How Do I Securely Delete Private Info off my Phone??? (Selling Phone Need to be Sure)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by VideoNewbie, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. VideoNewbie macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #1
    I need to be sure all memory is wiped clean...so clean that even the most experienced hacker/techie in the world wouldnt be able to retrieve it...

    would a simple system restore do the trick?
     
  2. Helixc0de macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #2
    Even after a restore some of the files are still there and cannot be completely erased. I have sold many iPhones in the past that had credit card numbers, addresses, etc. and a simple restore did the trick. You should be fine.
     
  3. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
  4. andyblila macrumors 65816

    andyblila

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    On My iPhone, or my iPad?
    #4
    There is a erase all in the settings as well.
     
  5. VideoNewbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #5

    okay so your answer is a bit confusing.. a restore doesnt delete all the files but a "simple restore did the trick" ? restore = simple restore no?

    ----------


    this too is the same as a "Simple restore" right?
    would restore and setting up as a new phone erase everything completely?

    ----------


    i dont see this in the settings...will this erase the phone clean 100%?
     
  6. andyblila macrumors 65816

    andyblila

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    On My iPhone, or my iPad?
    #6
    It will. It's under the erase all settings. It will restore it.
     
  7. PeteLP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    #8
    Settings > General > Reset > "Erase All Content and Settings"
     
  8. VideoNewbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #9
    thank you just a few q's

    1.) if this erases all content then why did the poster above say that there are still some files that will not be deleted?

    2.)
    does "erase all content and settings" truly erase data on the phone to the point where even the most experienced hacker cannot retrieve it?

    3.) should i back up the phone prior to erasing the data? for some reason this site says NOT to backup (???)http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=1347
     
  9. The Norman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #10
    Do iPhones work like iPods? Secure erase in Disk Utility and then restore?
     
  10. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    #11
    I've bought and sold each iPhone and this is the way I've erased them all before shipping. The only truly secure way to make sure a good hacker can't get any info is to not sell it or destroy it. Just sync your phone normally which will back it up. Then erase everything. That's it. That's all you have to do. You shouldn't have any more questions.
     
  11. SRLMJ23 macrumors 65816

    SRLMJ23

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #12
    Erase All Settings is all you need to do. No files will be left behind, that one poster doesn't know what he is talking about. Once you do Erase All Settings the phone is essentially like you got it out of the box on day 1.
     
  12. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #13
    Sorry but this is not true. :eek:

    There are a number of tools that will allow a skilled individual to recover data from an iPhone that has been restored or all setting reset. Note the iPhone 3GS and later iPhones use an encription key for the deletion and that's way the erase all settings is so quick.

    In previous iPhones a complete format would take up to 2 hours to complete. Here is an interesting thread the will provide some clues:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1139941

    If the OP is really worried about someone getting their data, they need to perform multiple steps to overwrite the iPhone multiple times. The best example comes from iClarified: How to Securely Erase Your iPhone Before Resale

    http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=1347

    Dave
     
  13. VideoNewbie thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #14

    That is the link i posted earlier which instructs us to NOT back up the data?
    why would backing up the data have any affect on the later steps?

    also i dont get why jailbreaking the phone would "Securely erase" the data (???) anyone have insight

    ----------


    Dave and this link:
    http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=1347
    says otherwise

    what say you?
     
  14. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    #15
    Those methods are way overkill. If you're that worried about your info, destroy your phone. I've sold 4 iPhones over the years and just did a simple erase all settings and info and ive had no problems. Out of the millions of iPhone out there, it's almost impossible someone will choose yours to really try and hack into unless your data is that important to someone. No hard drive is 100% safe unless you destroy it. So it's up to you what you do. I don't care how you do it, just giving you the easiest and, more than likely, the safest way to do it.
     
  15. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #16
    NO based on your original concern quoted above :eek::confused:

    Did you bother to read the iClarified link? The reason to jailbreak is to allow you access to run the key step in the entire thread.

    We now will wipe both partitions clean by copying /dev/zero over them. Enter the following commands into your Terminal window:

    This is a low level overwrite of the partitions on the iPhone. Based on your initial post quoted above you need to go a few steps beyond just a secure erase. If you don't want to go the jailbreak method, you might consider restoring your iPhone to factory with a new firmware image and then loading it up with music a couple of times. While not the same thing as overwriting the partitions, it is part way between the two extremes. :D

    Dave
     
  16. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #17
    If you have a passcode set on your iPhone all the information would have been encrypted. So if you reset it, it will simply "forget" your passcode and therefore all data is inaccessible.
     
  17. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #18
    My God, why hasn't apple ensured that a restore or erase all, does EXACTLY that.

    What a huge miss/security issue.

