Data Recovery Policies

So you have a dead device and you're thinking of sending it to iPad Rehab to get back those vacation pictures or important business contacts.   Let's go over our data recovery policies to make sure that we are all on the same page regarding the fine print for our service.   Our goal is to be as transparent as possible.   If you still have questions--give us a call at 585 397 4174 or send us a message at

The Beginning--Getting Your Estimate 

Every recovery starts with a formal quote request that captures information from you.  Click "Get Started" at the top of this page.   This form will have you enter your contact information, mailing address, and tell us about your device.  The information you enter here will be transformed into a printable sheet that you will receive when we reply with your quote and instructions.  You'll need to send that sheet with your device so that we can match your device to your ticket at intake.  Anything you tell us about the history of your device and problem here on this form will stay with your device and help the technician.  Think of the technician as your phone's physician--be as detailed as you can.   A phone that stopped working when dropped is completely different than a phone that stopped working when on a charger overnight, or just stopped working in the middle of playing a video.  Little clues from the history can sometimes make or break a difficult recovery.    Once you've submitted the form, our business manager will make sure that your phone is a good candidate, and she will respond by email WITHIN 24 HOURS with your formal estimate and printable info sheet.  If it has been more than 24 hours, something is wrong.  Sometimes emails go to spam, or there was a typo in your captured email address, or something happened.  If you don't hear back from us within 24 hours, give us a call 585 397 4174.

Standard vs Specialty Data Quoting

You will get an estimate for standard data recovery for most dead devices that have never had a prior MICROSOLDERING repair attempt.  We expect that you may open your device to 'see if it's something easy' like a bad battery, dock connector or screen.  However, when someone else tries to fix a non-functional logic board by microsoldering--that erases our clues and introduces variables that makes our job much more difficult, or impossible.  Devices that have had prior microsoldering repair attempts (i.e. the soldered on shields have been removed) are not eligible for standard data recovery.  We will re-quote these as specialty data, or we can send them back as no fix on a reassembly+shipping return device quote (In 2019, that is $30), or we can recycle the device for free.   At our discretion we may waive the standard/specialty data conversion if the microsoldering attempt did not actually complicate our job and it is a still a straightforward recovery.

Some devices are only eligible for specialty data, such as iPhone X, XS/XR/XSMax due to the complexity and cost of working on the split-board style logic board.   For some Android devices we may quote Specialty data, and we may require you to send a working receiver phone for cases that require chip transfer to a receiver board.   As long as you describe your device accurately on the initial contact form there will be no surprises on arrival.   Your estimate email will detail anything we need from you.

Repair vs. Data Recovery.

It is tempting to send a phone that you really want the data from to us on a repair quote.   Wouldn't it be great to get the data, AND get a warrantied working phone, all for a lower price!    Our advice is that if you are really wanting data, then send it on a data recovery quote, and here's why:

We treat data recovery cases differently than repair cases.   On dead devices sent for repair (not recovery), our goal is efficiency.   We are looking for common repairable faults that can be fixed to create a robust working device that we can warranty.   Under our no fix no fee repair model, we can not put extraordinary time into open-ended problems.  We will use software restore (which erases data) to eliminate all software variables on dead devices that are just here for repair.   Not every device will be restored, but if we need to restore to pursue fixing the device on a repair quote it is required, i.e., you can't opt out without incurring a cancelled repair fee. We will not work on any device for repair that we can't warranty, so devices with multiple issues will be declared No Fix.   We will not work on any liquid damaged device on a repair quote, we only address liquid damaged devices on a data recovery quote.   Devices that are sent in for data recovery will go straight to our master technicians, while devices on a repair quote will be serviced by junior technicians.   On the other hand, on a data recovery quote we will leave no stone unturned and always take measures to preserve your data.  While we don't guarantee the long term function of our data phones, if we can send you back a working phone then we will.  If you are really wanting data, send the device on a data recovery quote for the best chance for your data.

Let's Talk About Your Passcode---It's a Big Deal.

