Wiping An IPhone (more Thoroughly)

You may be hoping to subsidize the purchase of an iPhone 3G with the sale of your old one, but since you should wipe all your personal data from the old one first, we brought you [Rich Mogull]’s method for wiping all your private data off of an iPhone. The method, which involves overwriting your data with music, is slightly flawed, mainly because of live files that can’t be deleted while the phone’s OS is working and because the OS reserves a portion of the hard drive as unwritable space, which will make it impossible to completely fill it with music.

For those looking to annihilate every scrap of personal information, check out [Jonathan Zdziarski]’s method. It involves restoring the phone as a new phone, then jailbreaking it. Once the user has shell access, umount is used to force the two mount points into read-only mode. Now the partitions can be overwritten with /dev/zero, which should wipe them clean. The phone should then be forced into recovery mode to perform another full system restore, and the process is complete. As [Zdziarski] notes, several iterations of the process with /dev/random should prevent even NAND recovery, but there is an even better way of ensuring full data destruction: “simply take a sledgehammer to the device.” If you are unfamiliar with the command line though, chances are [Rich Mogull]’s method will be easier for you to handle, but don’t blame us if you sell your phone and the Feds get wise to the evidence you left on it.

[via Engadget]

7 thoughts on “Wiping An IPhone (more Thoroughly)

  1. “hack a day serves up a fresh hack each day, every day from around the web and a special how-to hack each week.”

    please remember this next time you’re digging through engadget (or digg) for something to copy and paste.

  2. I tried to make a post similar to yours, but hack-a-day wouldnt let me make it. odd. Anyway, i find it cool that i also quoted that little gem from the site.

    this editor is amazing, his last 3 posts have been off-topic crap with no relevance to this site.

    seriously though, if i want to read this crap i will go to another site. please, if this is all your going to post here, GTFO.

    You have been given the great responsibility of helping to post stories to the main page, and you have shown to us, the HaD community, that you do not deserve this privilege.

    Your job as an editor is to find unique, inspired, ingenious hacks from the obscure corners of the internet.

    You really do need to read your comments, and I am of the opinion right now that you do not even care about the people who read HaD.

    I am the same anon from your other shitty posts, have fun!

  3. @2: +1. We already scan Engadget to get our nauseating iPhone news and endless genuflections to companies named after fruit that have connections with Isaac Newton; we don’t need it here too! What we want are schematics, circuit diagrams. Oh wait, now I have to “rm” myself…

  4. another way to purge the data is.

    1. if you can open up the phone and remove the hard drive you can get one of those micro drive to ide converters and slave the drive to the mac and do a full erase via disk utility then put the drive back in and restore the phone.

    2. have the at&t store deactivate the phone and then maybe re activate it with a dummy account (so any at&t data that lives on the un accessible partition will be written over by a dummy account.

    as of your user data like the phone book and such should live on the user partition so you can write over with a large text file.

    if worse comes to worse and you dont want to or dont care about getting money for it you can.

    1. keep it for parts.

    2. keep it for target practice.

    3. recycle it at a local recycling center that takes electronics (make sure they have a policy that does not allow anyone to take or remove electronics from the bins)

    4. take it to a recycling place that will let you watch as they run it through shredding machines that shred electronics to insure total destruction

  5. @The first 3 commenters – do you enjoy doing this on every. single. post? Seriously, your day is so empty you have to fill it up bitching about the content of a blog you get to read for free? Get an RSS reader, and you waste — AT MOST — half a second of your life scanning and processing the headline before ignoring it.

    Besides, some of us can’t be bothered with Engadget (I call it the Weblogs Inc Firehose), so this is news to me. Just because it doesn’t involve hookup up a JTAG doesn’t mean it’s not a hack, and possibly a useful one (if you own an old iPhone, I guess) at that.

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