I've learned that simply by adding an Exchange-based email account to my iPod's Mail app, I am implicitly allowing the administrator of the email system to remotely wipe all data from my iPod -- even though neither the (sparse) documentation nor the user interface seems to warn of this.

I don't find this acceptable, so I simply read my Exchange mail through the web interface. No problem.

Are there other apps or services which implicitly allow other people to remotely wipe my iPod? For example, if I add a Gmail account to the Mail app, am I granting the ability for a Google action (intentional or otherwise) to wipe my iPod? If I use the Facebook app, does Facebook have the ability to wipe my iPod?


The remote wipe is part of Apple's own code - so any program that wants access to that API has to work with Apple to ensure it follows Apple's policies of not surprising end users.

This feature is well documented in the enterprise documentation as well as part of MobileMe Find My iPhone terms of service.

The things that currently will wipe an iOS4 device: (the first two depend on physical posession of the device - the second two require some sort of data connection to the Apple (or Exchange) servers.

  • Restore the device over USB (in recovery mode if a passcode prevents normal restore)
  • Turn on the failed passcode erase trigger and enter the code wrongly until the erase threshold is passed
  • Turn on Find My Phone and activate an erase through another device using Apple's push data servers.
  • Turn on Exchange remote wipe and activate it through the Exchange server's push data service.

I don't know of any apps that have hacked this interface. Ones in the App store would likely get caught before they shipped. Ones in cydia or jailbreak community might be more prevalent, but I'm not familiar enough to say if there are any in the wild so I'll leave that for someone else to answer here via an edit or in another answer.

  • This sounds good (and it's been voted twice) but how do we know these are the only ways? If you have to know to search out the "enterprise documentation" (wherever that is), could it be that there are other specific Apple documents which mention that they can wipe the device, too, only we didn't think to look at them? – Ken Jun 17 '11 at 16:59
  • I could be wrong, but I doubt it. I've regularly gone through all publicly available documentation with a fine tooth comb. For a third party app to erase the phone, it would have to be a live jailbreak. Those are pretty well published and I didn't mention them as I don't follow that side of things close enough to speak with any confidence. – bmike Jun 18 '11 at 1:02

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