iOS Saves SMS Attachments Even After You Delete Them; Potentially Harmful for Business SMS — And Personal Texting
After the evasi0n untethered jailbreak tool arrived and iOS 6 opened up, iPhone/iPad users with their devices jailbroken or not have faced a couple of interesting pieces of news including one that makes business SMS texting (not to mention personal…) risky. First, there was the addition of a Radio button, possibly suggesting that Apple is indeed working on an Pandora-like streaming service.
But the second one reported by iClarified readers was more important: iOS is saving your SMS and iMessage attachments even after you delete them.
Indeed, SMS and iMessage attachments are stored by iOS in the /var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments directory.
That makes sense.
What does not make sense is the fact that the attachment remains in the directory after you delete the message. As the blog points out, this has not been the case for other versions of iOS.
To test their theory, they used two devices–one running iOS 6.0 and another one on iOS 6.1–and started sending iMessage attachments.
After examining the aforementioned directory, they could locate the file they had sent to the device running iOS 6.0.
Next, they deleted the attachment from the message history. But after reexamining the attachments directory, the file was still there, even after a reboot!
There’s an interesting side note: The attachments can be accessed directly by those without a jailbroken device, and the documents are backed up to the computer each time you sync.
When performing the same test on iOS 6.1, it was found that Apple has corrected the issue. Still, this remains a major security issue for users running earlier version of iOS, especially for users backing up to iCloud. This could also be a possible explanation for missing free space in your device.
However, there is a fix for that: users with their iPhone unlocked–jailbroken, to be precise–users can delete everything in their attachment directory by executing “rm -R /var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/*” in Mobile Terminal available for free in Cydia, or by using iFile, a $4 shareware app.
As for non-jailbroken users– it may be time for an upgrade, especially for the sake of using business SMS texting — unless you like living on the edge with personal texts as well.
Image credit: Cult of Mac
Written by: Istvan Fekete; Edited by: Mike Crook; Contributed to by: Michael DeLisi