Friday, May 20, 2011

When Things Go Wrong - a work around for finding deleted files on an iPad

Our AIMS Technology list just carried an interesting question and answer that I have gained permission to share here.

The question was, Does anyone know how to recover data (e.g. Dragon Dictation or Notes) that have been deleted on an iPad?

Stephen Monn replied:

I think you may be disappointed to find that files deleted on an iOS device are actually deleted. The lack of a true file system in iOS makes finding things difficult but not impossible. Mounting a iOS device will only show you the media area files. To see application files the best tool I have found is iPhone Explorer which is available for both Windows and OS X.

Connect your iOS device and start iPhone Explorer and you will see the device in the window with two main folders, Apps and Media. Media has the songs, photos books, etc. In the Apps folder you will find a folder for each app which contains that apps' files including data files. If your files do still exist on that device this is where you will find them.

You will have to scan the apps carefully as they are not in order alphabetically by name and cannot be sorted.

Later, when responding to my request to post his response, he added:

When using iPhone Explorer to move files onto an iOS device they may not show up immediately and you may have to use the import icon to pull them from the iTunes synch area as in Pages on the iPad. Other apps will show you the file immediately, Good Reader, for example. These are the things we must tolerate on a device that has no file system or many file systems, depending on your view. It is still so much better than the steps needed to do similar things on my old Treo.

So thanks to Stephen, we have a way forward if we're looking for lost files. I'm interested in other solutions from anyone with similar experiences.

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