How to Wipe Your iPhone or iPad
With the recent (& highly anticipated) rollout of the iPhone 12®, many people have been eagerly waiting to upgrade their devices. If you happen to be one of these people, you may be left wondering what to do with your old iPhone®.
Whatever you choose to do with your old device, it’ll probably wind up out of your hands soon. But by passing on your old tech without wiping it first, you may accidentally be handing over all of your personal information to the next user. In this article, we will discuss how to erase or “wipe” all of your personal data from your iPhone before passing it on to another user, and why it’s so important!
A Learning Experience From “Natalie”
In a CBC article, author Nicole Brockbank dove into the scary consequences of not wiping your iPhone before turning it in. She explores the story of Natalie Hall, an Ontario teen who did not erase her data or reset her iPhone before trading it in for the newest model.
Natalie ended up being stalked by a stranger in Dubai, who had purchased a lot of used iPhones and accessed all of Natalie’s pictures and information from her old device. The man pressured Natalie to be friends with him on Facebook… But when she declined, he went into her old device and accepted his own friend request, because Natalie had never logged out of her Facebook account.
This story really illustrates the importance of wiping your device before handing it off, even to a source you trust. The consequences of not doing so could be catastrophic, and jeopardize your privacy, finances, or personal safety.
Do I need to wipe my iPhone before trading-in, recycling, or reselling it?
Absolutely! We highly recommended wiping your iPhone, or any personal device, before reselling, gifting, or recycling! We decided to write this article so that people can easily understand how to wipe their device & why it is so important to take this small step to protect yourself. If you do not perform a wipe on your iPhone the next user may be able to access all of your personal information, photos, passwords, credit cards, applications, and so much more.
It’s nearly impossible these days not to keep mountains of personal information on your iPhone, which is why it’s so important to make sure you reset your phone before handing it off.
HOW TO WIPE AN IPHONE
1. Back Up Your iPhone
First, before resetting or wiping your phone – our team always recommends backing up your iPhone or any device. By backing up your iPhone prior to wiping it, you can ensure that no data is lost in the process. It also allows for a smooth and simple transition to your new device.
While you can use iCloud to backup your data, we prefer the good ol’ iTunes method (direct connecting your device to your computer.)
2. Sign Out of Personal Accounts
Once you have backed-up your iPhone, you should start logging out of all personal accounts. Especially those linked to bank accounts, personal information, or who have your credit card information. These include things like social media, shopping apps, banking apps, iCloud, iTunes, Facetime, iMessage & the App Store. Apple associated accounts such as Facetime, iMessage, iCloud, and others can be logged out via your iPhone’s “Settings” menu.
3. Erasing All Content & Settings
Okay, now that you’ve backed up your device & logged out of all your personal accounts, you can initiate the “wipe”. To do this, follow these steps:
- Open the “Settings” folder on your iPhone, then select “General.”
- Next, select “Reset” at the bottom of the General menu.
- At the top of the Reset menu, you should see an option to “Erase All Content & Settings” select this confirm your selection by pressing “Erase Now” and type in your passcode to initiate the wipe.
- The process is complete! You can now transfer your phone to another user without worrying that they could have access to sensitive information.
HOW TO WIPE AN IPAD
1. Back Up Your iPad Data
Please make sure to perform a thorough back-up, just like you would if you were to wipe your iPhone or any other device. Whenever you’re dealing with transferring data from one device to another, or deleting large amounts of information, it’s always safest to have your data stored somewhere so that you don’t lose it all in the process.
To perform this step with your iPad, we recommend plugging your device directly into your computer to back up your iPad via iTunes. That way, you can ensure that the information has a direct line to the storage system and nothing gets lost on the way.
2. Sign Out of Apple Accounts & Applications
While a wipe will delete all of your personal data, it’s always best to stay on the safe and sign-out of your personal accounts, especially those linked to bank accounts, or ones that store personal info (like your Apple ID, banking applications, social media, etc).
You can save time logging out by accessing all of your Apple accounts via the “Settings” menu on your iPad.
3. Initiate iPad Wipe
With your iPad fully backed up and your accounts no longer signed in, you can start your iPad’s reset. Remember, once this is done, the device will be set back to its factory setting and will no longer have any of personal information on it.
To continue, follow these steps:
- Find your “Settings” menu on your iPad’s home screen. Once you’ve selected it, push “General.”
- If you scroll down, you should see a “Reset” option at the end of the General menu.
- Once you select Reset, you’ll see an option to “Erase All Content & Settings.” After selecting this, tap “Erase Now,” then type in your passcode to start the reset.
- Congrats! You did it. You can now sell, trade-in, recycle, or even gift your iPad worry-free!
Handed Off Your iPhone or iPad Without Wiping it?
Don’t panic! There’s actually a way to erase your data remotely if you weren’t able, or if you forgot to do it before getting rid of your old device.
Now, in order to do this, you must have Find My iPhone set up on your device. If you do, go to icloud.com/#find . Select “All Devices” and then select your iPhone from the list. Now choose “Erase iPhone” and enter your Apple ID Password & Voila!
We definitely recommend doing this as soon as possible, because the more time your iPhone is left unwiped while out of your hands, the longer your personal information is at risk.
And that’s it, folks! A super simple, yet incredibly important step to take to ensure all of your personal information stays safe and away from prying eyes! Be sure to share this page and teach your friends and family about how to keep their private data secure.
Looking to wipe something other than an iPhone or iPad? Check out our series of guides on how to perform these steps on different types of devices!
And if you decide to toss your device, do your part to “go green” by recycling it. uBreakiFix stores offer a FREE eCycling program through our partnership with Samsung, in an effort to make responsible electronics recycling more accessible and help reduce waste around the world.
Check it out here to find your local drop-off area.