I’ve been on something of an e-discovery crusade for the last few years. No, not my Quixotic, decade-long, “Native Production is More Utile and Efficient” crusade. This is the other, later-but-just-as-frustrating crusade I call, “Mobile to the Mainstream.” It’s a relentless, battleship-banging effort to foster recognition that mobile devices and their online information ecosystems are the most important sources of probative electronic evidence we have today. Unless privileged, mobile evidence should be routinely preserved and produced in mainstream electronic discovery. Honestly, shouldn’t that be obvious to even the most casual observer of modern life?
That mobile evidence is routinely ignored in civil matters by counsel, government and industry is troubling, and defended–if defended at all–by pointing to the alleged burden and technical “forensic-ness” of marshalling phone content. I’ve countered with articles showing the ease with which iPhone content can be preserved, extracted and searched–at little to no cost and, crucially, without separating custodians from their devices. The “trick” for Apple iOS devices was exploiting iTunes, and it was a good trick because iTunes is free, easy to use and supported by Apple on both Mac and Windows platforms around the world.
Then, Apple lately announced it was doing away with iTunes. ARRRRGGHHH! 😱😖😭
But, no worries, the iPhone backup methodology I’ve put forward is still going to work after Apple releases the new Catalina operating system and cleaves iTunes into dedicated apps for music, podcasts and TV. In fact, preserving iPhones may be easier for Mac users as Apple is shifting the backup tool into the Finder app. You’ll do exactly the same thing I wrote about but Mac users with Catalina won’t even need to use iTunes to preserve mobile evidence. It’ll be built in.
From what I understand, Windows users will still have an app for the task, probably iTunes for the foreseeable future. So, I’m relieved to know that the “demise” of iTunes won’t be a barrier to simple, scalable preservation of iPhone content. Things may even get a little easier.