Posted in Commentary

Apple’s Legal Process Guidelines Issued


Apple has issued guidelines for law enforcement or other governmental entities in the United States seeking information about users of Apple’s products and services or from Apple devices.

Interesting information about the process is outlined.

Apple even lists FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I email or call Apple with questions regarding my legal process?

Yes, all questions or inquiries regarding government legal process should be emailed to subpoenas@apple.com or please call (408) 974-8100.

I need to personally serve Apple, where should I go?

All personal service can be made at Apple’s Cupertino, CA headquarters located at the following address:

Apple Inc.
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014-2084

Can I serve a deposition subpoena directly to an Apple retail store?

No, all subpoenas for testimony, including subpoenas for deposition or trial testimony, need to be personally served on Apple.

I requested information on my fax cover sheet, why was it not provided?

Requests for information not included within the body of the signed subpoena, search warrant, or court order will be disregarded; all information requested must be in the actual legal process document.

Can Apple provide me with the passcode of an iOS device that is currently locked?

No, Apple does not have access to a user’s passcode but may be able to extract some data from a locked device with a valid search warrant as described in the Guidelines.

Does a device have to be registered with Apple in order to function?

No, a device does not have to be registered with Apple to function or be used.

Can you help me return a stolen or lost device to the rightful owner?

In cases where law enforcement has recovered a lost or stolen device and wants to return it to the “original owner,” contact Apple Customer Care (ACC) via email at law_enforcement_esc@apple.com. Please include the device’s serial number in your email and any additional pertinent information. If registration information is available, ACC will contact the owner and instruct him or her to contact law enforcement to recover the device. A subpoena is not required in most cases. However, if there is conflicting information located within our databases you may be instructed to submit a subpoena.

How will the information I demanded be delivered to me?

Responsive production of records and information will be sent in an encrypted electronic container via email or, in some instances, via FedEx delivery. If no responsive information is available, a letter indicating this will be sent via email or, in some cases, via U.S. mail.

I am looking into whether a user’s emails reach the requirements for interstate commerce. Where are the email servers located that support iCloud?

Apple’s email servers are located in California, Nevada, and North Carolina.

Does Apple store GPS information that can be produced under proper legal process?

No, Apple does not track geolocation of devices.

What should be done with the produced files and records when law enforcement has concluded the investigation/criminal case using the produced documents?

Apple requires that any files and records produced for law enforcement that contain personally identifiable information (including any copies made) must be destroyed after the related investigation, criminal case, and all appeals have been fully exhausted.

Do you notify users of criminal legal process?

Yes, unless there is a non-disclosure order, or we believe in our sole discretion that such notice may pose immediate risk of serious injury or death to a member of the public or the case relates to a child endangerment matter. We do not provide notice when making emergency disclosures.

Can Apple intercept users’ communications pursuant to a Wiretap Order? 

Apple can intercept users’ email communications, upon receipt of a valid Wiretap Order. Apple cannot intercept users’ iMessage or FaceTime communications as these communications are end-to-end encrypted.

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