When we go to the doctor, we need to take off our underwear.   When you send your phone for data recovery, you need to send the passcode before we can begin work on your device.    We can help you if you aren't exactly sure, but ultimately it is your responsibility to provide the correct passcode. 

There is absolutely no path to data for any device that has full disk encryption by default (most modern smartphones) without the passcode.   Unless you are sending an older Android phone, we can't just read the data from the flash memory chip on the logic board, here's why.  In order to recover your data, we have to cure hardware problems and get your phone to boot again.  This means surgery!  We will operate on your phone under the microscope replacing corroded chips, finding and clearing short circuits, and sometimes applying creative workarounds with Frankenstein wires to inject voltages in elaborate methods of getting your phone to boot.  For some devices, we may only be able to get it to boot ONE TIME.   Once that phone comes up, we need to immediately enter the passcode to decrypt the data and pass a trust handshake to extract your files from the device safely to a computer.   There is nothing worse than working for weeks on a phone just to get it to boot once and find that someone put "NONE" on the passcode sheet because they were uncomfortable giving us their passcode.   Don't be "that guy!" 

We will bill for successful data recovery if we can get a PATH to data, even if you don't have the correct passcode.  If the wrong passcode is entered too many times, a recoverable device can become permanently disabled, at which point there is no feasible way to recover the data.   If you are unable to provide the correct passcode and the device becomes disabled, or if the device was only able to boot once and you did not give us the correct passcode, that does not negate the work that we put into bring the device back to a recoverable state with a path to data.   We can not qualify a device as 'not recoverable' under no data no fee because of wrong passcode.  

Passcode Policies:

I know the passcode, but I don't want to tell you:  If you don't give us a passcode, we won't work on the device. 

I Really Don't Know the Passcode.  Don't send the device.  

Not Sure About Passcode.  We understand that sometimes you might not be sure about the correct passcode, that's okay. 
If your submitted passcode doesn't work, then we will confirm that this is your device and show you that we have a path to data with a picture of your lockscreen.  Once your invoice is paid, the extraction team will work with you to try three additional possible passcodes.   If none of those work, then we will work with you on a case by case basis to send the device back to you in a state where you can continue to try passcodes.  Sometimes muscle memory and seeing the lock screen will help you remember the passcode on a device that hasn't been working for years. We may need you to purchase parts or a donor device in order to be able to send the phone back to you in a condition where you can attempt to unlock the device.  We can't guarantee that a phone that we can boot in house will be able to boot once it leaves our facility. 

Why Do You Need My Apple ID/Password?

The reason we ask is because Apple ID/Password are sometimes required IF you have set up your device in the past to have ENCRYPTED backups by default.  Encrypted backups can not be accessed to parse usable information, like contacts, messages, voice memos, etc without the encryption password.  Most people don't know the encryption password, so we can reset the encryption password with the Apple ID/Password.  We also ask for Apple ID/Password for our recycling policy.  In order to recycle electronics including using devices for repair training purposes, our legal team requires us to have Apple ID/Password to clear the device from any iCloud account.  This is the same when you go to the Apple Store--devices must be removed from iCloud.  We ask for Apple ID/Password on all devices just so that we can efficiently process recycling for the many devices that people don't want returned to them, or choose to donate to our training program after recovery.   We understand that Apple ID/Password is personal data that you may choose to withhold. 

If you choose not to provide Apple ID/Password:
We can still work with the device, it will just not be eligible for our recycling program and you may have to pay for reassembly/shipping to have it returned to you.
If you have any encrypted backup you will not be eligible for data parsing--we will just deliver the encrypted backup. 

Sending the Device In:
Once you have received your estimate from us, then simply follow the mailing instructions to send the device to our facility.   Devices that show up without our pre-filled printable estimate are a hardship and there is no guarantee that we will be able to process your device at all. 

