You can remotely delete iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch data by using the brilliant “Find My iPhone”.
This is perfect if you have lost your device and you want all of the data removed incase it falls into the wrong hands. After all you don’t want to be identified via the information in emails, text, photos, contacts, or diary appointments on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Activation Lock is a feature of Find My iPhone that’s built into devices with iOS 7 and later. It’s designed to prevent reactivation of lost or stolen devices by requiring the user’s Apple ID and password before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone, erase the device, or reactivate and use the device.
If you don’t have Find My iPhone configured yet or you don’t know how to use it set aside some time to learn – it only takes a minute.
- iCloud set up and enabled on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
- Find My iPhone (or iPad) is enabled on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
- Access to a web browser so you can visit www.iCloud.com to do the remote delete, or the free Find My iPhone app
The app is called Find My iPhone even if you’re using it to find an iPad or iPod Touch.
Use Remote Wipe to remotely delete iPhone, iPod or iPad data
This can not be undone, so you must be sure that this is what you want to do.
If you are using a web browser:
- Using a web browser go to www.iCloud.com
- Log in using your Apple ID and password. These are the same one you use to access the iTunes store and setup iCloud.
- Click on “Find My iPhone”.
If you are using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with the ‘Find My iPhone’ App:
- Click on the ‘Find My iPhone’ App.
You’ll see a map. Click on “Devices” in the upper left corner and select the iPhone, iPod or iPad you wish to remotely delete the data from.
Using either a web browser or an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:
1. Click the blue (i) icon next to the device name and then click “Remote Wipe” to delete the data.
2. Confirm you want to delete all of the data on the iPhone, iPod or iPad by tapping the “Erase All Data” button. Once you do this all of the data will be deleted completely. Forever. So make sure this what you really want to do
In some circumstances you may wish to delete the data so you can restore it. For example if you have forgotten the passcode and you don’t have access to a computer with iTunes you could remote wipe, then restore the data to remove the passcode.
3. When the delete starts you will notice the device will disappear from ‘Find my iPhone’ and no longer appear on the map showing that the remote delete worked.
Your iPhone, iPod or iPad will now be completely wiped, with all of your personal data removed – leaving no trace of you as the original owner.
Remotely deleting the iPod, iPhone or iPad data means it will no longer appear in Find My iPhone therefore it should be considered a last resort when you are absolutely certain you won’t get the iPad or iPhone back due to theft or loss.
If you still want to track the device use “remote lock” instead of “remote wipe”. This prevents someone from getting to the data on the iPhone without your passcode but it does not remove any sensitive data from the device.
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Kevin Craighead is iChimp’s chief technology editor and has been covering Apple’s mobile electronics, security, privacy and the wider technology sector since 2011. He is also a highly regarded Web Designer & Developer.
With a career spanning 30 years which began doing PC support (before the internet existed), Kevin’s technical expertise and experience is highly regarded in a wide variety of fields. His well-researched work resulted in highly regarded and often cited articles such as the infamous ‘Unable to move message to trash’ error on iOS devices.