How to wipe your smartphone – Part 1 (iPhone)

Before returning your smartphone to your wireless carrier or selling it online, you’ll want to ensure that it’s wiped and somebody can’t easily recover your private data. This blog series will cover iPhones, Android devices, and Microsoft Windows smartphones. Some important points to bring up that will account for all 3 types of devices are the following:

  • ensure you deactivate the phone with your wireless carrier (this might be obvious, but hey, we can’t have you missing a step and you end up getting charged with usage fees for an old phone)
  • remove your SIM card, unless the carrier requires it upon trade-in/returns….any private buyer will not need your SIM card
  • remove any SD cards and erase or destroy them, unless your private buyer requested the SD card to be included. Most phones have built-in features to clear your SD cards along with the factory reset

For all iPhone users, your two best friends when wiping the phone are the iTunes software and your USB cable. Those are literally the only requirements to wipe your iPhone….

  1. Download and install iTunes from the Apple iTunes site
  2. Plug in your USB cord to your computer, and the other end to your iPhone
  3. iTunes should automatically open (if it does not, open iTunes)
  4. You’ll want to backup the phone to save any of your data before wiping it – simply click the small iPhone icon in the upper-left area, make sure ‘Summary’ is selected in the left column, and then scroll down in the main window until you see the ‘Backups’ section….select whether you want to save to iCloud or your computer, and then click ‘Back Up Now’)
  5. After your iPhone is backed up, scroll up in the main iTunes’ iPhone Summary window, and click ‘Restore iPhone…’
  6. Click ‘Restore’ once again to verify that you want to wipe your phone and reset it to factory defaults
  7. Wait for the process to complete and you can verify that it was wiped when the ‘Hello…..slide to setup’ screen comes up on your iPhone!

There are a few other ways to wipe your iPhone, including doing it directly from the device or even if your device is lost, you can use the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature to remotely wipe the device. Hope somebody finds this helpful when trading in or selling their iPhone!

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