(credit: Kārlis Dambrāns)

A judge in New York ruled Monday in favor of Apple in a case where investigators wanted the court to compel the company to unlock a seized iPhone 5S running iOS 7, which the company does have the ability to unlock.

This case involves a drug dealer who has already pleaded guilty. It pre-dates Apple's current battle with the government over a locked iPhone 5C that belonged to one of the shooters in the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino—that case is due to be heard in court next month in nearby Riverside, California.

By contrast, the San Bernardino case involves an iPhone 5c, running iOS 9, which Apple says it cannot unlock. In the California case, federal investigators asked for and received an unprecedented court order compelling Apple to create a new firmware to unlock the device. Last week, Apple formally challenged that order, and the outcome is pending.

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