Monday, February 16, 2009

Saving the data on an iPhone in Recovery Mode


I'm posting this because I couldn't find this information succinctly produced in any corner of the web and I wanted people who had the same problem to have a place to go to find answers.

Here's the scenario. A loved one drops their 1st gen iPhone into a body of water (sink/tub/toilet/lake) and, effectively, bricks it. When it dries out enough to boot back up it goes into Recovery Mode and asks you to plug it into iTunes so it can be reimaged and reset to the factory defaults erasing all the data on the phone in the process. Normally this is no big deal, assuming of course the phone has been sync'd recently.

What if it hasn't? What if there's precious data on there like pictures of your children that your wife took and loves dearly that she never backed up off the phone for whatever reason?

You, my friend, have a problem.

If you search the web for "iPhone recovery mode save data" or whatever you're going to get back a pile of results that basically say stuff like "take it to the Apple Store and let a Genius look at it". When you do that, they'll tell you you're hosed, but of course they'll be cool about it and you'll have the opportunity to buy some stuff while you wait in line to talk to them.

You can also call a data recovery service. They can bust open your iPhone and try to extract the media from its memory for the low low price of ~$900+. Generally speaking, that's not going to be an option for almost anyone.

Shouldn't a hacker have had this problem and solved it by now?

As a matter of fact, at least one has. If you find yourself in this situation and you want to be all heroic and stuff then go get yourself ZiPhone. Among the tricks it can perform on your iPhone is the extremely handy trick of taking it out of Recovery Mode and back to Normal Mode. Just launch ZiPhone and select the "Reboot in Normal Mode" option from the menu bar. Once you've done that you can just sync the phone as normal and save off all your data. Once you've done that you can then turn to your wife and receive your accolades and just desserts.

Anyway, I hope someone finds this post more helpful than the usual pile of useless results Google returns on the topic.

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44 Comments:

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Rafal said...

H@x0rz... ftw. Very nicely done. If I had an iPhone I would totally be all over that.

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger alan said...

Marty - I have had this happen to me (well not getting it wet). Thanks for the tip!

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger omarytaina said...

How much time it takes to switch from recovery to normal mode? I followed the steps(in ziphone 3.0 chose change mode and select normal mode, right?) but I dont know if Im doing well. Lot of pictures of my daughters that I dont want to be lost!! My I phone screen apppears in recovery mode an after several minutes it turns off. Please Help!!
omarmanfredy@gmail.com

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also have a water damaged iphone which i'm trying to recover data.
Tried Ziphone but it won't find the iphone, any suggestions?

 
At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou!

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Hiro said...

The application doesn't detect the iphone !!

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger Phil said...

i followed the instructions but ziphone doesnt seem to connect to my iphone, any idea why? niall86@hotmail.com

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger czar said...

Im using it but it's stuck on searching for the iphone. Could this because it's 3GS?

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Martin Roesch said...

If it's not detecting your phone it may be related to the model that you have. You can check the ZiPhone website and see if there are any new versions of the software available. I didn't write it so check with them!

 
At 2:34 AM, Blogger Charine's parents said...

It appears the Ziphone app is no longer available from the hyperlink of your blog. Where else can I download it? Our 1st generation iPhone is stuck in the Recovery mode (the white USB pointing to iTune) and it contains a lot of pictures of our child. Any help will be greatly appreciate!

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Martin Roesch said...

Try http://download.ziphone.org/, that should work.

 
At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am having the same problem, but I did not drop it in water. It occurred during a phone update. I have all our sons photos and videos on there and I am sick thinking I might lose them. Has this Ziphone worked for anyone?

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger Jae Woo said...

my iphone is in booting loop which the apple logo comes out and be like that forever for real

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous PW said...

Also try TinyUmbrella at thefirmwareumbrella.blogspot.com. I have a iPhone 3GS that went into recovery mode. ZiPhone did not fix it, but TinyUmbrella did. Just install TinyUmbrella, hook up the iPhone to USB, and click Exit Recovery. I used version 4.21.02. It worked extremely well. I can now use my phone again and can get all my photos and videos. Whew. Amazing. Thank you TinyUmbrella!!!

 
At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! Thank you thank you thank you thank you! Im going to upload EVERYTHING right now to a backup disc. Felt sick when I saw recovery mode on my iPhone. I cant thank you enough!

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just used the Tiny Umbrella and it worked within seconds. Got rid of the error message and let me back everything up in case it happens again. I am sooo happy. (Using an iPhone 3GS0.) Comment posted on March 6, 2010

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger 3D Daddy said...

Perhaps you would consider retitling this post? It doesn't tell you how to "save data on a iphone in recovery mode", it tells you how to get an iphone out of recovery mode and then save the data.

The important difference is that if you have an iphone with a boot problem that is stuck in recovery mode or in a boot loop, you *can't* get to the data!

At least until someone works out how to access data in DFU or recovery mode. When that happens, please post about it!

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Martin Roesch said...

I made the title the way I did so it would show up in Google searches easily. The title is the approximate search I used (unsuccessfully) when I was trying to solve the problem originally!

If you're in a boot loop or otherwise unable to get the phone to boot in a semi-stable then you've got a problem that I haven't had to solve (yet).

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Deepa said...

Hello Mr. Roesch, Thank you for your post. As you mentioned nothing else was of much use until i happened upon your post. your information along with another user's comments (tinyunmbrella) helped me recover pictures that i had given up for lost after my phone went into recovery mode!
Thank you.

 
At 8:38 PM, Anonymous YePhIcK said...

