iPhone data recovery
Every week I get requests from attorneys trying to understand what data can be recovered from a iPhone, or really any mobile phone.
Recent news about apple and the FBI has added a lot of confusion to this question.
So I wanted to clarify for you, an attorney so when you get one of these devices in the office and the question comes up here is a brief outline:
*note - this is as of today. Technology changes rapidly and the tools we use to recover data changes as well, so very quickly this article may be out of date. - feel free to call to see if its changed.
iOS is the operating system
devices: iPod, iPads, iPhones
Older phones & devices (the iPhone 4 and earlier)
yes you can recover deleted data
Newer phones & devices (iPhone 4s - iPhone 6)
Very little, if any deleted data can be recovered - you may get very recent deleted text messages (within 30 days - but it’s not guaranteed)
Why? - the deleted data on the phones is really not erased — it’s just encrypted with no known decryption key.
But theres a catch!
Thinking outside the box a little helps with problem….what about an iCloud backup or an iTunes backup? if the device was ever connected to a computer or if iCloud was set up on the phone, it likely has a backup (or multiple backups of the device!) I have had personal success recovering what what believed to be deleted just from the iCloud backup.
Can I just call the phone carrier and get a copy of the text messages?
Unfortunately phone carriers do not store the content of text messages. Simply because billions of them transfer across their network every day. Carriers can provide a log (not the content) of text messages in some circumstances with a subpoena.
stay tuned…we’ll talk about recovery from Android devices in a future article.