- Nice, clean user interface
- Ability to filter data from iTunes/iCloud backup
- Great customer support via phone and chat
- Creates a temporary but full backup of the iOS device
- Limited usefulness
There are times in life when even a solid mobile operating system such as iOS may act up, and in such moments you may face the pain of losing valuable data on your mobile device. Everything is fine if an iTunes or iCloud backup is at hand, but what about the devices that weren’t ever backed up? UK-based Enigma Digital’s data recovery software is available for both Mac and PC, making it one of the many options that users have in such situations. The company claims it has recovered more than 1 billion items, helping 100,000 users in more than 200 countries. The free version of Enigma Recovery works for 14 days and if you are satisfied with the capabilities of the software, then a lifetime license can be bought for as low as $19.99 – a purchase that is protected by Enigma's 30-day money-back guarantee.
Enigma Digital currently offers two solutions: a desktop application named Enigma Recovery and Enigma Restore, which is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 or later and an equivalent iOS app available for free with iOS 6 or later. The former scours a mobile device for data, while the latter helps users to restore deleted data back onto their iOS device.
The clean and user-friendly GUI (graphical user interface) of Enigma Recovery makes navigation within the app and initiating commands an easy task; the guides are right there within the app, appearing as tips in the main screen. However, a button to close the scan results would truly complete the package, and would be an appreciated addition if the developers were to add it in future releases.
Depending on your needs, Enigma Recovery is able to retrieve data from a connected iOS device or an iTunes or iCloud backup. While the iOS device can be restored from a backup, what separates Enigma Recovery from a simple device restoration tool is its ability to recover only what you need. Enigma Recovery could be seen as a temporary Time Machine for iOS because there is no need to restore the device to a previous state to have the missing data brought on board. The catch, however, is that you will need to run Enigma Recovery within a certain time frame, otherwise it won't be able to recover any of the searched data.
Enigma Recovery recognizes devices connected via Wi-Fi but for faster results it's better to have a cable connection, since it's very slow to deal with the process over Wi-Fi. The software can retrieve a whole host of data, from lost messages and contacts or videos and photos to internet and call history, calendar details, and even data from instant messaging apps. Some features – such as WhatsApp, photos, videos, and internet history – will only work if an iTunes or iCloud backup is available.
In our test, we opted to search for WhatsApp data and it took about an hour and numerous attempts to make it work. During the process there were several errors and the software often stopped at around 60%, requiring the scan to be restarted. Instead of searching locally on the device for data as was explained by the customer service representative we contacted, the iOS recovery software started backing up our test device and filling our startup disk with data stored on the device.
In other words, only hit hat scan button if you are absolutely sure that you have enough space on your Mac or PC to store all of the data on the mobile device. Oddly, this applies even if just one type of data is selected, and Enigma Recovery doesn't allow access to other data and file types despite having a complete backup available on the Mac. The files are saved in the Application Support folder as an iOS backup subfolder and the content is removed only when you initiate a new scan.
The free trial version of Enigma Recovery limits the user to previewing a selection of their data, be it an iOS device or iTunes/iCloud backup file, including five deleted files and 20 existing files. There is no scan limit, though it doesn't allow users to restore or export data, so essentially the free version is for testing purposes only.
Buying a license will unlock the files so that they can either be restored on the iPhone or saved on the preferred disk. Restoring data such as from WhatsApp requires Enigma's free iOS app Enigma Restore, which users need to download separately from the App Store. While most of the data can be reclaimed through the app itself, interestingly the contacts list and calendar data are backed up in iCloud by default and as such only those users that don't have a Mac require the Restore app to get the data back.
Additionally, recovering photos and videos requires iTunes, and even then the function is restricted since Enigma Recovery's reach is pretty limited. For example, it can recover items that are available in the recently deleted folder but cannot delete items that are completely gone. It needs an iCloud backup to actually restore that data, too.
Not only that, but there is a privacy issue related to the iCloud backup search since users need to sign into their iCloud account using their Apple ID and password through the Enigma Recovery app. Considering the regular occurrence of breaches, this isn't encouraged for users for security reasons.
The 14-day free trial of Enigma Recovery serves the scope of testing whether the software is able to recover any of your lost data. An Enigma Recovery license costs $59.99 for one device, and with it comes data recovery and all the available export options.
But if you need the software on three devices, then the per-device cost drops to just $23.33, though it’s possible to save even more; the lowest price the software is available for is $19.99 per device because the full price a ten-computer license is $199.99.
The company accepts various payment methods, covering all major credit cards, PayPal, and UnionPay. Your purchase is protected by Enigma Recovery's 30-day money-back guarantee, offering a full refund if the customer experiences any technical difficulties with the software or if the app isn't able to recover any data due to technical issues. A refund request is followed by an extensive troubleshooting process and is only issued if the fault cannot be resolved.
We were pleasantly surprised at how responsive Enigma Recovery's support team is. Since there were initial issues with the software due to its unclear wording, we contacted support for clarification. There are three options to do so: call, email, or chat. When contacted via phone we reached their voicemail, which instructed to leave a detailed message after which the company would return the call. Less than an hour after leaving the message, a customer support representative called us back.
A similarly effective result happened when contacting support through live chat, with our questions answered promptly and courteously. The conversation is also sent via email as well, rounding out the available options to create an impressive customer support. Alternatively, Enigma Recovery still has a variety of help articles on its website for those who would rather search for an answer online.
Regardless of the device, any data loss reignites user attention on the importance of backups. Enigma Recovery does a temporary backup of what is stored the targeted device, and its success is mostly limited to existing backups. Consider Enigma Recovery to be a filtering app that allows users to restore a specific fraction of the whole backup and you’ll have a reason to buy a license.
However, its reach is very limited because many of its functions can be achieved with Apple’s own software, allowing for the restoration of contacts, calendars and reminders, or Safari bookmarks and reading lists from an earlier version that was automatically archived in iCloud. Apple's cloud service automatically backs up such data as soon as you connect an iOS device to an Apple ID, limiting the need to run Enigma Recovery on your Mac or PC.
As for WhatsApp, Viber, and Kik, sometimes it’s easier to just archive messages, which hides the chat from sight until a new message is sent to recipients to retrieve the earlier conversations. It updates to Enigma Recovery will broaden its reach, then it will certainly become an integral iOS recovery tool.