Wiping an iPad or iPhone when it won't even turn on

23 November 2015, 09:00

Recently we looked here on Mac Kung Fu at how to wipe any Apple device ready for selling. But what do you do if the device won’t even turn on – perhaps it’s damaged, for example, and you’re passing it for repair, or the insurance company will replace it but wants the old one back anyways?

There is a solution. It’s not perfect but it’s the best hope. It assumes you have Find my iPhone/iPad/Mac enabled and if you haven’t then it won’t work.

Log in at iCloud.com, click the Find iPhone icon, select your iPhone/iPad from the All Devices dropdown list, and select Erase. You might also put a check in Notify Me When Found, so you get a notification when this happens.

Whenever the phone is next powered-up AND has an Internet connection, it will be wiped automatically and unstoppably, regardless of whether the individual concerned has the passcode or not.

As you can see from the list of All Devices at iCloud.com, you can also choose to wipe any portable Mac you have registered with Find my Mac too.

There are a couple of caveats:

  1. You’ll no longer be able to track the location your iOS device at iCloud.com if you choose to wipe it.
  2. However, Activation Lock will still be activated UNLESS you remove your device from your account by clicking Remove From Account in the Find iPhone section of iCloud.

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