I accidentally erased an iOS device, an iPod touch running 12.4.8, and the music was not included in the backup (see this thread for why). I tried PhoneRescue and iMazing, which showed only the songs purchased with the Apple ID of the restored backup, not the many songs I had bought directly from the artist or on bandcamp.

If an iOS restore erases the index but does not overwrite the bytes, I would like to scan the hard drive for those files, similar to data recovery tools.

What software scan the iPod hard drive bit by bit for files?

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    An iOS restore erases the old hardware encryption keys & replaces with new. Not even government agencies have got round that one yet.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 13, 2021 at 12:50
  • Thanks @Tetsujin. Can you write an answer that such a recovery is hopeless for iOS 12.4.8?
    – emonigma
    Feb 16, 2021 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


The 'best' thing about iOS is how safe it makes your data. If you lose your data, that becomes the 'worst' thing about iOS.

Government agencies keep trying to crack the encryption & to pwn the device over USB & periodically they manage this, until Apple changes the way it works & locks then out again.
Apps such as iMazing do a great job of being able to look inside the device or examine backups, extracting data from encrypted structures… but they can only do it whilst the encryption keys exist.

Trouble is, once the device is erased, the hardware encryption keys are gone. Pretty much the only thing iOS has to do to wipe your phone is trash those keys. The majority of a recovery is reinstallation.
Once those keys are gone, they're gone. The data is actually all still there at that point, you just have no way to decrypt it. One you complete the restore, of course, you have compounded the issue by overwriting a lot of the old data. Whether it was encrypted or not, that makes the task harder.
No-one yet has managed to unbake this particular cake to get back the flour, eggs & milk.

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