Our friends at Drive Savers have successfully recovered lost data from hard drives and other devices for our clients over the years. At times, their brilliant engineers and techs have been successful when we doubted that any data could be recovered. We're starting to see more iPhones and iPads coming in with data recovery issues. This article, written by Drive Savers director of engineering, Mike Cobb discusses the one absolute key to successful data recovery from these devices.
Hundreds of broken, damaged and malfunctioning iPhones are sent to DriveSavers every month for data recovery. Despite having the best smartphone success rate in the industry, we aren’t able to recover all of them. Many factors are involved, some of which we’ll go into here.
To obtain the best results in recovering an iPhone, DriveSavers engineers must carefully coax it into a semi-functional state, at least briefly, in order to extract the important data.
Every single phone that comes in the door may require hours of inspection and testing to locate the point or points of failure. In many cases, hardware engineers will have to micro solder multiple jumpers and leads in addition to cleaning corrosion and other forms of damage to get a device to power up.
When we do get an iPhone to work again, we don’t know how long it will remain viable, so we have to move quickly at that point to rescue the important data.
Most of the iPhones we receive are protected by passcodes, which we highly recommend as just one measure to protect sensitive personal information. You can learn other security measures from our article, 7 Ways to Secure Your Smartphone.
Passcode protection may still be active, even if the phone is unusable. iPhone encryption and security is very robust—increasingly so with each new version. If our engineers don’t have a working passcode, iPhone data recovery may not be possible.
What’s Your Code?
In a recent case, a customer sent us an iPhone for recovery. After hours of tedious microsurgery, our engineers were able to breathe a little life into the device, temporarily. They moved quickly to enter the passcode that had been provided in order to transfer data from the phone to a stable, working device before their window of opportunity closed.
The passcode we were given didn’t work. The customer had provided an incorrect code! What did that mean? No access! No data recovery!
We immediately called the customer and, after explaining that data recovery would not be possible without his correct passcode, he provided the information our engineers needed. Luckily, this particular customer answered the phone on the first try. This is not always the case.
There have been instances where we have been unable to reach the user at this crucial stage in the recovery, or they have been unwilling to give up their passcode. In some of these cases, the iPhone, which we had worked so hard to get running again, stopped working permanently and we were unable to finish the recovery satisfactorily.
We cannot stress enough just how important the passcode is to an iPhone recovery.
We understand concern for privacy and security, which is precisely why DriveSavers devotes a tremendous amount of time, energy and money to protect our customer’s information.