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An iPhone "Kernel Panic" Creates a Panic

With the total number of Smartphones nearing 1 billion worldwide, failures and the potential loss of data are inevitable.

Recently, a frantic customer called us from the Midwest to recover data from an iPhone 4s. The phone contained the last videos taken of her mother before she passed away, and it had become disabled after an incomplete software update.

In tears, the woman explained her predicament to our data recovery advisor and after receiving assurances that there was an excellent chance for recovery, she sent the iPhone to DriveSavers.

Upon initial evaluation, our engineers found no sign that the videos had survived the failure. When powering on the phone, a message appeared on the screen and encouraged the user to connect to iTunes. Unfortunately, this did not provide a solution to the problem.

As the recovery efforts progressed, our engineers learned that the iPhone was stuck in “Recovery” mode and that the old operating system was disabled due to a “kernel panic”. A “kernel panic” refers to the operating system’s action to an unsolvable, fatal error.

While the kernel panic disabled the OS, the data remained on the phone and proved to be recoverable using DriveSavers proprietary tools and techniques.

Making the list of recovered files was the phone’s entire dataset, including the emotionally charged videos, more than 1,000 pictures, text messages, the address book, calendar and voicemails.

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