You can remotely delete iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or iPod Touch data from your lost device by using the brilliant ‘Find My’ App. You can also delete the data by logging in to the iCloud website from any computer.
This is perfect if you have lost your device and you want all of the data removed in case 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.
The iCloud activation lock is a feature of ‘Find My’ that’s been built into devices since 2013. It is designed to prevent the 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’ configured yet or you don’t know how to use it set aside some time to learn – it only takes a minute.
- Install iCloud and enable it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
- Enable Find My Phone on your device
- Access to a web browser so you can visit www.iCloud.com to do the remote delete, or the free Find My App on another Apple device
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 set up iCloud.
- If you’re not using a trusted browser you need to answer your security questions or enter the verification code that is sent to your other Apple devices to sign in.
- Once signed in, 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 “Erase iPhone” 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. When you perform a remote delete your device will still remain locked with your Apple ID and password so it can’t be used by anyone else.
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.
After you erase the device
- If your iPhone is still online (connected to WiFi or the cellular network) the content will be erased.
- If your device is no longer online then the contents won’t be removed until it goes online again.
- Any credit or debit cards set up for Apple Pay are removed from your device, even if it’s offline.
- Apple Pay is also disabled for your device.
- If you use two-factor authentication, the device is removed from your list of trusted devices.
iCloud activation lock removal
If your Apple device has been activation locked you won’t be able to set it up as your own unless you unlock it. Find out my recommended activation lock removal methods so you can use your device properly.
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