ElcomSoft, based out of Russia, has made headlines in the past, and now it’s back again with another report that some Apple Notes may not be deleted permanently after Apple says they should be.
According to the software company, a pair of its tools (Phone Breaker and Phone Viewer) can be used together to view Apple Notes that have been deleted for longer than 30 days. In some cases, much longer than 30 days. According to Apple, any notes that have been deleted will be removed permanently after 30 days.
For those who use Apple Notes, you’ll know that when you delete a note (like a photo, which has a similar folder), it goes into a dedicated “Recently Deleted” folder. Users can either leave the notes in that folder, where they are supposedly deleted permanently upon reaching the 30-day mark, or go into the folder and delete them permanently manually.
However, ElcomSoft has discovered that, thanks to its tools, it can find notes on devices that are beyond the 30-day deletion window. In one instance, ElcomSoft found 334 notes on an iPhone that, according to the numbers presented to the user, only had 288 notes on it — including those in the Recently Deleted folder. That means there were 46 notes that were still present on the device, despite being beyond the 30-day window.
However, ElcomSoft has been able to pull notes that date back years past the 30-day window:
“We did it again,” says Vladimir Katalov, ElcomSoft CEO. “After recovering deleted photos and Safari browsing history from iCloud, we now add the ability to recover deleted notes from the same source regardless of how much time has passed after the deletion. The oldest record we’ve been able to pull was deleted back in 2012.”
It’s worth noting that while ElcomSoft has been able to retrieve older (deleted) notes, it’s not always a possibility. Some devices have not had any older notes to extract, while others did:
“While some of our test accounts did indeed contain deleted notes going all the way back to 2015, some other accounts contained much less than that.”
ElcomSoft’s software, the aforementioned Phone Breaker and Phone Viewer, cost $79 each, and work for both Mac and Windows-based PCs. The software company says that its applications are, as far as they know, the only means to access the older deleted notes.
The company has said that it believes Apple will fix the problem at some point, but did not say whether or not they had been in contact with the company in regards to the issue.
Which note-taking app do you use?