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 jrossman@dallasnews.com.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Technology

Average Austin shopper to spend about $465 this holiday season
Average Austin shopper to spend about $465 this holiday season

In an ever-changing retail landscape, stores big and small have tweaked their Black Friday plans this year to maximize sales. For many, the days of throwing the doors open on Thanksgiving and welcoming shoppers for 24, 36 or even 48 hours straight are history. Instead, a growing number of shopping centers and big-box chains decided this year to give...
Why I’m skipping wireless charging on my iPhone 8 Plus

I’ve had the iPhone 8 Plus for about a month now, and while on launch day I thought I’d be most excited about wireless charging, I’ve found I’ve abandoned my wireless charger in favor of fast charging. I’ve come to like wireless charging when I’ve used Samsung’s phones, as it’s quite speedy, but Apple...
This app could reduce the dangers of concussions in young athletes
This app could reduce the dangers of concussions in young athletes

Startup of the week: Who they are: PRIVIT What they do: Their app seeks to keep young athletes safer by helping coaches and trainers report and properly treat concussions and other injuries and medical conditions. Why it’s cool: There’s been plenty of buzz recently about the dangers of concussions in impact sports — including the...
The future is here: Augmented reality apps to use on iPhone or iPad

With the release of an updated mobile operating system in October, Apple’s new augmented reality platform is ready for take-off. The first generation of AR apps is available in Apple’s App Store, allowing millions of iPhone and iPad users to view three-dimensional computer-generated graphics on top of a user’s real-world view. With...
Rock out with sporty-designed headphones
Rock out with sporty-designed headphones

Listening to a Tom Petty music marathon is great, but making it better in my world was hearing the legendary music on the Soul X-TRA over-the-ear wireless (Bluetooth) headphones. The headphones smooth sound, comfort, and the sporty design were all much appreciated. The sound is promoted as “Advanced HD drivers and circuitry design for a balanced...
More Stories