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How to Erase a Locked iPhone

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For when your passcode has been completely lost to the ages.

The idea of completely wiping your iPhone’s memory can seem a bit intimidating. After all, nowadays some people have their entire lives stored on their phones, from contacts to payment information. Of course, it’s precisely because of that that such stringent security measures exist. You don’t want any old schmuck to be able to get at your precious data, after all. In the event that you (or someone else) are locked out of your phone with no way of getting in, you best option is to wipe the whole thing and start from scratch.

Doing this used to be a bit of a convoluted affair. After you attempt your password enough times to get a security lockout, you’d need to connect your iPhone to a computer to perform a sort of assisted wipe. Thanks to a new iOS update released last week, though, this process has been simplified. You don’t need an external computer anymore, you can wipe the phone with nothing but the phone itself. The only things you will need are an active wi-fi or 4G/5G connection to connect to the internet, as well as your Apple Account ID password.

Credit: Unsplash

To wipe an iPhone, just attempt passcodes on the lock screen until you get hit with a security lockout. On the bottom right of the screen, you should see a new option named “Erase iPhone.” Tap that and enter the Apple Account ID password tied to the phone (if you don’t have that, you’re gonna have to go find it), and you can completely reset the phone. After a few minutes of internal cleanup, the phone will be fresh as a daisy, ready to be re-cultivated.