Who pays for shipping?
You do.   There is no such thing as "free" shipping, and we choose to have customers choose and pay shipping so that we can keep our No Data No Fee blanket policy---if we can't recover the device, no matter how many hours of time and replacement chip costs went into your case--- we can recycle it for you and you owe us nothing.   We recommend shipping your device in a flat rate USPS priority mailing box.   Do not include any accessories/boxes that you want returned with the device.  Our local USPS, UPS, and FedEx mail carriers have access to our secure locked drop off location.  Sending devices signature required can create delay, but does offer an additional level of security during transit.

What Happens on Arrival?

We will process your device within one business day of arrival at iPad Rehab.  You will receive an email with a "Hey we received it" message.  If there is any missing information or question at intake, we will contact you by email on your ticket.  The condition of your device will be recorded and your screen, housing, and logic board will be labeled and boxed.  For law enforcement cases, we will capture a chain of custody with photos and store the device in a dedicated safe.  Please do not send accessories, special boxes, or extras--these are difficult to keep with the device as it moves in secure containers through our system.  Expect that anything extra sent with your device will not be returned.

Turnaround Times:  Rush Service vs Standard:   
Over 80% of the devices we see are recovered the first time they come up for repair, or are deemed unrecoverable.  The remaining 20% can stay with us for months or even years as we continue to reverse engineer these devices, group unicorn problems into sets of similar presentations, and develop new tools and equipment to clear technical hurdles.
We do offer rush service for a non-refundable rush fee.   The rush fee is simply a charge to jump the queue and have your device looked at right away.  Rush fee does not make your device 'more likely to be recovered'   Rush is simply a 'get started now' fee and is independent of your data recovery service.  Because most cases are recovered at the first session under the microscope, many rush cases will get recovered within days of arrival.  However, if your RUSH case is not recoverable or a difficult problem that is not solved in the initial repair session then the rush fee is not refunded.  Rush fee is just buying a front of the line pass.

Standard queue can vary in length.  During data high season it may take 6-8 weeks for your device to make it to the front of the queue, other times it may only be three or four weeks.  Most devices (80%) are recovered on the first session under the microscope.  If your is not recovered when it first comes up for repair, then the technician will continue to circle back to your device indefinitely until either 1--We make a breakthrough to solve the case and it is recovered.   2--The technician discovers a data dealbreaker and deems the device unrecoverable.    

Will I get regular updates from the technician? 
Not unless there is some news.  To keep our technicians focused on doing their work under the microscope, you will only hear from the technician if there is a problem and they need information, or if the device is recovered, or if the device is deemed not recoverable.  At any other point in time after your device comes up for repair, your update is "we are trying to figure out how to get your device to boot, we are grouping it with others that have similar physical or electrical presentations and history.  We will continue to do everything we can to figure it out, but we can't predict whether or not, or when, we will be able solve your case."

What if you want to cancel a repair/recovery in progress?
You can always cancel at any time, and request your device back as no fix.   A cancelled repair fee ($49) will apply to any device that has received our investment of administrative and technician time plus chip costs but has not been deemed 'not recoverable or no fix' by the technician.  For difficult cases, you can request a "last look' if you'd like to have the technician take one more stab at it and then declare it no fix if not recovered.   If the device has not yet come up for repair, there is no cancellation fee.  No Fix Options will apply--see below.

No Data, No Fee.  What happens if my device is not recoverable?   

"No Fix" Options:  If we deem your device not recoverable with today's technology then you can simply opt to have us recycle what is left of your device and you owe us nothing for the time and materials that went into your device.   After a device is deemed No Fix or not recoverable, we end our no fee investment of time and energy into the device.  If you'd prefer us not to recycle the dead device, and you'd like us to put time into processing the device for return to you, we will send an invoice for safe reassembly and return shipping (~$30) and you will receive a tracking number once paid and the device will ship home.   

How will I know if my data is recovered?
Once we get your phone to boot we will send you an email about your recovery and an invoice for Successful Data as soon as we have a path to data.  We will wait for payment of the invoice to continue with data extraction and parsing.

Data Parsing:  

Data Delivery:



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