The increasing reliance on mobile devices has led to a proportional increase in cases of those who have lost data one way or another. Typically phones or iPad gadgets lose data when they are subject to some harsh environment or event, and then simply cease to function. The good news is that there may be recovery solutions that may not bring such a device back to life but might well revive some, most and often all of your data.
If you do get stuck with a mobile device that is not working and you send it back under warranty, they will simply send you another phone. If you are lucky they might remember to take out the SIM card if you forgot. If you are miraculously lucky, they will also send it back to you.
The data in iPads and Smartphones is stored in two places potentially; either the inbuilt storage which is integral to the mainboard or an external SIM card if there is a slot available in the model in question – so have them others do not; External storage such as USB drives can also be used in devices with a USB interface.
Whatever the device used for storage – the biggest thing to make sure is that if you need to recover your data then stop using the device immediately. Further use may utilize and overwrite storage space that contains data you are trying to recover. Apart from someone with access to IBM’s laboratories or a friend who works at Area51, there is little hope in recovering data that has been overwritten in Flash memory. Even for a hard drive, overwritten areas are notoriously expensive to recover, although IBM claims to have recovered from a drive overwritten 7 times. As all SIM cards, USB flash drives and other solid state drives, as well as the storage in a mobile device use flash memory, the same applies to whichever device is giving you problems. Simply, the more it is used, the less chance of recovery.
For files stored on external devices, it’s worth a try plugging them into a laptop or computer and having a look to see what is visible and potentially recoverable. There are a few apps you can download for free that will look at these devices for you and give you an idea of what might be undeleted. If you can’t immediately get a result it is better to send the device to professional data recovery services to get it back for you. A simple formatting mistake might be reversible and simple deletions undone with some easy software – some of which is free on the Internet – but anything more can often result in a lot of frustrating and fragments of files that may have been recovered fully if approached properly. Recovering 100 files which are left unnamed in a single folder and whose origin is unknown is not exactly a helpful recovery option.
If the data to be recovered is in the device’s internal flash memory and the device is not functioning, then you need to send it to someone who can remove the flash memory modules or chips and use special equipment to read them. If you need more than a simple undelete or unformatted to recover your data you probably need to talk to data recovery specialists.