Person Buys a ‘New’ iPhone, Ends up Getting a Unit With Personal Data Already on it

When you get rid of a phone, or any piece of technology really, resetting it completely should be step one in the process. But sometimes that doesn’t happen, and in a worst-case scenario that phone can get back out int the world. Which appears to be the case in one new story.

Stuff has the story this week. Glen Cottle lives in New Zealand and visited a Smith’s City store in Timaru to buy a new iPhone. The device was sealed and ready to go, as one might expect, but when Cottle turned the phone on and started using it he discovered it wasn’t so fresh. Specifically, there was still data on the handset including voice messages from the previous owner’s daughter, health data, bank information, and flight info as well.

However, while a previous owner is suggested, it’s possible that’s not the case, as pointed out by Apple Insider on Thursday. It’s likely that the handset was a demo unit at some point in its lifecycle, with hints on the device pointing to that possibility. That includes a note in the Noes app talking about a trip up Big Sur in California. Apple’s marketing leans into its California roots, even in international markets.

For Cottle to be able to use the phone, especially if it was previously owned, suggests the handset wasn’t secured by a passcode or through Face ID. That could also lean into the idea that it’s a demo unit.

Whatever the situation is, whether it’s a demo unit resealed or a previously-owned handset that had the same treatment, it’s imperative to remember to completely wipe a handset you plan on selling.

[via AppleInsider; Stuff]