Right this moment, Californian police can still search your phone or tablet for sensitive info without obtaining a warrant
first. California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed the SB 914 bill, which was sponsored by ACLU and written by State Senator Mark Leno (D- San Francisco).
The bill was passed specifically to prevent law enforcement from searching through your private cell phone or tablet info, and never having to obtain a judge approval
about it. The text of the bill quite clearly states that more and more people are having their mobile devices as the central hub for their communication and storing a lot of personal info as well, so it will only make sense they are treated more sensitively, and no search should be undertaken before a warrant:
Existing case law authorizes arresting officers, without a warrant, to conduct a search incident to a lawful arrest, including to search the contents of a cellular telephone taken from a suspect during an arrest. This bill would prohibit the search of information contained in a portable electronic device, as defined, by a law enforcement officer incident to a lawful custodial arrest except pursuant to a warrant
issued by a duly authorized magistrate using established procedures...
The information contained in a portable electronic device shall not be subject to search by a law enforcement officer incident to a lawful custodial arrest except pursuant to a warrant issued by a duly authorized magistrate using the procedures established by this chapter.
Gov. Jerry Brown, however, didn't sign the bill into law and returned it with the following argument:
To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am returning Senate Bill 914 without my signature.
This measure would overturn a California Supreme Court decision that held that police officers can lawfully search the cell phones of people who they arrest.
The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizures protections.
The U.S. Supreme Court already agreed last week with the California Supreme Court's decision on the matter.