Find My iPhone: Erase your device

Erase your device

If your iOS device, Apple Watch, or Mac is lost or stolen, you can erase it if you set up Find My iPhone on the device before it was lost. If you have Family Sharing set up, you can erase your family members’ devices, too. For more information, see the Apple Support article Family Sharing.

When you remotely erase a device, Activation Lock remains on to protect it. Your Apple ID and password are required to reactivate the device.

Important: Before you erase your device, try to locate it or play a sound on it. After you erase it, you can’t use Find My iPhone to do either. You may still be able to locate your Mac or Apple Watch if it’s near a previously used Wi-Fi network.

Erase a device

  1. Sign in to Find My iPhone on this device with your Apple ID (the one you use with iCloud).

  2. In the Devices list, tap the device you want to erase.

    Any credit or debit cards set up for Apple Pay on your device are removed from your device if you erase it, even if it’s offline. Apple Pay is also disabled for your device. For more information, see the Apple Support articles Use Wallet on your iPhone or iPod touch and Use Touch ID on MacBook Pro.

  3. Tap Actions, tap Erase [device], then do one of the following:

    • For an iOS device or Apple Watch: Enter your Apple ID password or your family member’s Apple ID password. If you’re not using one of your trusted devices, enter the passcode of the device you’re erasing, then enter a phone number and message.

    • For a Mac: Enter your Apple ID password or your family member’s Apple ID password. Enter a passcode to lock the Mac (you need to use the passcode to unlock it), then enter a message.

    The Erase device button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  4. If you’re using a friend’s device, sign out of Find My iPhone when you’re done.

If you’re using a device that supports 3D Touch, you can press the device you’re trying to erase in the list to peek at its location, then swipe up and tap Erase. Press a little deeper to see more options.

Note: If you’re not using one of your trusted devices, you’re asked to enter the passcode of the iOS device you’re erasing. If you can’t enter the passcode, or if you’re erasing a Mac, the remote erase could be delayed for a few hours to help ensure the request is not the result of any fraudulent activity. For more information about trusted devices, see the Apple Support article Two-factor authentication for Apple ID.

After you set a device to erase

  • If your device is online , the remote erase begins. A confirmation email is sent to your Apple ID email address.

  • If your device is offline , the remote erase begins the next time it’s online. If you find the device before it erases, you can cancel the erase. Tap the device in the Devices list, tap Stop Erase Request, then enter your Apple ID password.

  • If you erase then find your iOS device, you can restore the information on the device using iCloud Backup (if backup was turned on before you erased it) or iTunes. For more information, see the “Safety, handling, and support” section of the iOS user guide for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. For a device that doesn’t use the latest iOS version, get the user guide for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from the Apple Support manuals website.

  • If you erase then find your Apple Watch, you can restore the information on it. For more information, see Restore Apple Watch from a backup in the Apple Watch User Guide.

  • If you erase then find your Mac, you can restore the information on it using a Time Machine backup, if you have one. For more information, see the Apple Support article Recover your entire system. If you set an EFI firmware password on your Mac before it was lost, then erase it and later find it, you may need to take your Mac to an authorized repair center to unlock it before you can use it again.

Cancel an erase

If your device is offline , the remote erase begins the next time it’s online.

  • If you find the device before it’s erased, you can cancel the request. Tap the device in the Devices list, tap Stop Erase Request, then enter your Apple ID password.

You can also find instructions for erasing a device on iCloud.com. Click the Help button , then go to Find My iPhone > Erase.

If you use two-factor authentication, the device that you erased is removed from your list of trusted devices.

Note: If you don’t expect to find your iPhone or iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models), contact your wireless service provider to suspend service so you aren’t responsible for phone calls or other charges.

Published Date: Dec 14, 2017
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