iOS 5 Glitch Exposes Photo Albums on Locked iPhones

Canadian tech consultant Ade Barkah has uncovered a security bug in iOS 5 that allows for someone to bypass an iPhone’s lock screen and view the device’s photo albums, even without knowing the passcode.

In iOS 5, there is a convenient button on the lock screen, which appears by double-tapping the home button, that allows for you to launch the camera application. Normally, Apple has a restriction that prohibits you from viewing any images on your iPhone’s camera roll while the device is locked, however, during his travels from Canada to Argentina, Barkah discovered that Appleā€™s restriction is merely based on the iPhone’s system time…

If the iPhone’s clock is ever rolled back, any picture with a time stamp greater than the iPhone’s system clock can now be viewed without a passcode. While it does not occur frequently, an iPhone’s clock could be rolled backwards as a result of a software glitch or by syncing with an erroneous source such as a computer with an incorrect time.

Apple is notorious for releasing time-related bugs, but is usually quick to release a software update to patch the issues. iPhone 4S and iPad 2 owners should be cautious before updating to any such software update, as Apple might patch the untethered jailbreak vulnerability that iOS hacker pod2g is currently working on for A5-equipped devices.