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Is there a tool or application that will securely wipe an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (i.e. any iOS device?)

I'm not interested in a complete wipe that would brick the device. Rather, I'd want to wipe all free space after it's been reset to default or had the OS reinstalled.

Furthermore: by "securely wipe", I'm referring to multiple successive passes with random data, etc. to thwart any attempt at data recovery.

For instance: If somebody wanted to sell their old iPhone on eBay, how can they be sure it's completely wiped, so there's little hope of a malicious buyer being able to recover sensitive data that used to be on it?

I think this is especially important when people are using iPhone apps to store passwords, credit card numbers, etc. (even if those apps have a supposedly secure storage mechanism.)

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I'm definitely interested to know this. I discovered upon buying a new iPhone and giving my old one to my wife that "resetting to default settings" or whatever it was called in iTunes did not reset everything. The first thing she did was try to download an app and it prompted her for my iTunes store password with the email pre-filled in. –  David Aug 20 '10 at 13:45
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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

iOS 4.0 supports a very rapid secure erase called "Data Protection". If you upgrade from 3.0 you need to do a restore to set the stage for hardware encryption of all the data.

If your device isn't capable of hardware encryption (often called secure data at rest), then you can use the Erase all content and settings function. This built-in functionality to secure wipe your iDevice has been around since iPhone OS 2.0

As this doesn't work the same way on all iOS devices, do read Understanding 'Erase All Content and Settings' before you depend on this to clear data securely.

Once you are through erasing the device, you might want to connect it to a clean iTunes library and restore the device and set it up as new. Making a new account on your Mac or PC is an easy way to have a library with no account, no songs, and no apps just to be sure the device has a clean (and easily verifiable) start to it's new life.

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The built in secure-wipe does a very good job, but you should really create a new user on your Mac and do a Restore from iTunes while logged in as that user, and then do the secure wipe mentioned by Studer. That will keep the iTunes account crap from happening.

There's also an iWipe app available in the Cydia store at $2.99 for jailbroken iphones, that wipes free space.

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One option would be to put it into disk mode and then use an external utility to do the wiping.

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Is this possible with an iOS device, or only old / classic iPod? –  Chris W. Rea Aug 21 '10 at 14:39
    
If you can put it in disk mode you can use it with anything. I'm not up to date on how to do that with newer iOS devices, but I assume there is a way. –  Josh K Aug 21 '10 at 19:05
    
This is not practical on iOS without jail breaking the device. It's better to fill it to capacity with rick ashley songs or "Friday" videos if the device doesn't support Data Protection. –  bmike Aug 30 '11 at 18:47
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