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iPhone Bug Means Emails Never Truly Deleted

Gordon Kelly


Two steps forward, one major step back...

This pretty much sums up the week so far for the Apple iPhone, so let's get the bad out of the way first: in something of an embarrassing flaw, it has emerged that iPhone OS 3.0 allows deleted emails to be easily resurrected via Spotlight search. This affects both iPhones and both generations of iPod touch.

It turns out that the indexing system in Spotlight isn't particularly smart when it comes to email, so once it is in there it stays in there. Consequently you can delete an email, still search for it in Spotlght and not only will the email be found, but it can be read through Spotlight in its entirety too. Apple just recently patched an SMS vulnerability and is said to be aware of this latest bug with a fix lined up in iPhone OS 3.1. So paranoid husbands and wives best make the most of it while you can...

In happier news for Cupertino, the LA Times is reporting the iPhone has become the most popular 'camera' on Flickr overtaking the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (EOS 400D in Europe). The iPhone had been in second place for some time now, but it seems the slightly better 3.2MP camera on the iPhone 3GS has helped spur it onto top spot for now.

Lastly, Apple has been kicked from pillar to post recently for its draconian app approval process (we still await Spotify app approval), but following the rather wonderful reMail 2, it has also surprisingly approved 'GPush'. As the name suggests it is an application that allows Push Gmail on the handset (also achievable with the indispensible NeuvaSync). At just 59p, this seems like a must have for iPhone owning Gmail users to me.


Email Bug via Cult of Mac

LA Times

GPush (iTunes link)


August 18, 2009, 4:39 pm

This has already been explained. Spotlight on the iPhone searches email on the servers, if you have left the standard options of 'Keep deleted messages for x amount of time before auto delete', then yes, the mail will still be on the server for a month after you've deleted it allowing spotlight to find it. There are numerous exceptions, provisos, and workarounds with this "problem"...

Would love to link to the explaining article but fear I may not get published if I do.

<sits back and awaits accusations of fanboy-ism>


August 18, 2009, 5:26 pm

@Cub - if you watch all the way into the video the message is deleted from the server, the email client refreshed and the email is still found on the handset by Spotlight.


August 18, 2009, 5:45 pm

*Sits back and raises an eyebrow just to increase the tension in the room*

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