How to Delete Everything from Your iPhone

How to Delete Everything from Your iPhone
How to Delete Everything from Your iPhone
Backing Up Data Deleting Data Device Tips Tutorials

Before selling, lending or giving away your iPhone to someone else, you first need to make sure that all of your data is deleted and also backed up. In the future you may need to transfer data to a new phone, restore it to the same device, or re-install your device as new. Leave your options open! After you’ve backed up your device, go ahead and delete everything from your iPhone by following the detailed steps in Step 2.

Step 1 – Before you delete everything from your iPhone

Save your data to iCloud

When your iPhone is plugged into a power source and the Wi-Fi is on with the screen locked, iCloud automatically creates a backup. If you’re not sure whether your device has been recently backed up you can perform a manual backup before you delete everything.

Plug in your device, make sure that the Wi-Fi connection won’t get interrupted and open “Settings”. Find “iCloud” on the available menu (depending on the iOS version, you may have to scroll down to find it), and then tap on “Backup” and “Backup now”.


iCloud settings menu


iCloud settings backup menu

Backup now

Backup iCloud

If you’re not comfortable with using iCloud, or if you just want to be extra safe, you can back up your iPhone to iTunes as well.

Save your data on iTunes

Creating an iTunes backup requires a direct connection between the iPhone and your computer through a USB cable. The backup file will then be stored on your laptop or PC. Make sure that you install iTunes on your computer before following the instructions.

After connecting the iPhone to the PC, open iTunes and click on the device’s icon on the menu. Then click on “Back Up Now”. You can secure your data even further by encrypting the backup. To do this, add a new password.

Connect iTunes and phone

Connect your phone to itunes

Backup now

iTunes backup now

Step 2 – How to delete everything from your iPhone

Make sure the deletion is 100% complete

Erasing everything from your iPhone is a job that takes minutes. Deleting one item at a time it’s not a good option because it will take forever and the deletion won’t be 100% complete. Before you start, sign out of iCloud, iTunes and the App Store to make sure that you’re not erasing your photos, videos and other data from your iCloud backup as well.

Follow these instructions to delete everything from your iPhone:

  1. Open “Settings” from the Home menu, and then tap on “General”
  2. Scroll down to find “Reset”, and tap on it
  3. Choose “Erase All Content and Settings” and then “Erase iPhone”
  4. If “Find My Phone” is on, the device will ask you to enter your Apple ID and password.

Step 1

Erase contents settings menu

Step 2

Erase contents settings reset

Step 3

Erase all contents

How to delete everything from the iPhone after you’ve already sold it

There’s still time!

If you already gave away the iPhone but didn’t consider deleting everything first, there’s still time to do it with a little help from the new owner. If you’re still in touch, you can ask new owner to delete everything from the iPhone using the previously mentioned instructions.

If you’re not in touch with the new owner you can erase data from your phone using another device. From another device, log in to your iCloud account on the official website, or the Find My iPhone app if you’re using it, find your iPhone and “Erase” it. You also need to tap on “Remove from Account”.

To make sure that the new owner of the iPhone isn’t messing around with your iCloud account and backups change your Apple ID password.


Alan is our Chief Operating Officer & Founder, starting Enigma Digital in 2011. Throughout his career he has been FD and CFO of a number of SMEs from the manufacturing, distribution and technology sectors.

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