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How to Better Erase an iPhone When Selling/Repairing

Illustration for article titled How to Better Erase an iPhone When Selling/Repairing

We knew that refurbished iPhones have their previous owner's data on it, but how do you protect yourself when Apple won't go through the trouble of wiping phones out before passing them on? By unsyncing everything, then loading it up with music and videos until the phone is full to overwrite the old data that was there. Does this work? We thought the contacts, calendars, SMS and phone calls were stored on the OS partition, not the media partition where videos and music files go.

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If you're sending in your iPhone for repairs at the Apple Store because it's broken, you might not have the option of wiping your data like this. It's not really THAT great a method either, but will be able to stop the next owner from casually recovering data. Basically, just run a restore and hope the next guy who has your phone isn't nosy. [Securosis via TUAW]

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DISCUSSION

@xint:

The information is not "just in the open like that." First, someone would have to get your old phone (resold or returned to apple for refurb), and then they would have to have some mad hacking skills and a forensic toolkit to pull the data off. So, to avoid this don't resell or return an iPhone that had sensitive info on it, unless it is to someone you know, or someone that you know would not have the knowledge to pull off something like this. Who plans on selling or returning their iPhone after buying and using it anyway, unless they are upgrading to the new one?

Getting your contacts off of your SIM card would be much easier and require no hacking skills. The next firmware will allow for your company to remotely wipe the data on the iPhone if it is lost or stolen, similar to Windows Mobile Devices.