iErase: Zero Free Space by forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski may be the smallest app (the iTunes Store lists it at 0.0 MB in size) available for the iPhone, but it sure does wonders. The app ensures that your deleted data, stays deleted.
Giving frequent assistance to law enforcement on cases involving the iPhone, Zdziarski definitely knows that the tool he created can actually help destroy evidence if it falls into the wrong hands. But the other 99.9% of us law abiding citizens would definitely want their privacy rights protected. This is where iErase comes in.
A simple utility, the application zeroes out the available free space on your iPhone or iPod touch without destructing your content and settings. Since all iPhone apps are required to work within its own sandbox, the only way to achieve this is by creating a temporary file as large as the available free space. Note that the app is very safe as it does not have any capability to remove anything in your device nor do anything beyond its own sandbox.
Why zero out the free space? The reason is simple, deleting a file from the device does not actually remove them per se. The 0s and 1s are still there, but marked by the file system as available for storing other files when needed. Recovery utilities bank on this fact alone to recover deleted files.
Now, one might argue that you could simply create a very large music file, then sync it into your device. True, but would one want to try create an 8 GB file, or 10 GB file? iErase makes this task simple. Another argument would befit those who are concerned about the lifespan of the flash memory used in iPhones. Simply said, running iErase every week for two years straight would only add about 100 additional writes to the iPhone’s storage, which is negligible.
For me, iErase would definitely come in handy when you decide to sell of or pass your device to someone else. Its recommended use suggests that you do a reset of everything on the device, then install the application and let it run its course once. That should practically clear the storage space off anything that is still intact.
iErase uses a very simple (almost none) interface. Starting the app prompts you with a notice and confirmation. It suggests that you set your device’s Auto-Lock to ‘Never’ and to have it connected to a power source as the activity of writing to the storage uses power extensively. Upon clicking on Continue, the app displays a progress bar to show its current activity. I did a run of iErase on my 2G iPod touch (16 GB version) with about 8.5 GB of space free left. The application did everything in about 60 minutes. Note that the time taken is dependant on your device’s speed, the 2G iPod touch is currently the fastest iPhone OS device available. Once done, you’ll see an “Operation Complete” message on the screen. That’s about it.
There are no worries as to receiving a call when the app is running. iErase will pause and continue once your are finished with the call. If you need to do something else while iErase is running, then press the Home button to tell the app to stop and quit.
Overall, iErase is a great tool to have, especially if you store sensitive data on your device and change devices frequently. That being said, the app wipes over deleted data and does not do anything to prevent your live personal data from being seen by other parties, for example when you ‘borrow’ your device to a friend to see what’s inside. I’d still suggest that you set a lock password to your device for added security.
iErase: Zero Free Space is available from the iTunes Store for $2.99 a copy.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 Taps