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Apple can’t restore iPhone found at sea, but might know someone who can

The families of two teenagers still lost at sea received bad news from Apple, which told the families it could not recover any data from the iPhone that belonged to one of the boys, reports Sun Sentinel.

14-year-old teenagers Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen have been missing since last July after not returning from a boating trip they took off the Jupiter Inlet, which is located off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida. Their capsized boat was found off the coast of Bermuda by a Norwegian supply ship back in March of this year, along with an iPhone belonging to one of the boys.

Related: Apple has pulled an app that told you if your iPhone was hacked

Since then, Apple engineers have worked to try and recover any data from the iPhone. Unfortunately, last Wednesday, the company told Michael Pike — Pike is an attorney who represents Bill Stephanos, Austin’s father — that it failed to do so, in part because the iPhone runs iOS 8.4. This made it “challenging, if not impossible” for the company to crack the iPhone’s password. Even so, Apple told Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother, that it would hand the phone to a third party, if the families agree to do so.

“As I said before, I owe it to Perry to exhaust every possible avenue in pursuit of finding out what happened to him,” said Pamela. “We look forward to working cooperatively with Austin’s family toward this transition. We are not giving up on the iPhone’s potential for evidence until all viable efforts have been exhausted.”

The iPhone has been a point of contention for the Stephanos and Cohens, who can’t agree on what to do with the handset. When the iPhone was first discovered, the Cohen family filed a lawsuit against both the Stephanos and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in an effort to have the phone examined.

Related: India says it has a mobile forensics tool that can “handle” iPhone encryption

Furthermore, the families are at odds as to what to do with the iPhone now that Apple couldn’t crack it. On one hand, the Cohens want to move forward in any possible way in an attempt to get information off of the iPhone. On the other hand, the Stephanos want to retain the iPhone “as a cherished memory of my beloved son,” said Bill.