven Loeb · February 22, 2016 · Short URL:

Even a large percentage of iPhone owners say Apple should comply with the FBI

We already know where many of the most influential people feel about the battle going on between Apple and the FBI over whether or not the government should be able to access the iPhone of one of the killers in the San Bernardino terrorist attack last year. Republican candidates are strongly against Apple, while Silicon Valley is with very strongly Apple. The Democratic candidates, meanwhile, aren't picking sides, and are encouraging Apple and the government to work together.

The one group we haven't heard from yet is, well, the rest of us. The people who make up Apple's potential customer base and buy its products.

A new report out from Pew on Monday shows that Apple could very well be doing some damage to itself by taking such a stand, as the public is not on its side on this issue.

Of the 1,002 adults who were asked whether or not Apple should comply with a court order to unlock the iPhone, a majority came out in favor of the government. Granted, it was the smallest majority you can have, with 51 percent, but a majority is a majority. Only 35 percent said that Apple shouldn't unlock the phone, and another 11 percent said they didn't know.

Despite where the candidates for President are coming down on this issue, the majority of both political parties also want the phone unlocked: with 56 percent of Republicans saying so (lower than I would have expected) along with 55 percent of Democrats (higher than I expected). Perhaps Donald Trump overplayed his hand a bit when he called for a ban of Apple products, as nearly half of his own party agrees with the company's stance.

Those all important independent voters were, as you may have suspected, more indecisive, buy they too also want the phone unlocked, with 45 percent saying that Apple should unlock the iPhone, and 42 percent saying they should not. 

Apple also loses every single age group. Only the 18 to 29 year olds had less than 50 percent saying that the company should comply with the order, but those in favor of the government still won out, 47 percent to 43 percent.

Among those who own a smartphone and, even those who own an iPhone, people still do not take Apple's side on this. Among all smartphone owners, its 50 percent who say unlock it, and 41 percent who say not to. For iPhone owners, its 47 percent in favor to 43 percent who say Apple should not comply. 

Whether or not numbers like these sway Apple to do anything, they do show that its argument about why it won't unlock the phone is likely not resonating with people.

Tim Cook explained his position, and why he doesn't want to give the FBI access to the phone, in a letter to Apple customers last week.

"The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge," said Cook.

"Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government."

Cook reiterated these points in an FAQ posted on Monday, in which he said doing what the government wants is "too dangerous to do," and wrote an internal memo to his staff, in which he thanked them for their support.

"This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out. At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties," he said. 

VatorNews reached out to Apple for comment on this report, and we will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source:

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes