iPhone Spy Stick Review

iphone-spy-data-recovery-stickThe iPhone Spy Stick, $199.00,  is the first USB stick that captures information from an iPhone running 3.2.1. and earlier. The system uses a USB flash drive and a cable that plugs into the iPhone and your computer to extract information. The device isn’t designed to be covert but can easily pass for a standard USB flash drive and replacement iPhone cable.

At first glance, the device looks like a regular USB flash drive and iPhone cable, but after being told that these things are actually high tech forensics tools,  I was really excited to try it out on my old iPhone and see what I could find.

What’s in the Box

The iPhone Spy Stick consists of a USB flash drive a USB cable. The USB flash drives has the iPhone Spy Stick program on it and the cable is for connecting your iPhone to your computer.

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Design

The iPhone Spy Stick is designed to look like an ordinary USB flash drive with a cap to keep the inside protected from dust and accidental damage. There is also a USB cable that attaches the iPhone to the computer. The USB cable isn’t the standard cable that comes with the iPhone, but it does look like many replacement iPhone cables I’ve seen. Both the USB cable and the USB flash drive wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention because they booth look like standard accessories.

Set-up

Setting up the iPhone Spy Stick is as simple as plugging in the iPhone Spy Stick into the USB flash drive into the computer and using the USB cable to attach the iPhone to the computer. From here all I had to do was go to the My Computer folder and open up the contents of the USB flash drive. Within this folder is the iRecoveryStick icon. After clicking on the  icon the installation process began and took a few minutes to install.

After installation, the iPhone Spy Stick program opened up and gave me three options and some installation instructions. The three options are Start Recovery, Open Workspace, and Start Import from iTunes Backup. The directions were pretty clear so I chose Start Recovery to start downloading information from my iPhone. From this point I waited about 15 minutes for all of the iPhone’s data to get extracted.

Using it

Once the data was exported from the iPhone, looking over the gathered information was extremely simple and straightforward. On the left side of the program is the Acquired Data menu which gave me the option of viewing:

  • Messages
  • Contacts
  • Call history
  • Graphics
  • Organizer
  • Internet Data
  • Recovered Data
  • Other Data

From here I clicked through the categories to see just what the iPhone Spy Stick had found. I found I had my entire phonebook copied onto my PC, and decided I’d be productive and save it just in case something were to happen to my phone. I then clicked over to the Recovered Data section to look over deleted phonebook contacts. Found some numbers that I happily deleted and was happy to get back the phone number of a distant friends who’s number I accidentally deleted a while ago.

Being in the Recovered Data section I could view all the photos from my phone that I had stored.  I then navigated to the Maps History section and was pretty shocked of how good the location information was. I figured it would say something along the lines of what city or state I had been to. But in fact the location was so specific that I got the exact GPS data like longitude and latitude.

I then proceeded to check out the texting and calling history.  It gave me the exact time, date, phone number dialed, missed, or received and even showed how long each phone call lasted. As for the text messages I got to see all the details of the text and exactly what was said. When looking to check up on your phone and text message usage this was even better than having the phone bill in hand.

The Good

  • Easy-to-use and navigate
  • Device is small, portable, and doesn’t draw any attention to itself
  • Not only brings up the current data, but some deleted information (like calls and text messages) as well
  • Great for extracting data from both, the iPhone and the iTunes backup data as well

The Bad

  • Only works on the iOS 3.2.1 and earlier. Although, the update for iPhone 4 is to be released in October 2010
  • The USB flash drive has the logo on it which might draw some attention, but can simply be covered up with a sticker
  • Only restores recent data that hasn’t been overwritten yet. This is just the way memory cards and technology works and nothing can be done about it.

Conclusion

After trying out the iPhone Spy Stick I was pleasantly surprised by how such powerful forensic tools could be stored on a simple USB flash drive and extract all of the iPhone’s data so fast.

I also really liked the simple and straightforward installation process and easy to use software interface that made it really simple to find what I was looking for. Overall, this is a a great product for getting information out of the iPhone and even looking up deleted data. The only downside to the product is that it doesn’t yet work on the iPhone 4, but an updated patch should be coming out this October.

About the author  ⁄ BrickHouse Security

BrickHouse Security is the industry's premier supplier of security and surveillance solutions. As a recognized authority in GPS tracking, hidden cameras, cell phone/PC monitoring, video surveillance and counter surveillance, we help our customers use technology to get the clarity they need. We proudly serve consumers, businesses of all sizes and the law enforcement community. When you need to know, BrickHouse has the answers.

  • Couture30

    So how recent is “recent data” exactly (that it is able to recover?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      It’s hard to say but it’s usually whatever hasn’t been overwritten.

