How long does it take to image a cell phone?

We get this question a lot. When it’s time to set an appointment with a forensics examiner to download the contents of a phone, you’ll need to tell the client how much time they’ll be without their phone, how long to reserve the conference room, and get an idea of how much it will cost.

The answer to the question isn’t always simple.

How long it takes depends on many factors. The type of cell phone, the operating system it is running, how much data is on the phone, and what data is being collected from the phone are all important factors that can determine how long it will take.

The biggest factor.

Generally, the more pictures and videos contained on the phone and collected, the longer it will take.

The standard answer.

Typically, it will take 2 hours. But this can easily be reduced to 1 hour, or be expanded to 4-6 hours. Sometimes longer!

The more information you can provide to the forensics examiner, the better estimate they will be able to provide.