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Wipe your info off your old iPhone before you recycle it

A reader emailed this week: “I have accumulated models of the iPhone ranging from the very first model through the iPhone 6. It seems a waste to have them sitting around collecting dust, so I’ve decided to get rid of them. I am very leery about donating/sending a phone to someone not knowing if I’ve properly ‘cleaned’ the phone before getting rid of it.

“Is there a simple method for making sure all my data has been removed from a phone before disposing of it?”

There are a few settings you should address before getting rid of any iPhone.

Of course, the age of the phone and the features available to that phone’s version of the operating system might not apply to everyone.

You’ll want to make sure you have the data from the phone backed up — either on your computer through iTunes or wirelessly through iCloud.

You’ll also want to make sure you have your phone’s pictures backed up somewhere. Connecting it to a computer should give you an opportunity to save the pictures through your computer’s default photo app.

Log off of services like iMessage and FaceTime and sign out of iCloud.

Then go to the App store on the phone and sign out.

Finally, open the Settings, go to General, choose Reset, and then Erase All Content and Settings.

This will wipe it and leave it factory fresh for the next user.

You can also connect the phone to your computer with the charging cable and use iTunes to restore to factory settings if you like.

It’s very important to sign out of iCloud before you restore, which should prompt you to turn off Find My iPhone.

If you leave iCloud logged in and leave Find My iPhone turned on, you’ll be disabling the phone for the next user. This is by design as it’s a deterrent to theft.



Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at

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