This is indeed the *ONLY* useful page I have found on the net about the problem of recovering date from an iPhone that is in a recovery mode with no reasonably recent backup made.
I have a 3GS and though the ZiPhone didn't work the posted later comment that suggested TinyAmbrella worked like a charm! It's pure magic, but I have all my data back (despite Apple's "genius" guy who was pretty adamant about my data being lost). Don't even know why I bothered going to an Apple Store since I knew up-front what there "help" would be.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger RiceEatingZR1 said...

My Phone will only boot up into a recovery mode how do I use ZIPHONE and recover pictures?

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger Martin Roesch said...

Try reading this blog post and follow the directions?

 
At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried both ZiPhone and TinyUmbrella and neither has been successful for me-so I wanted to see if you have any additional tips. For ZiPhone, I tried clicking the "Do It All" button and it looks like its working but it takes to long and my iPhone disconnects itself from the computer. As for Tiny Umbrella, when I click "Exit Recovery," my iPhone gets the Apple screen as though its rebooting but then goes blank again. Any additional tips for me? Am I doing something wrong? I have a 3GS and got into this situation after an update.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Martin Roesch said...

If neither of those work I'm afraid you're probably out of luck. I don't have any deeper insight into this than just using the tools, I haven't had any time to do significant iPhone hacking myself.

 
At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. ZiPhone couldn't detect my phone but TinyUmbrella worked in seconds.

 
At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tiny Umbrella worked so well that I donated to the guy. Got my pictures back...

 
At 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you.... Tiny umbrella worked and I am now backing up all my data :-)

 
At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Yosh said...

This is a very well written article. However, this method didn't work for my iPad. ZiPhone, unsurprisingly, only works on iPhones.

If you are looking to kick your iPad out of recovery mode like me, TinyUmbrella is what you need

 
At 1:42 PM, Anonymous DJ said...

i have a 3gs running Os3.1.3....
The phone recently "bricked" and it only shows the apple logo for maybe 10 seconds and goes off.
Reading the posts and i am still not sure what to do, any help will be greatly appreciated!
Thank you, DJ.....

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My iphone 4g is stuck in boot screen so i downloaded this and it just keeps saying searching when i try to switch it back to normal so if anyone can help...

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!
Tiny Umbrella worked perfectly on IPhone 3S.
It was a life saver.
I even gave a donation to Tiny Umbrella.

 
At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what must I say, but I want to thank a lot to someone who pointed out the TinyUmbrella!

it just works flawlessly.

I thought I had lost all of my files..

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I connected my iPhone 4 to iTunes for a software upgrade. My iPhone got reimaged and all the photo, video, contacts were erased.

Can I recover the information, once the iPhone has been reimaged?

Thanks,
Tony

 
At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if your i phone goes into recovery mode TinyUmbrella will fix it for sure 100% recommended(it will save all your info.

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger mohd ali ismail said...

I have my phone bricked because I had it upgraded to iOS 5.1 and whichever which way I tried it stays adamant on recovery mode. I don't want to lose the apps that I have bought and all other datas in the phone which are important to me.
I bought anunlocked membership plan but I think I have been duped. Can anybody help!

 
At 12:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TinyUmbrella...It worked!!!!!! thank you! thank you! I just did it, and worked like magic.

 
At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Sara said...

Thank you so much! Tinyumbrella was very helpful! My iphone 4s's screen appeared in recovery mode after the update. I didn't know what to do! But thanks to you guys i was able to get back my pics!

 
At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Shelby said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I know just enough about technology in general that I can break it but not fix it. This article (and the comments - thank you, dear commenters!) actually just saved my ass, and all my pictures!

 
At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!!!! The guy at the apple store told me my data was lost and told me some guy may be able to fix it for $400-1200! i came home and found your blog and i am forever thankful. I thought I lost all my videos of my kids and I was in tears. I can't thank you enough :) needless to say I am backing up my phone twice a month from now on!

 
At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Chaajo said...

Hi. So will that program, which you suggested, save most of the phone data on recovery mode even if the phone is in a booting loop?
What made this phone go on recovery mode is that I did a software update yesterday but now I'm trying to put a stop to it.
Martin what do you think?

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger Kotie said...

Thank you soooo much!

I just returned from a month working/holiday in China. I took photos of all the catalogs and business cards that weigh too much to bring back with me.

I got an error early in my trip that I couldn't backup to the cloud because I was out of backup space - NO BACKUP!

Today, while I was busy to sync my phone with iTunes I removed it without checking if it was finished. when I put it back again I thought my phone needed to be charged when it went black but when I check again I got that error!

A very expensive trip with a lot of very important information and fun photos would've been lost! (If I listened to anything else that I read today!)

WOW!! Thanks so much!!

Kotie
South Africa
(TinyUmbrella did the trick)

 
At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PW !!! the best damn advice iv heard in my 21 years of life! i have a son and alllll my pictures was so close to being lost forever.... tinyumbrella was a lifesaver for my iphone4. thank you a million times overrrrr..omg i was almost in tears when this stupid phone went in recovery mode!

 
At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Daniel said...

Anyone tried TinyUmbrella with an iPhone 5? My phone is stuck in Recovery Mode, and TinyUmbrella kicks it into normal mode without problems, but when it starts up the apple turns into a blank screen and it reboots. After a few reboots it goes back into Recovery Mode again. Tips? I have crucial photos and recordings in there and I NEED to get them out before Restoring :(

 
At 3:45 AM, Anonymous ucuz cep telefonu said...

Nice post with great details. I really appreciate your info. Thanks for sharing.

 

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