  • Couture30

    So how recent is “recent data” exactly (that it is able to recover?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      It's hard to say but it's usually whatever hasn't been overwritten.

  • Fset182

    so if the phone have been reformatted you cant get the data back ?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      Hi,

      That most likely would be true. There is a chance that some small pieces of the data might still be left, but most of the data would be gone after reformatting.

  • Fset182

    so if the phone have been reformatted you cant get the data back ?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      Hi,That most likely would be true. There is a chance that some small pieces of the data might still be left, but most of the data would be gone after reformatting.

  • MaggieSimone

    Does it work for iphone4 yet?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      Hey MaggieSimone,

      Yes, the iPhone Spy Stick now works with all versions of the iPhone, including the iPhone 4

  • MaggieSimone

    Does it work for iphone4 yet?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      Hey MaggieSimone,Yes, the iPhone Spy Stick now works with all versions of the iPhone, including the iPhone 4

  • Chen

    Hi, Can I read the deleted text messages (emails, not SMS) in another languages, like Chinese, Japanese, Korean on this application?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      Hi Chen,

      The iPhone Spy Stick wouldn’t be able to get e-mail data from the iPhone at all. It would only recover data that’s saved on the iPhone’s memory.

  • Chen

    Hi, Can I read the deleted text messages (emails, not SMS) in another languages, like Chinese, Japanese, Korean on this application?

    • http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com brickhousesecurity

      Hi Chen,The iPhone Spy Stick wouldn't be able to get e-mail data from the iPhone at all. It would only recover data that's saved on the iPhone's memory.

  • Kai398

    can you view photos that were sent via text message if the photo was not actually saved in the photo library?

  • Kai398

    can you view photos that were sent via text message if the photo was not actually saved in the photo library?

  • Beebip

    If i buy today, do you know how long to arrive in Brasil the product?

  • Beebip

    If i buy today, do you know how long to arrive in Brasil the product?

  • Dee

    I purchased the I-phone recovery stick. Although I have recovered a lot of information, there is 1 piece of info that I cannot recover – text messages sent to and received from 1 specific number. Do you have any idea why I cannot retrieve these messages. Thanks for your anticipated response.

    • Karla

      The iRecovery stick will pull all the deleted information that is still on the iPhone. If it is not showing in the Recovered Data section then the data has been completely overwritten and no longer exists. This can happen quite a few way as Apple products randomly select files of the same size to overwrite, regardless of how long ago they have been deleted, this is why you can sometimes get messages from over a year ago but nothing from the day before. Also the less time a message is on the phone before being deleted, the faster it will be overwritten. This can happen as fast as 4/10′s of a second according to Apple. Any other product will get you the same or even less in most circumstances.

  • Dee

    I purchased the I-phone recovery stick. Although I have recovered a lot of information, there is 1 piece of info that I cannot recover – text messages sent to and received from 1 specific number. Do you have any idea why I cannot retrieve these messages. Thanks for your anticipated response.

    • Karla

      The iRecovery stick will pull all the deleted information that is still on the iPhone. If it is not showing in the Recovered Data section then the data has been completely overwritten and no longer exists. This can happen quite a few way as Apple products randomly select files of the same size to overwrite, regardless of how long ago they have been deleted, this is why you can sometimes get messages from over a year ago but nothing from the day before. Also the less time a message is on the phone before being deleted, the faster it will be overwritten. This can happen as fast as 4/10′s of a second according to Apple. Any other product will get you the same or even less in most circumstances.

  • Slj390

    does it recover the web history?

    • MLadyEsq

      When I look under the Multimedia category, it gives me a lot of tabs along the top of the screen reading: Safari History, Cookies, Cookies … Safari Suspend State, Cookies, … When I click onto the Safari History – there is no information. So, I guess the answer is no.

    • Stan Shyshkin

      It does recover Web history. The spy stick recovers the following things:
      # Deleted Data Recovery
      # SMS Messages
      # Contacts
      # Call History
      # Graphics/Photos
      # Dynamic Text Data
      # Voice Memos
      # Internet History
      # Map History
      # Calendar Reminders
      # Phone Properties

  • Slj390

    does it recover the web history?

    • MLadyEsq

      When I look under the Multimedia category, it gives me a lot of tabs along the top of the screen reading: Safari History, Cookies, Cookies … Safari Suspend State, Cookies, … When I click onto the Safari History – there is no information. So, I guess the answer is no.

  • Dave

    I just purchased and haven’t used it yet. Most of my messages are iMessages can it recover iMessages or just text. And can I recover deleted information withouth ever backing up my phone?