How To Completely Erase Your iPhone or iPad

If you buy a new iPhone or iPad, you might want to sell or give away your previous one. Before you do either, you should fully erase your old iPhone or iPad.

Just to be clear, this process will restore your device to how it was configured when you initially took it out of its box. All of your data and apps will be removed. This process is irreversible. The iPhone or iPad’s operating system, called iOS, and the core apps that Apple installs will remain on the device. The version of iOS will not be reverted to an earlier version. Instead, the version of iOS that you have installed will remain intact.

Once you are certain that you have moved everything over to your new device, you can easily erase your old device. Here are instructions:

  • Wake up or turn on your iPhone or iPad
  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on General
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the list and tap on Reset
  • Tap on Erase All Content and Settings
  • If your device is password-protected you’ll be prompted to enter it.
  • You’ll then be notified that you’re about to delete all media and data, and reset all settings.
  • Click the Erase iPhone (or iPad) button.
  • If your device has Find My iPhone enabled then you’ll need to enter your AppleID password to disable this feature.
  • Your device will then restart and display a progress indicator as it erases and resets stuff. Wait for this process to finish. It typically takes a few minutes.

Your device is now ready to be recycled, sold or given away.

[Update Feb 2020: Removed duplicate articles and provided the most up to date erase instructions based on iOS 13.]

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