Warning: iPhone Bug Allows Deleted Email To Be Retrieved With Simple Search

Never use your iPhone for incriminating or embarrassing emails you might not want others to see.

CoM reader Matt Janssen has just found a bug in the iPhone’s 3.x software that allows deleted email to be retrieved.

In other words, the iPhone and iPod Touch’s Mail app doesn’t properly delete email. Erased email messages can be easily retrieved using a simple search with the iPhone’s built-in search tool.

“Obviously this is could be a major security issue if you think you deleted something from your iPod but it’s not really deleted,” says Janssen. “You can still search through messages that are deleted. And this isn’t messages that are just recent. I found some messages that are over three or four months old.”

The bug could reveal embarrassing email sent or received by cheating spouses, or messages that kids don’t want their parents to see. It’s present in the software for both the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Janssen has made a video to demonstrate the bug. In the video, Janssen creates an email in a standard POP account, sends it to himself and then deletes it. The message appears to be gone from his inbox, but he’s able to retrieve it using the iPhone’s Search function. Janssen has to search for the deleted message twice. On first try, the Mail app crashes and sends him back to the Home screen. But on the second try, the message is retrieved and displayed. It even retrieves messages that are deleted from the server.

“Hopefully Apple will fix it in some later releases,” says Janssen.

Link to Jannsen’s YouTube video.

  • Sahanatrymytech

    so does it mean the mails are deleted in the iPhone only or in database as well

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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Posted in Apple, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software |