WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- A hearing between Apple and the Justice Department scheduled for Tuesday has now been postponed because federal authorities said they might have found its own way into an iPhone used by the gunmen in the San Bernadino, Calif., mass shooting.
Judge Sheri Pym agreed to the Justice Department's request after the department said it might have found another way to unlock the iPhone 5C of San Beranardino shooter Syed Farook, instead of attempting to force Apple to create a way to unlock the phone.
"On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook's iPhone," a request by federal officials reads. "If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc."
Federal investigators have been trying to unlock the phone since the December attack to see if the phone reveals other valuable information about the attack, including if Farook and his wife were working with others.
But Apple has resisted FBI requests to create a way to unlock its iPhone, saying it would only undermine its business and be an invitation to government spying.
The issue became more contentious after Pym ordered Apple to comply to the government's request. The two parties were due to have their latest battle Tuesday.
Melanie Newman, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the department is "cautiously optimistic" they will be able to open the phone and will notify the Pym by April 5.
"If this solution works, it will allow us to search the phone and continue our investigation into the terrorist attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 people," Newman said in a statement.
Neither Apple nor the White House, made any comment about the new development.