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How are Android and iPhone Data Recovery Different?

As encryption standards have become the norm for mobile devices, data recovery for Android and iPhone have become similar.


In the world of mobile phones, most consumers have a preference. Some are hardcore Android users and have been since the late 2000s. Others are diehard Apple fans and are waiting for the latest model of the iPhone to debut with new features. While a smartphone may seem to have the same general components that make it run, Android and iPhone data recovery procedures are very different.

Android Data Recovery

There are several main components inside of an Android device that allow it to function. While each Android model of phone is a little different depending on the brand and design, most devices will have the following.

    • CPU (Central Processing Unit): this unit controls all the functions on the phone and its performance is measured by how many tasks it can complete in one cycle.
    • Processor: this modem is a separate chip that communicates with the main processor. It uses radio control functions for encoding and frequency shifting to maintain 4G and LTE.
    • Memory: mobile phones have both RAM memory, which holds data temporarily and ROM memory, which holds information long term after the device has been shut off. Many times they are installed together as a multi-chip package.
    • SD Card: this flash memory stores data in blocks and many cards are part of the NAND memory chip.

These are the components that are most important during the data recovery process. Most phones can be temporarily fixed so files can be recovered by restoring data or power lines which have been affected by a blown capacitor, corrosion on contact points in a chip, or general chip failure.

In order to restore communication between chips and components, engineers must find working parts to replace the broken lines so the phone can be turned on and files can be recovered. They use advanced proprietary tools that have to be altered to recover data from that individual case. One of our data recovery engineers, Blake Revels, explained, “As a general rule, galaxy phones starting with the galaxy s7 (Android 6) are encrypted. Previous models starting from the galaxy s6 edge and older can usually be recovered by removing the memory and imaging it.” 

Most Android mobile devices use an eMMC chip which includes the NAND memory chip and CPU controller. If the controller fails, then the chip is considered dead. However, our engineers can effectively bypass the controller and read the NAND memory directly to create an image and recover the data.

iPhone Data Recovery

iPhones have many of the same pieces that an Android device does including an application processor, wi-fi chip, flash memory, and modem. Revels said, “iPhones had full disk encryption starting with the iPhone 3GS. So the real difference between Android and iPhone data recovery is the recovery method used to extract the data, but in recent years it’s a similar process because everything is encrypted.”

However, the difference is how the memory and controller chips present themselves. An Apple mobile device has a NAND memory chip which acts as the processor and houses the CPU, RAM, and encryption key. The encryption means the NAND chip cannot be read individually. Our engineers have found a way to transplant the processor and NAND chip into a working iPhone and connect the logic board to a computer, where data can then be extracted. 

iPhones generally have similar configurations within, making it easier for engineers to recover from because the schematics are available for reference. Android phones, on the other hand, come in many makes and models, and our engineers must work with the R&D departments to find new recovery methods.

Recovery is Necessary for all Smartphones

No matter what type of phone you have, there is a chance that the lines of communication between the controller and memory chips can become damaged in a variety of ways:

Logical Failure

  • Operating system failure
  • Forgotten Password
  • Deleted Data

Physical Failure

  • Liquid damage
  • Mechanical damage
  • No power due to failed logic board 
  • Device powers on without image or touch response

When this occurs, you need a data recovery professional who has a history of success with both iPhones and Android devices. Our engineers are constantly working to find the most innovative recovery methods for all mobile devices. We have been able to recover data from controller chips in phones when other companies have written the case off as unrecoverable and have an overall 96% success rate. Call 1-800-388-1266 to start your mobile phone recovery case today.

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