How to erase an iPhone: guide for new and older models

how to erase an iPhone

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This guide outlines how to erase an iPhone safely and completely, including how to erase iPhone older models and erase without an Apple ID.

You want to sell your iPhone or donate it to a charity because you have a new one? Then you should follow the procedure for how to erase everything off an iPhone and delete all your data from it. Usually, when a new model of the iPhone comes on the market, mamny people replace their old mobile phone.

However, since the old iPhone is still good, it can often be given away or sold. To do this, however, you should first completely free it from all your data, so we will take you through the steps for how to wipe an iPhone.

How to erase an iPhone: overview and warning

The first method for how to erase your iPhone is, of course, to reset the device to factory settings. This should delete all data and pictures as well as files from the mobile phone. After all, the device is put into its original state. Otherwise, you can also use the so-called “hard reset” if your phone has hung or frozen, or if you have problems with the installed iOS version.

When erasing your iPhone, be sure that you really delete all data. If you sell your iPhone and a clever user takes it over, he can otherwise seize your data, which may still be stored on the device. Also, be sure to turn off the Find My iPhone feature on the iPhone you want to sell so that it can no longer be paired with your Apple ID. The deletion may take some time.

You should therefore connect the iPhone to either a computer or the mains power before you start erasing it. And above all, make a backup of your data before you start deleting it. Also read how to fix an iPhone that is disabled: complete guide.

How to erase an iPhone – securely and easily

To erase an iPhone safely and completely, follow these steps:

  • In the first step, create a backup. It is best to do this as usual via iTunes. Otherwise, you can of course also use the backup function via the PC or a Mac. When using iTunes, you have the more convenient version. Here, however, your mobile phone must be connected to the Internet. In this way, you also have the data at hand for the new iPhone.
  • When the backup is complete, please sign off your iPhone from iCloud. Only then should you start resetting to factory settings. This allows you to prevent your data from also being deleted in iCloud.
  • With the steps for how to reset an iPhone, the deletion really takes place only on the iPhone itself — your data is still in the cloud.
  • In Settings, tap iCloud. Go down to the item “Logout” and confirm the process. You must then confirm the process with your PIN number. For Apple, the PIN number is called a restriction code.
  • Then go back to the Settings app. Select the sub-item “General”.
  • Now find the item “Reset” and select it.
  • You can select “Delete all content and settings” via “Settings” and “Reset”.
  • You will find an entry “Delete all content and settings” in the reset menu.
  • You must confirm the selection twice. You may be asked for the restriction code again. Enter it and confirm.
  • If you have the iOS 13 or later system, it compares your current iCloud backup status. The system is so accommodating that it updates changes you made between the last backup and the desire to delete the iPhone. In this way, you can be sure not to lose any data.
  • Finally, click Delete iPhone. With that, there will be no turning back.

Delete completely – safe is safe

Use a second deletion to make sure that you have really removed all data from the device. You may wonder why this is necessary, but it may be possible for somebody — if you sell or donate you phone — to recover deleted data.

Your data is no longer visible? But it may still be possible to restore them with forensic software. In order to really completely delete your data from the iPhone, you should definitely overwrite the internal flash memory once.

  • To do this, use the instructions to reset iPhone. But not from a backup. Just follow the instructions that the iPhone tells you.
  • Use the Music app or iTunes and create a playlist. However, you limit the storage space available to you on the iPhone. For example, if you have 32 GB in your device, select 25 GB as the limit. If you use the iCloud Music Library, please deactivate it first.
  • Now synchronize this playlist with your old iPhone.
  • After synchronization, repeat the first steps of the deletion. So you can completely delete your iPhone.

Why delete the data?

Even if you don’t want the iPhone to change hands, it may be necessary and useful to delete the iPhone. There are several reasons for this. By deleting various data, the mobile phone memory is cleaned up and more space is created again. The tidy memory also makes the iPhone faster again. If your mobile phone is located, you will also not lose any information to strangers.

When resetting to factory settings, the data and media are deleted. In addition, saved network settings, cards stored for Apple Pay, location settings, keyboard dictionary, home screen layout and other settings are also removed. When the reset is complete, you can reconfigure your phone. Once you have made the backup, the data can be transferred back to the device relatively easily and you have all your settings and data back.

How to erase an old iPhone: steps

How to wipe an iPhone 6

How to wipe an iPhone 7 with a soft reset

Note: All data and settings will be deleted. For this reason, you should back up via iTunes or iCloud beforehand. This first method is above all quick, but not recommended for major problems with the iPhone.

  • First open the “Settings” app on your iPhone 6.
  • At the bottom of the “General” category, select “Reset”.
  • The iPhone 6 is completely erased using the “Erase all content and settings” option.
  • Confirm the process and wait a few minutes.
  • The iPhone 6 then restarts and can be freshly set up.

How to wipe an iPhone 6 on PC

These instructions take a little longer, but are recommended if you have problems with the device. The iOS operating system is not only reset, it is completely reinstalled.

