Erase a broken iPhone or have it repaired - what about my data?

If you have a defective iPhone that no longer works due to display damage, water damage or other damage, the memory may still be intact. Should someone knowledgeable or the Apple employee in the store erase or repair the iPhone, does this person have access to your data? And what can you do to prevent this apparent access? You will find the answers to these and other questions below. Because a defective Apple iPhone is not a treasure trove for personal data and files;)

Defective iPhone - can you read data from it? Here you will find the answer if you want to have your Apple smartphone deleted or repaired professionally.
Defective iPhone - can you read data from it? Here you will find the answer if you want to have your Apple smartphone deleted or repaired professionally.

Reading out data from the defective iPhone - is that possible?

If the iPhone is damaged and cannot be switched on or controlled via Mac or PC via iTunes, there are three options: have it repaired, sell as defective or return it to the recycling cycle. With the first two options in particular, you can worry about the stored data. Of course, one wonders whether the repair service or the buyer of the defective iPhone can get the data that is still on it. Even if there are only a few contacts and nature shots in the photo and video folder, they don't have to fall into the hands of strangers.

The good news: No, a stranger has no access to the iPhone memory if you sell the defective Apple smartphone or have it repaired. Because the data will discord encrypted with the login data and are never available in plain text. So if someone with the appropriate know-how were to remove the smartphone's SSD and read it out individually, then he would only find garbage data. Without the access code, i.e. the iPhone PIN, Touch ID and / or Face ID, there is no access to the iPhone memory. Only if no code is set - which is very unusual as its creation is required when setting up the device - is there a residual risk.

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"Find my iPhone" and delete storage via iCloud

The good thing about Apple devices is that they are networked via the iCloud. So if you activated the "Find my iPhone" function on the device before the defect, you can click not only start a search (if it has been lost or stolen), but also use the "Erase iPhone" function. If you have done this, the memory of your iPhone will be deleted immediately after it has reconnected to the Internet the next time. There are details and illustrated instructions on this Apple support page.

If you do not want to empty the memory and reset the iPhone in the event of a repair, but only prevent a code for two-factor authentication from being sent to the device, there is a solution for this as well. Because for that you have to iPhone only removed from the list of trusted devices become. Then it can no longer be used while it is in operation to access the iCloud or Apple services. To remove the iPhone as a trusted device, go to the Apple ID account page, log in and perform the step in the "Devices" area. There are details on how to proceed at Apple Support.

Help with your Apple problem

Here in the blog you will find numerous posts, help articles and instructions for everything to do with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Co. In addition, you will find all sorts of topics and problems in the areas of iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. News from the Apple and tech world are also regularly covered. If you cannot find the topic that is burning under your nails in the archive, please leave a comment or write an email. Based on years or decades of experience, I can help you here and there. Also like to subscribe to my weekly Sir Apfelot newsletter ;)

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.