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Text messages don't actually get deleted

456901 Views 69 Replies Latest reply: Apr 14, 2014 11:29 PM by Nilesrees RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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gixxermike Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Sep 26, 2010 8:09 PM
To all apple iPhone owners! Beware !! Apple iOS software stores every text message ever made on your phone.
You may think you've deleted them but there still there. I found out myself when I was using spotlight search to find something and noticed that some text conversations I made months ago were showing up!
These text messages were deleted a long time ago or so I thought.
When I contacted apple customer support, they told me the only way to permanent remove all text messages and ooh yes also emails , is to do a master reset, or restore to factory setting on iTunes. This intern removes all data from your phone. The downside to this is all your contacts , apps, and settings are erased. You also can't backup from previous because then it puts it back in ur phone. I know I have done it.
imac, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Leigh Hounsome Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 1:57 PM (in response to gixxermike)
    not good security that!!!! especially if the wife knows how to use spotlight!!!!
    macbook pro 2.33GHz, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 20gig ipod 4th gen, 30gig 5th gen, 2x airtunes.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (122,145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 2:13 PM (in response to gixxermike)
    Settings are lost when restoring as a new iPhone or not from your iPhone's backup, but all iTunes content on your iPhone - all music, movies, tv shows, and 3rd party apps should be in your iTunes library on your computer, and contacts are designed to be synced with a supported address book application on your computer and should be available on your computer with or without an iPhone or any cell phone. Not a good idea to depend on your iPhone or any cell phone alone for contacts, which can be lost or stolen.

    I have nothing to be worried about - mainly since I have nothing to hide. If I discovered someone I allowed to use my iPhone doing a spotlight search for something in particular on MY iPhone, that would be the last time they would use it.
     MacBook Pro 15" Intel Core 2 Duo/2.53GHz/4GB RAM/500GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.4),  iPod w/Video 30GB,  iPhone 4 32GB
  • DCGOO Level 3 Level 3 (760 points)
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    Sep 27, 2010 2:42 PM (in response to gixxermike)
    Honestly, I could believe that about local text messages, but I don't think that is true for e-mails. I would eaten up all of my storage years ago
    MBP 17, MBP 15 i7, Powerbook G4, iMac 20, Mini OS X Server, 32gig iPhone4, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (122,145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 2:46 PM (in response to gixxermike)
    Not necessarily.

    OS X on your Mac includes a secure erase feature when emptying the Trash, but not when deleting email from within an email client. If you don't use the secure erase feature on your Mac when emptying the Trash, the data can be recovered with a data recovery utility until the area on the hard drive where the data was stored is overwritten with new data, or until the hard drive is securely erased when being reformatted.

    This applies to email deleted with the email client used on your computer since there is no secure erase for this data.

    The same applies to the iPhone with the Spotlight search feature being overzealous with finding data that was deleted. Until the area on the flash drive where the data was stored is overwritten with new data or unless Erase All Content and Settings on the iPhone is used which is a secure erase, the data will be picked up by Spotlight which can be important to some users when data is accidentally deleted from the iPhone.
     MacBook Pro 15" Intel Core 2 Duo/2.53GHz/4GB RAM/500GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.4),  iPod w/Video 30GB,  iPhone 4 32GB
  • molotovito Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
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    Sep 27, 2010 4:55 PM (in response to gixxermike)
    I just tried to do this, and I don't see any text messages on the spotlight search after I delete them.
    macbook 13" powerbook 17" iPhone 4, iOS 4
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 12:32 AM (in response to gixxermike)
    I just sent myself a text message, went to Spotlight, search found it, deleted the message, went to Spotlight. It still had the search results showing. I pressed the ⓧ at the right of the search bar and reentered the search word. It did NOT find it.

    Do you have the latest firmware (4.1)?
    Mac Pro (Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS 4.1
  • KTjazz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 28, 2010 1:05 AM (in response to Malcolm Rayfield)
    I checked this morning. I've looked in settings and I have the tick next to messages. I did a search, like the person above. deleted one of the messages found and did the search again. The message was gone.

    I think if that was a problem before 4.1 has fixed it.
  • imnoapplefan Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 1:29 AM (in response to gixxermike)
    tested today on my device, iPhone 4 iOS 4.1, search in messages enabled in spotlight, deleted message was completely erased.
    iPhone 4, iOS 4, HP Pavillion dv4 Windows 7
  • DCGOO Level 3 Level 3 (760 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 7:24 AM (in response to KTjazz)
    I think if that was a problem before 4.1 has fixed it.


    All that means is the constraint of a spotlight search has been limited to undeleted messages. The messages are very likely still buried in flash somewhere. It probably eliminates the prying eyes problem, but not necessarily the security implications. Just depends on what you are trying cover up, and from whom.
    MBP 17, MBP 15 i7, Powerbook G4, iMac 20, Mini OS X Server, 32gig iPhone4, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (122,145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 7:34 AM (in response to DCGOO)
    Yep - until the area on the drive where the deleted data was stored is overwritten with new data or until the Erase All Content and Settings option on the iPhone is used which is a secure erase, data can be recovered if someone goes to the trouble and expense to try to recover it.
     MacBook Pro 15" Intel Core 2 Duo/2.53GHz/4GB RAM/500GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.4),  iPod w/Video 30GB,  iPhone 4 32GB
  • Igor_G5 Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 8:16 AM (in response to gixxermike)
    I tried it on my iPhone sending a message with a word that I know I never texted before. After deleting the text Spotlight didn't find the word.

    I also tried sending an email from a different account to my iPhone. After deleting the email from both my inbox and the trash Spotlight didn't find that either.

    I think your confused. Yes, like on a computer, the information is still there. But your average person cannot access it.
    G5 Quad 2.5 gh, 5gig RAM, 500 and 750 gb w/ 30" Cinema Display, Mac OS X (10.5.6), MBP, 17" C2D 2.53.(10.6.4). G4 Gigabit, dual 1.4 processor iPhone 4, 32 gig
  • Igor_G5 Level 2 Level 2 (300 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2010 8:22 AM (in response to DCGOO)
    DCGOO wrote:
    Just depends on what you are trying cover up, and from whom.


    Yes the authorities can probably recover it if they are suspicious of you. If you're involved in illegal activities, don't do it with text or email. BTW your email can be retrieved from your ISP as well as a record of where you've been on the web.

    Maybe an experienced hacker could retrieve it. Don't let any hackers have access to your iPhone.
    G5 Quad 2.5 gh, 5gig RAM, 500 and 750 gb w/ 30" Cinema Display, Mac OS X (10.5.6), MBP, 17" C2D 2.53.(10.6.4). G4 Gigabit, dual 1.4 processor iPhone 4, 32 gig
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