Yesterday morning we reported that some of your iPhone data was nearly impossible to erase. This issue was discovered when someone purchased a refurbished iPhone and using special software was able to read personal information from an area of the iPhone that should have been empty. Several people wondered aloud if there was any way to wipe all the data off their iPhone prior to selling it on eBay or returning it to an Apple Store. Web site Securosis.com has detailed instructions on “formatting” an iPhone to wipe data. It involves filling it to capacity to force old data off. Here are the partial instructions (check out their web site at the link below for the full article):
For those of you that aren’t just convincing your spouse to take your “old” iPhone off your hands to justify that new toy, Securosis presents a simple process to minimize the chances of a recovery. It’s not perfect, but it’s easy and should offer enough protection for those of you forced to eBay your once-precious-but-now-obsolete device:
1. Restore the iPhone from within iTunes.
2. On the “Info” tab, un-check all options so you don’t synchronize calendars, email, bookmarks, and contacts.
3. On the Photos, Podcasts, and Video tabs, uncheck “Sync …”.
4. Create 3 big playlists with at least as many songs as the storage capacity of your iPhone.
5. On the Music tab, select the first of your 3 playlists to sync. Make sure the storage bar at the bottom looks full after syncing.
6. Sync your iPhone, change to the next playlist, sync again, and repeat one last time.
This will hopefully overwrite any of the free space on your phone, helping preventing recovery of any of those love letters and bad jokes lingering from old emails.