  • Start iTunes and connect your iPhone 6 to the computer using the USB cable.
  • Select your iPhone in the upper left corner and click the “Restore iPhone” button on the right.
  • If you confirm the process, the latest iOS will be downloaded, transferred to the iPhone 6 and installed.
  • You can then set up the iPhone again and transfer a backup from the PC if you wish.

How to wipe an iPhone 7

How to wipe an iPhone 7 with a soft reset

If the iPhone 7 has hung up and no longer reacts, a soft reset is sufficient. The iPhone 7 is restarted by force.

  • Press and hold the power button and the volume down button at the same time for around 10 seconds.
  • Do not release the buttons until the device visibly switches off.

How to wipe an iPhone 7 with a hard reset

Note: A hard reset will delete all apps, settings and data from the iPhone 7. If you want to restore the most important data afterwards, you should make a backup via iTunes or iCloud beforehand .

  • Open the “Settings” and select the “General” category.
  • Scroll down to the very bottom and tap on the “Reset” item.
  • Select the “Erase All Content & Settings” option at the top.
  • If you confirm the process, all data on the iPhone 7 will be erased.
  • The process takes a few minutes. You can then set up the device again.
  • Reset iPhone 7 completely
  • Reset iPhone 7 completely
  • Reset iPhone 7 on the computer
  • As an alternative to the above instructions, you can also reset the iPhone 7 on the computer. For this, the iOS operating system is completely downloaded and freshly installed on the iPhone 7.
  • If the iPhone is not recognized by the computer, use DFU mode. Start iTunes and connect your iPhone 7 to the computer using the USB cable.
  • Select your iPhone in the upper left corner and then click the “Restore iPhone” button.
  • If you confirm the process, the latest iOS version will be downloaded, transferred and installed.
  • When the process is complete, you can import a backup if necessary.

How to erase iPhone without Apple ID

Erasing an iPhone: is it possible without an Apple ID? Yes, there is a way. Since iOS 7, iPhones and iPads have been protected against theft using the “Find my iPhone” function. However, if you have forgotten the password for your Apple ID, this function can also be your undoing. In this case, you should recover your password.

If you want to erase your iPhone, i.e. delete all data, you have to deactivate the function beforehand. To do this, open the “Settings” app and select the said function in the “iCloud” category. However, you need the password to deactivate it.

If you haven’t activated the “Find My iPhone” function, you can easily erase the iPhone. However, this is only very easy in very few cases. Without the Apple ID password, you can erase the iPhone using DFU mode on the PC. However, your iPhone will still be linked to the Apple ID, so you will still need the password to activate it afterwards.

How to erase iPhone without a password

Resetting a smartphone is the process of erasing all data from the phone and reformatting the phone to the factory condition. When you reset an iPhone, all data and personalized settings as well as installed apps are completely erased from it.

When the iPhone boots up again after a factory reset, you will be presented with the “Hello” welcome screen, which will guide you through a new set-up process – as if you had bought the iPhone new and had taken it out of the box for the first time.

Before we show you how to factory reset an iPhone without a password, some might be wondering why you might need to do this.
If it’s your iPhone, don’t you know the password? This is true of some, but in reality, among the millions of iPhone owners, there will be some people who forget their password. In this case, you need to be able to do a factory reset on your iPhone without using it.

Some people may also buy a used iPhone and the owner may have forgotten to factory reset the used iPhone. In this case, the new owner may need to factory reset the device without knowing the password. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to double-check that an iPhone has been factory reset before buying. iPhones that are not can be stolen iPhones. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is possible.

It is best to always ask the seller if the iPhone was factory reset when you purchased it and turn it on to check for yourself before you run out of money.

How to erase iPhone without a password: Using iTunes

There is a really great way to factory reset your iPhone if you don’t know the password. Please note, however, that this will erase all data and settings from the device. In other words, if you pull through this, you will lose everything on the iPhone. Of course, you could get everything back if you have an up-to-date iCloud backup of that iPhone’s data.

However, if you factory reset an iPhone and you don’t know the password, it’s likely because the old owner of the iPhone didn’t reset it, so the data on it is not important to you.

How to factory reset iPhone without password on iTunes: steps

  • Connect the iPhone to your computer using the USB cable.
  • Open the iTunes app on your computer.
  • In the iTunes sidebar, find the iPhone and click on it.
  • In the sidebar under iPhone, click the Summary tab.
  • Click the Restore iPhone button.
  • A warning will appear informing you that if you proceed, all data on iPhone will be lost. If you’re ok with this, click Restore.
  • iTunes will check for new software updates for the iPhone. If so, you will see another pop-up alerting you to this fact. Click Restore and Update.
  • The recovery process will then start. It can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes or more to completely erase iPhone and perform a factory reset. But if it does, the iPhone in question will restart as if it were new and you’ve just taken it out of the box for the first time.