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8/17/2009
11:54 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Deleted Emails On iPhone Can Come Back

For the time being, be careful what type of emails you send and receive when using an iPhone or iPod Touch with the 3.x operating system. When you delete an email on an iPhone 3.0, that email may not really be gone. By using the iPhone's built in search tool, you may be able to resurrect the deleted email.

For the time being, be careful what type of emails you send and receive when using an iPhone or iPod Touch with the 3.x operating system. When you delete an email on an iPhone 3.0, that email may not really be gone. By using the iPhone's built in search tool, you may be able to resurrect the deleted email.The Cult of Mac has an article that has information from one of its readers, Matt Janssen, showing how this bug works.

It is possible the find tool maintains a cache of information to speed up the searching and the cache isn't cleared when the email app deletes an email. Janssen was able to get emails deleted several months ago to come back, so the cache is apparently only limited by the memory in the device.

There is a five minute video on the Cult of Mac site that walks you through the steps of coaxing an message back from email purgatory. It isn't a single click or search, but it isn't a terribly difficult process either, so someone could quickly recover a deleted email from your device in under 30 seconds.

Full tests on IMAP, POP3 and Exchange ActiveSync messages weren't conducted, so there is a possibility that different email types may not be recovered as easily, or at all.

Apple needs to issue a patch for this as soon as possible. This is at the least an annoyance for personal emails and at worst, a critical security issue for people that use their iPhones for accessing corporate email. It also makes me question what other kinds of data are still on an iPhone after it has been "deleted."

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