iCloud: Erase your device with Find My iPhone

Erase your device with Find My iPhone

If your iOS device, Apple Watch, or Mac is lost or stolen, you can erase it using Find My iPhone on iCloud.com if you set up Find My iPhone on the device before it was lost. If Find My iPhone isn’t set up on your missing device, see the Apple Support article If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is lost or stolen. If you have Family Sharing set up, you can erase your family members’ devices, too. 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 can still locate your Mac or Apple Watch if it’s near a previously used Wi-Fi network.

Erase your device or a family member’s device

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

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

    The Erase device button in the bottom-right of the device’s Info window.
  3. Do one of the following, depending on what you want to erase:

    • iOS device or Apple Watch: Enter your Apple ID password or your family member’s Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, answer your security questions or enter the verification code that is sent to your other devices. If you’re using your own computer and want to skip the verification step in the future, click Trust. If you’re using a friend’s computer, click Don’t Trust. If the device you’re erasing has iOS 8 or later installed, enter a phone number and message.

    • Mac: Enter your Apple ID password or your family member’s Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, answer your security questions or enter the verification code that is sent to your other devices. If you’re using your own computer and want to skip the verification step in the future, click Trust. If you’re using a friend’s computer, click Don’t Trust. Enter a passcode to lock the Mac (you need to use the passcode to unlock it), then enter a message.

    For more information about trusted browsers, see the Apple Support article Two-factor authentication for Apple ID.

After you set a device to erase

  • Apple Pay is disabled for your device. Any credit or debit cards set up for Apple Pay, student ID cards, and Express Transit cards are removed from your device. Credit, debit, and student ID cards are removed even if your device is offline. Express Transit cards are removed the next time your device goes online. See the Apple Support article Manage the cards that you use with Apple Pay.

  • 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 but 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. See What is iCloud storage and backup?, or the “Restart, update, reset, and restore” section of the user guide for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. For a device that doesn’t have the latest version of iOS installed, you can download the user guide from the Apple Support Manuals website.

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

  • If you erase but then find your Mac, you can restore the information on the Mac using a Time Machine backup, if you have one. See the Apple Support article Back up your Mac with Time Machine. 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.

You can also use the Find My iPhone app on an iOS device to locate your missing device. For more information, open the Find My iPhone app, tap Help, then go to “Erase your device.”

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, iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models), or Apple Watch (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: Jun 20, 2019
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