After unlocking an iPhone belonging to one of the people involved in the San Bernardino shooting, the FBI ruined the device by spilling water on it. See Example( s )

Collected via e-mail, March 2016

I know that the FBI was able to successfully open the iPhone that they were trying to get Apple to unlock. The rumor I have heard is that a glass of water was spilled on the phone after they unlocked it, ruining the phone. That sounds a lot like a bad rumor. Can you confirm or refute this rumor?




On 29 March 2016, The New Yorker published a satirical article claiming that the FBI had ruined an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter by spilling water on it:

Moments after successfully unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone, the F.B.I. rendered the phone permanently useless by spilling a glass of water on it, an F.B.I. spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

Calling the accident “one of the biggest embarrassments in F.B.I. history,” bureau spokesman Harland Dorrinson told reporters, “There’s no way to express how bad we feel about what happened to that phone.”

While it’s true that the FBI recently unlocked the San Bernardino iPhone (a feat that was not without controversy) there is no truth to the claim that the device was ruined after water was spilled on it. This article is a piece of fiction from writer Andy Borowitz, a well-known satirist.

However, many people encountered the article on social media where the topic was presented without any indication that it was a work of satire:

Screenshot 2016-03-30 at 10.46.10 AM


On The New Yorker web site, however, this article is accompanied by at least two “satire” tags:

Screenshot 2016-03-30 at 10.44.52 AM


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