iPhone screengrab issues

This is unfortunately another story we missed out on while we were trying to keep things from burning down. We told you that [Jonathan Zdziarski] was going to demonstrate iPhone lock code bypassing in a webcast. The real surprise came when he pointed out that the iPhone takes a screenshot every time you use the home button. It does this so it can do the scaling animation. The image files are presumably deleted immediately, but as we’ve seen before it’s nearly impossible to guarantee deletion on a solid state device. There’s currently no way to disable this behavior. So, even privacy conscious people have no way to prevent their iPhone from filling up storage with screenshots of all their text message, email, and browsing activities. Hopefully Apple will address this problem just like they did with the previous secure erase issue. O’Reilly promises to publish the full webcast soon.

[via Gizmodo]

8 thoughts on “iPhone screengrab issues

  1. “”there’s no way to prevent it,” zdziarski said during the webcast.”

    Yes, there is – store the screenshot in RAM, not on the flash disk.

  2. actually it takes a screen shot when you press the lock button
    and home at the same time. it dosnt do this everytime you hit
    home. also when you connect it to a computer it makes the
    drive appear but only for the pictures.

  3. Hey justin, that’s for taking screen shots you want to keep.
    it makes a screen shot every time you hit the home button to make
    those cool animations it does when it changes apps. They are
    supposed to be deleted, but like every other type of storage media
    only the pointers are deleted. so that makes them retrievable

  4. Hey, I think the bigger problem may be,
    that there are personal informations on the
    phone anyway – so losing the device is the real problem.
    Perhaps Apple could include FileVault to unlock via lockcode^^

  5. I don’t understand why people are so worried about this. Sure it takes a screenshot every time you hit the home button, but isn’t pretty much everything in that screenshot already stored elsewhere on the drive?

  6. Yea, pretty much. I think the newest update has an option to
    self wipe the device if the pass code is incorrectly entered too
    many times. The best way to avoid any one from getting your info
    is to not lose the phone in the first place. If you do, give at&t
    a call as soon as you realize you don’t have it any more
    so they can remote wipe if for you.

  7. I noticed this same behavior a back in July while trying to restore some deleted photos from my iPhone. I used ‘DD’ to make an image of the iPhone’s memory, then used PhotoRec to search for deleted images. In addition to finding the camera photos that I was looking for, I also recovered 77 of these screenshots–many of them containing personal info. For example, there were screenshots of emails that I had sent to several people, maps that I was looking at, web sites that I was viewing, etc. At the time, I didn’t know what the screenshots were for, but the problem still remains. It’s very easy to recover this data from an iPhone that hasn’t been “virginized”.

    Here’s the post I made when I discovered it:

    http://www.modmyi.com/forums/general-iphone-chat/240901-whats-all-these-screenshots.html

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