Monday, October 5, 2015 - 10:38am

The University of Iowa email systems (the on-premise Hawkmail service and the cloud-based Office 365 service that is being implemented) use an underlying technology called Microsoft Exchange.

One feature of this technology is the ability to "remote wipe" most mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, etc.) that have connected to the email system. The remote wipe feature removes all data (email, applications, files, photos, etc.) from the device and resets to factory defaults. This feature is built into Exchange and cannot be disabled.

Remote wipe can be useful to an individual if a device is lost as it provides a quick, simple method to erase all private information. We have provided instructions and suggested this option to people who lose their device and have a desire to completely clear it for security. See support article.

Some private organizations use the remote wipe feature to erase proprietary data in the case of a lost device. However, the University of Iowa will not use this feature without an individual’s consent. The Exchange remote wipe technology has been in place since 2004 without issue.

Connecting mobile devices to the UI email systems is not a requirement for students or employees, but many users choose this option as a convenience. Although the UI would never use the wipe feature without a user's consent, we would like to let anyone who has concerns about the built-in feature know about the alternatives for connecting to UI email on mobile devices.

  • University email can be accessed using a standard Web browser on most mobile devices. This method does not require agreement to the remote wipe agreement.
  • Individuals using the new Office 365 service can access UI email on mobile devices using Microsoft’s new mobile Outlook app (iOS, Android). This app does not require a full device wipe agreement. If a remote wipe is issued for a mobile device running this app, only the Outlook data (email, calendar, contacts) will be deleted. All other mobile device settings will remain.