Apple CEO Timothy Cook / Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Apple's argument about security is rejected by a majority of every age group and political persuasion

Most people think that Apple should help break into a terrorist’s iPhone, according to a new study that could change the argument around the company’s decision to resist the US government.

Apple announced this week that it would not comply with a US court order to help hack into a phone that was used by one of the San Bernardino killers.

The company said that doing so would set a dangerous precedent, and that creating the tools to hack into the phone this time would endanger all other handsets. But some have suggested that the company was looking to more economic reasons, arguing that Apple was using the moment as a way of demonstrating how secure its platforms were and jumping on support for privacy.


Should Apple unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone?

But a new study from Pew Research shows that most people believe that Apple should unlock the phone and assist in the investigation.

The FBI was supported by 51 per cent of people in the study. Only 38 per cent said that they supported Apple, and 11 per cent didn’t have an opinion.

And news of Apple’s decision has spread widely throughout the US. 75 per cent of people said that they had heard either a lot or a little about the feud, which has played out publicly in the press and court filings.

There is little difference in opinion between supporters of the different political parties in the US. And though there is less strong support for the FBI among younger people, all demographics skew towards believing that Apple should unlock the iPhone.

The study also found that people who owned a smartphone but not one made by Apple support the FBI even more, with 53 per cent of those people suggesting that Apple should comply and unlock the phone. That could mean that the company’s decision hits it especially hard, given it is looking to recruit more and more of its buyers from competing platforms like Android.