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iOS Erase

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Enterprise mobile security smackdown: iOS vs. Android vs. Windows
Contributor(s): Lisa Phifer

iOS Erase is a feature that obliterates everything stored in the iOS encrypted file system’s user partition. All user partition contents – including contacts, calendars, device settings, third-party applications, and associated application data – become cryptographically inaccessible. To render contents inaccessible, the Erase API overwrites the encryption keys saved in effaceable storage.

The Erase All Contents and Settings API may be invoked by a local or remote wipe. Users may also choose to manually reset device settings, network settings, keyboard dictionary, home screen layout, or location history. These alternatives simply restore specified settings to factory default without affecting user data or installed applications.

All contemporary Apple devices that run the iOS operating system (i.e., iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TVs) support iOS Erase.

This was last updated in January 2013

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