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Trying To Recover Data From An iPod Touch 4th Gen = Impossible

Posted by wiisixtyfour on November 5, 2011 at 5:00 PM

So recently I've been asked by a friend to recover some photos from an iPod touch 4th generation. The person had forgotten the passcode and gotten locked out of their own iPod. I have read many tutorials and articles on data recovery on iDevices but they mostly say the same thing. "You must restore the iPod and use data recovery software on it" which is a complicated task in and of itself.

So I was hesitant to restore the iPod because that would erase the data from it, so I waited a while. In the end I decided there was no other option and in order to use the iPod it would need a restore anyways. So I restored/updated it and installed iOS5. After this all the guides say it must be jailbroken in order to make a disc image of the iDevice. So I used the latest redsn0w to do the tethered IOS5 jailbreak and it worked like a charm. (I've also improved my skills at putting the iPod in DFU mode.) After this the guides say you need MobileTerminal as well as some nearly-impossible to find utilities. I suppose I should remind you that these guides were made in the days of iOS3 devices, so the software that was available at that time is now much harder to find. So from Cydia I managed to install MobileTerminal, but it didn't work. It turns out that the version on Cydia is an old version and only newer versions work on iOS4+. At this point I was glad I had purchased iFile from my other iPod touch because I could now use it here to install the new MobileTerminal. So I downloaded the most recent version from the google code page and "SSHed" it onto the iPod. Then iFile was able to install it and I was able to run MobileTerminal. You can install it without iFile by doing as follows: Open an SSH Program. Go to /var/root/Media/ and create a Folder Called “Cydia”. Go in to the folder “Cydia” and Create a Folder Called “AutoInstall”. Make sure the names a EXACTLY how they are here. Place the .deb file in this folder. Reboot the iPod and once rebooted, respring your device.That's one problem down.

Next I had to make sure I could use SSH commands from the iPod and the guides say to "ping" your computer which must run an SSH server. So I downloaded some SSH server for Windows and it worked fine (the guides say to use Ubuntu Linux but I didn't want to set that up). Now I couldn't use ping from the iPod because the command wasn't found. So I looked that up and found that you need to install "inetutils" from Cydia. The problem now is that the package is nowhere to be found on Cydia nor the internet. So after some more searching I found that you could use the command apt-get install inetutils from the MobileTerminal to install it. Now I could not use the "apt-get" command. I had to find that in Cydia, but it also wasn't there. I ended up installing a few different APT packages such as "APT 0.6 Transistional" and "APT 0.7" and then somehow it worked. That part was now fine, I now had inetutils and I could ping my computer and SSH to it. So now I ran the command which makes an image from the iPod: dd if=/dev/disk0 | ssh <username>@<computer-IP> ‘dd of=ipod-dump.img’  This didn't work. There was a problem with the directory "/dev/disk0" which made it so it could not be accessed for the dump. So searching around I couldn't really find a solution. Most people suggested using commands from the PC side, but that wouldn't work for me.


After more searching I found out that for newer iOS devices the data stored on them is encrypted. This means that even if I were to get the dump, the files would be unrecoverable and unreadable. Unfortunately there's no way around this so there is nothing that can be done for these devices. So in the end I had to give up on trying to recover the photos.

And that is my story on data recovery from an iPod touch 4th gen.

Categories: iPod, Myself