How To Ensure Data Erasure on an Old iPhone or iPad (iOS)

    The Guide to Secure Data Erasure for your Obsolete iOS Apple Products

    Has your business recently replaced its iPhones or iPads with the latest models? About to upgrade? Or, have you simply searched for "what to do with old iPad"? Make sure you have a plan for dealing with your old iPad or other old devices! 

    Although the past model of your device may not be of use to your organization anymore, there can still be uses for old iPhone, old iPad, and other similar devices.

    How Do I Back Up My iPhone or iPad Before Erasing?

    Whether you plan on keeping the device within the business as a backup, donating it, or reselling, make sure that your device is wiped clean before you hand it over.

    Remember, your old iPhone or iPad is still a valuable asset even when it hits the bin. All data and documents must be completely removed from an old device for your own security. 

    If you’re unsure of how to remove data from your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps!


    Difficulty: Easy, only a few taps on your device and your password. Even easier if you have iOS 11 and just need to transfer your information over.
    Duration: 10-30 minutes. If it takes over an hour, you'll need to reboot in Recovery Mode or else there's a problem with the hardware.
    Who can do it? School administration, those with iPhones or iPads, IT professionals
    Wiping data in bulk: Should leave this task to a professional service

    Transfer your personal information to your new device

    If you already have a new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, use Quick Start to transfer information from your existing old device to your new one. Keep in mind that this will only work if you're using iOS 11 or later. If you're using iOS 10 or earlier, you'll have to use iCloud, iTunes, or the Finder to transfer information.

    Backing up Your iPad or iPhone to iCloud for iOS 10 and earlier: 

    A lot of the information on your iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device is synced and stored to iCloud, Apple’s secure cloud storage system. iCloud makes it easy to make a copy and backup your information before removing it from your device, without affecting other Apple devices you still use.

    Before you begin wiping the data and documents off of your iPhone or iPad, you need to make sure you have an up-to-date backup of your device and that you are connected to WiFi.

    1. Go to Settings. 
    2. Select iCloud. 
    3. Choose Backup and Storage and select Backup Now.

    After your backup is finished, double-check to see if the backup was completed successfully at the bottom of the screen. 

    >>>Learn more about Greentec's Solutions and Get a Quote for your Electronics

    Encrypted Backup

    If you store health information, passwords, or other highly sensitive and private information on your iOS device, you’ll be creating an encrypted backup. Make sure that you know the password for your backup before erasing information: you can’t restore from an encrypted backup without it.

    How to Remove all Data from iPhone or iPad: 

    1. Go to Settings. 
    2. Select General. 
    3. Scroll down to Reset. 
    4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings. 
    5. Touch Erase Now. 
    6. Enter your Passcode. 
    7. Enter your Apple ID Password to turn off Activate Lock and remove your device from Find my iPhone.

    As your iPhone or iPad wipes your personal data and restores itself back to factory settings, the screen will go blank for several minutes with a progress bar to show the status of the wipe and reset. You’ll know your device has been wiped and reset properly if the Hello or Welcome Setup Assistant screen appears. If not, you’ll need to repeat the steps again to make sure your device is completely wiped before selling or disposing.

    What Happens When I Can't Access My Data/Turn on My Phone

    There are ways beyond the scope of this article to physically drill through your logic chip (read about it here). If you're unsure you want to start messing around with commercial tools and a power drill, we would recommend finding a reputable company to take your old devices for refurb/disposal

    What if I Have Multiple iPads/iPhones and Need Data Erasure in Bulk

    You could spend time wiping all of your devices. After all, 10-30 minutes of your time is not that bad. However, the real time sink is that there's a lot of waiting around for your have to wait for this to finish, while you try to multi-task and do something else. You may have a master password for all of your devices in your organization, but do you really want to put an iPhone cleanup day on the calendar and lose one day of productivity?

    If you need help in wiping iPhones and iPads in bulk, or want extra security measures to make your data not only inaccessible but destroyed? Greentec uses certified methods to go one step further in wiping devices — ensuring that they end up as fresh as a device straight out of the box. For businesses, this can be a crucial consideration for end-of-life disposal.

    Contact us for more information about how we can help your organization collect and store, recycle or dispose of electronic devices at end-of-life, specifically your Apple ITAD.

    >>>Learn more about Greentec's Solutions and Get a Quote for your Electronics

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