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iCloud: Erase your device

Erase your device

If your iOS device 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.

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 if it’s near a previously used Wi-Fi network.

Erase your device or a family member’s device

  1. Go to Find My iPhone on iCloud.com.

    If you don’t see Find My iPhone on iCloud.com, your account just has access to iCloud web-only features. To gain access to other iCloud features, set up iCloud on your iOS device or Mac.

  2. Click All Devices, then select the device you want to erase.

  3. In the device’s Info window, click Erase [device].

    Erase device button in the device's Info window
  4. To erase:

    • An iOS device: Enter your Apple ID password or your family member’s Apple ID password. If the device you’re erasing has iOS 7 or later, enter a phone number and message. The number and message are displayed on the screen after the device is erased.

    • 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 message is displayed on the screen after the Mac is erased.

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 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 iCloud storage and backup overview, or the “Safety, handling, and support” section of the iOS 8 user guide for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If your device has iOS 7 or earlier, get the user guide from the Apple Support website.

  • If you erase then find your Mac, you can restore the information on the Mac 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.

If you erase your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and you have credit and debit cards in Passbook for Apple Pay, Find My iPhone attempts to remove your cards immediately, even if your iPhone is offline. For more information, see the Apple Support article Use Passbook in iOS.

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.
Last Modified: Aug 26, 2015
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