Gowen tried to counter this by telling the judge: “Awan had recently bought the phone, so of course it didn’t have any data on it.”
But Mirando countered by saying the FBI found that the phone had been wiped on purpose. A time stamp on the iPhone indicated it had been wiped at 6:30 p.m. that evening (Awan was arrested around 10 p.m.). Awan also had a laptop on him, but one of the few things on the computer was a resume. Mirando used this and other details—such as that the Awan’s quickly sold many of their Virginia properties—to explain that Imran had no intention of returning.
The iPhone Awan was carrying has a feature built in that allows someone to wipe it before they sell it. Investigators were nevertheless able to determine when it was wiped because the phone created a “.obliterated” file with a time stamp.
There are some cases where an iPhone won’t create a .obliterated file that can be easily found, but there are other techniques used by investigators to uncover and see when an iPhone was wiped.