iOS Powered-Off Tracking

Author: Mitchell Kajzer


Beginning with the iPhone 11, Apple introduced the U1 chip. This chip utilizes short-range, low-energy, wireless communications protocol. The U1 chip provides highly accurate spatial and directional data, enabling phones (and items such as AirTags) to be tracked with high precision. The U1 chip also maintains power and connectivity, even if a device is in Airplane Mode or completely powered off. This allows for offline tracking of devices equipped with the U1 chip. Does this allow for offline wiping of an iOS device?

In this talk by CIRE Director Mitch Kaizer, the implications of the “always on” U1 chip are discussed. Specifically, what are the tracking capabilities? Can the chip be turned off? When a device is in a powered-down state, will the U1 chip accept commands, such as a wipe command? Through extensive testing, and wiping, current best practices for digital evidence handling were discussed. Click here to view the presentation.