    ...that fact that a hacker could get to the information is reason enough to make sure its fully erased.
     
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #19
    I live in an apartment with a lock on the door. It discourages people from casually walking in, but if anyone was determined to get in, they could probably ply open or break a window. I don't complain my locksmith didn't install bullet proof, unopenable windows in my apartment.

    Yes, theoretically, a good hacker could recover files from a erased iPhone. That's the nature of digital storage, Apple can't really change that. If you have information that's so sensitive someone will go through the extensive trouble of using forensic methods to recover data from your phone, you probably should just destroy your phone, as other posters have suggested. But for most people, Apple's erase procedure is just fine, just as most of us are fine with living in buildings with breakable, can-be-plyed-open windows.
     
  19. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #20
    This is simply not true. Even the remote wipe is not 100% full proof. While it is a feel good measure for the average consumer, there is still a real risk if someone is really wanting your data train is willing to work hard to get it.

    The encryption is really weak and not that complicated and the data is still on the device. There are many free and paid tools that will allow law enforcment and experienced hackers to recover large amounts of data from the iPhone.

    The Passcode and secure erase are just feel good measures like dead-bolts on a door. The week link is not the dead-bold but the door frame. :eek:

    The good news is that this security exposure has been around as long as data was store on any media so you just have to decide how paranoid you are about someone spending hours trying to recover you data and if you really have something to hide.. :eek:

    Dave
     
  20. PeteLP macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    #21
    You're welcome :)

    I believe the poster is right, that files ARE left on the iphone (despite being "deleted" by the OS, and removed from the OS's internal file INDEX), but those files will only be visible to a serious hacker.

    If you've kept your valuable private data in an app with its own encryption, (such as a good encrypted password program or a data base such as HanDBase), and you've chosen to encrypt your important fields, then that data would NOT be accessible after a reset. OTOH apple's password protection, alone, does NOT encrypt that data. (I know this since (a) I've accessed many files directly via jailbreak and (b) we can see that turning the iPhone's password on and off responds instantly, even with many gigabytes of data files)

    The other question is whether you've used some personal method of further concealing that very private data. Such as always substituting some regular portion of your passwords when you enter them into your phone.

    I personally have my important data encrypted by HanDBase, and always use some substitutions, so I feel safe enough doing a simple "erase all settings and content"

    IF you don't feel safe about this, it's probably not too difficult, or risky to follow the iclarify instructions for a true "cleaning".


    I looked at that site and, honestly, I have no idea why they tell you not to back up at that point. Perhaps, its simply because you don't NEED to. :)
     
  21. I7guy macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    What Exit?/Saguaro Country
    #22
    Unless your buyer works for the NSA who cares. A standard wipe for me is sufficient.
     
  22. The Bogeyman macrumors regular

    The Bogeyman

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2012
    Location:
    Under your stairs
    #23
    It is worryingly easy for even someone with very scant knowledge of such matters to recover data from drives, such as myself.

    I accidentally deleted some photos from an SD card, and with software easily found on Google, was able to recover them all. It seems that when data is "deleted", it is only encrypted, not actually destroyed so it is easily recovered. If I'm correct (I'm sure someone knows better than me on this) but even a formatted disk can be recovered with the right tools.

    Of course, you should keep sensitive things such as card details, logins etc in an encrypted database and not in for example a note. However if an experienced hacker wants your data, they are gonna get it, no matter what you do. Hell they don't even need physical access to your device, unless it is totally cut off from the world with no radio/Internet access. It's the same as if you lock your front door. No matter how strong it is, how many locks there are, it will stop most people, but it won't stop the totally determined.

    My advice would be simply a factory reset, do it twice, perhaps and then carry on with your life. If a hacker wants your data, he's gonna get it whether he has your phone or not.
     
  23. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    #24
    Apple publish some useful information here.

    If you believe that article - and I've no reason not to believe it - a quick erase only happens on devices that encrypt/decrypt content using hardware (iOS 5 + devices). Removing the encryption key leaves data on the phone, but nobody can get to it because they won't have the decryption key. Maybe the NSA could if they applied the efforts of a supercomputer for many hours.

    Where hardware encryption is not available, storage is overwritten with binary 1s. Can take a long time. This data is not recoverable if it is using Flash memory.

    More generally, a hard disk that is overwritten with 1s can leave traces of the original data. Although the disk will read digital 1s and 0s, it relies on analogue magnetic storage, which can contain residual information.
     
  24. I7guy, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    I7guy macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    What Exit?/Saguaro Country
    #25
    It's not easy if the phone was wiped or a strong password is applied to the phone and it is secured and locked. If your backups are being encrypted i do not think it's frightfully easy to get hack your phone.
     

Share This Page