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Q: How do I completely erase all data from my iPhone?


Why would you do a full erase, rather than a restore? 

One reason might be if you plan on selling your iPhone, whether to a friend or on an online auction. We recommend you completely erase your data from the iPhone before doing so. The Restore option found in iTunes does not completely rid the iPhone of your data; it only covers up parts of the data. A technical savvy person could access your old data after a restore, compromising your information. Apple has implemented a low-level erase option that will allow a user to remove all of their personal data off the iPhone. "Data is never gone..." This is a true statement, but this erase option will remove your data to an acceptable standard.

Make sure your iPhone is plugged into a power source during this procedure!

  1. Select Settings, then select General.
  2. Select Reset.
    General Settings

  3. You will be presented with many options, but the option for a full erase of the iPhone is Erase All Content and Settings.
  4. Select "Erase All Content and Settings"

  5. A confirmation window will appear explaining that this procedure will erase the device of all of its media, data, and settings, and will take about 1 hour to complete. Once this procedure starts, DO NOT try in disrupt or you may damage the iPhone.

  6. Select Erase iPhone.
  7. A second confirmation window will appear, again warning you that the data will be erased.
  8. Select Erase iPhone.
  9. The device will reboot and a status bar will appear. Allow the device to finish the erase procedure before removing it from its power source.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

May 13, 2012

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