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Recover data from broken iPhone 6

Ask Different Asked by miguelmorin on December 23, 2020

An iPhone is bent and broken and does not turn on:

broken iPhone

Apple says that it only offers data recovery through software, not hardware, and several Authorized Service Providers say that they don’t do it either.

This blog post mentions it’s possible:

Jones simply made the broken iPhone functional again — or at least
functional enough to retrieve the photos — by replacing water-damaged
parts.

Once the iPhone could turn on, the iPhone functioned as it normally
did before suffering water damage, and the photos could be extracted
from the iPhone.

How could I, or a tech shop, recover the data from this broken iPhone?

Update: I talked to several repair shops. The one that seem most knowledgeable mentioned that as of now, it’s impossible to recover data from the memory of an iPhone 6 because of data flow encryption between the logic board and the NAND memory chip. For the iPhone 4, people had discovered how to reverse engineer it, but no one had done it for the iPhone 6 yet, so no one in the world would be able to recover data. They suggested I call and check again in a few months. Is this true?

One Answer

What matters most is the the motherboard and its components are in a good state, anything around (battery, screen, cameras, etc) can be replaced without touching the encryption chain. If it is broken (solder, contacts, etc), then you'll need to rebuild the chain; which is possible (check with harddrive recovery companies); if components are broken, you still can recover the chain with specialized services (using microscopes, white room and microelectronics) to get the AES key (I think hard coded/stored in the SoC/CPU if not in a security chip), and then I think only the memory chip is needed (which does not store the key).

If you can show a photograph of the motherboard instead of the screen, one might be able to tell more about the actual situation.

Answered by Soleil - Mathieu Prévot on December 23, 2020

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