How to erase all of your personal data off an iPad or iPhone

How to wipe all of your personal data off an iPad or iPhone

If you're selling your iPhone or iPad or passing it on to someone else, the first thing you'll want to do is make sure they won't have access to any of your personal data. Fortunately, iOS makes it very easy to wipe all your data off your old iPhone or iPad, no computer required. Here's how:

Before doing this, you obviously want to make sure you either have an iCloud backup or an iTunes backup of your data. Otherwise, you won't be able to get your stuff back. Once you're sure you have a backup for your own use, proceed on.

Turn off Find My iPhone

If you're on iOS 7 already and you have an iCloud account linked to your iPhone or iPad, you'll need to sign out of Find My iPhone before you can truly wipe the device.

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap on iCloud.
  3. Scroll down once more and turn Off the Find My iPhone option.
  4. You will be prompted to enter your iCloud password. Once you're done entering your password, tap Turn Off.

That's it, you can now proceed to wiping your iPhone or iPad. The above steps are only necessary if the iPhone or iPad you're trying to restore is on iOS 7.0 or above.

Erase all data from your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Now tap on General.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on Reset.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. You will be prompted to confirm your selection, tap on Erase iPhone.
  6. Once more you will be reminded that you can't undo this action, tap Erase iPhone one more time to confirm.

That's it. Your iPhone or iPad will reboot after a few minutes and all your personal data should be gone and again look like the day you pulled it out of the box.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 13 comments. Add yours.

93Aero says:

Thanks good to know just purchased a 5 and 5c last month, haven't had a iPhone since the very first one came out. I've forgotten so much since then.

ddeming says:

What if the phone is jail broken? Does it get rid of that or keep it?

Lenin17301 says:

Until the release of the Semi-Restore windows app, the jailbreak always broke the Erase all feature, with Semi-Restore you can wipe your data and keep the jailbreak, of course this only works on iOS 6.1.3 and lower, iOS 7 does not have jailbreak nor Semi-Restore yet.

zubesha Dcuze says:

You should Zero Out your personal data with the programs/apps like Safe eraser ( http://www.iphone-to-pc.com/ios-data-erasing-utility.html ) which supports both non-jailbroken and jailbroken devices OR ishredder If you want to erase data permanently from your iPhone/iPad , so that no one can recover your deleted data by using various iOS recovery programs available in the market. This is true for both Jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices.

P.S - I was also looking for something to erase my iPhone 4S (jailbroken) data permanently before selling it.

graison says:

Don't you need to turn off Find my iPhone first?

Sent from the iMore App

pappy53 says:

Yes, and turn off iMessage. And probably would be best to sign out Apple ID on the phone.

suz5ive says:

I know how to turn off find my iPhone and iMessage. How do you log out of your Apple ID though?

Sam Threepwood says:

This guide is incomplete and would actually not help the user at all if you have iOS 7. You absolutely have to turn off Find my iPhone. If not, you think it is reset and it is but when the person tries to setup his device later, he will be prompted to enter the apple account password tied to the device. The device would be useless to him/her.

I'm quite surprised why you have not mentioned this.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I completely forgot about this because I wiped a test device I wasn't signed into on. Thanks! Adding it!

Obsidian71 says:

Walter White told me the only safe way is Chemical Disincorporation. Anyone have some Acid and bucket I can borrow?

GlennRuss says:

I did that to my 4S giving it to my son. We set it up from his iPod Touch iCloud back up. He will go to the carrier (att), and set up a phone number. All his apps setup fine. My phone number was showing in "about" of course the sim will be changed out by the carrier. Not sure why my phone number was showing. No other information about me was on the old phone. I erased the number.

Sent from the iMore App

Annette Charleston says:

I have my sim in a new iphone now so if I use it to do this, in old phone, will it wipe the information on the sim?