Are you planning on upgrading or getting a new phone or tablet? Most major carriers like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile will let you trade in your old iPhone or iPad for store credit. But you probably don’t want to hand over your contacts, emails, photos and other personal information on your device to a stranger. This tutorial will walk you through the process of backing up your old iPhone or iPad, how to erase iPhone data and how to move your old info to your new device. The procedure is exactly the same for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.


  • iPhone
  • 10 minutes of free time

Optional: Backup Your iPhone or iPad

It’s a good idea to backup your iPhone or iPad before you erase it forever. Even if you think you don’t need to save any of the info on the device, it’s still better to have a backup and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Plug your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into your computer and open the iTunes desktop app. Use the backup option to save a copy of your device to your hard drive. A more detailed tutorial on how to backup your iPhone can be found here.

01) Open The Settings App

Find the Settings app on your iPhone and open it.

iPhone Settings app in iOS

02) General

After you open the Settings app, scroll down and select the General option.

General: iOS Settings App

03) Reset

Scroll down to the bottom and select Reset. It’s all the way at the bottom.


04) Erase All Content and Settings

Select Erase All Content and Settings.

Erase All Content and Settings

05) Passcode

Since this procedure can be very catastrophic, Apple adds several safeguards to prevent someone from accidentally erasing their phone. You will need to confirm your intentions to erase your iPhone several times.

Enter your iPhone’s passcode to proceed.

iOS Passcode

06) Erase iPhone

Just to confirm: “This will delete all media and data, and reset all settings.”

Select “Erase iPhone” to continue.


07) Erase iPhone Completely – Are You Sure?

Another safety check: “Are you sure you want to continue? All media, data, and settings will be erased. This cannot be undone.”

Select “Erase iPhone” again to continue.

erase iphone - are you sure

08) Enter Your Apple ID

Last chance to back out. The final step of this procedure is to enter your Apple ID password. This is for 2 reasons: 1) to confirm the erase procedure and 2) to remove this device from your Apple account.

09) iPhone Erase Everything & Reboot

Your screen should now go black while the operating system erases all of your information off the phone. You’ll see a white Apple logo and eventually, the setup screen will appear or the next owner to enter their information.


10) That’s It!

Congratulations! You just erased your iPhone and safely protected your personal information from falling into the hands of a stranger.

If you want to restore a backup of your old iPhone to a new phone, then take a look at this tutorial: How to copy information from your old iPhone to a new one.

We hope you found this tutorial useful. Please share it or leave a comment below if you have questions or suggestions on how to improve it.