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Refurbished iPhones Might Still Have Previous Owners' Personal Data, No Way to Erase It

Illustration for article titled Refurbished iPhones Might Still Have Previous Owners Personal Data, No Way to Erase It

You might already know that performing a restore on your iPhone does not, in fact, completely wipe out your personal data. But it's cool if you take it to Apple, because if your broke-ass iPhone does become a refurb for some discount-seeking soul, Apple scrubs it to the bone, right? Nope. Using a standard forensic toolkit (or probably just some decent quasi-hacking), your personal data can be recovered from a refurb, as Jonathan Zdziarski—the guy who wrote the iPhone Forensics Manual for Law Enforcement, ironically—discovered. A detective bought his past iPhone, and was able to pull his email, photos and financial info, no sweat. The scariest part?


There's no public, easy way to completely erase your personal data—Zdziarski says "there are only a couple low-level methods to format the NAND and I'm not sharing at the moment." Maybe there will be an option in the 2.0 firmware? I doubt it, so you might wanna use a different gadget to conduct your less legal activities. Update: Kevin reminded me that the 2.0 firmware will have remote wipe as part of its enterprise feature set, so this problem might be solved next month. [iPhone Atlas via TUAW]

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Just to be clear, this is only on data in the iPhone, right? If I bludgeoned someone to death with one and then wiped it clean, I'm still in the clear, yes?