How to Hard Clear an iPhone

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

The Apple iPhone shares a common problem with hard drives on computers: deleted files are not actually removed from storage and so can be recovered. To hard clear an iPhone of deleted files that are not to be recovered, you must run a data erasing app that will zero out the deleted file from the storage space it is still occupying. A data erasing app can be downloaded to the iPhone from the App store and will hard clear out the deleted file, although you might have to wait anywhere up to a day or more for the process to be completed.

Things You'll Need

  • Home network
  • Internet access
  • iPhone connection cable
  • iPnone AC socket adapter

Step 1

Plug the iPhone connector of the iPhone connection cable into the iPhone. Plug the other end of the iPhone connection cable into the iPhone AC socket adapter. Plug the iPhone AC socket adapter into a wall socket for power.

Step 2

Wake up the iPhone by pressing the "Sleep/Wake" button at the upper right top. Swipe the slider to the right to go to the Home screen. Tap on the "App Store" icon to launch it.

Step 3

Tap on the "Search" icon at the bottom of the screen. Enter "erase" in the column. Select one of the data erasing apps that appear in the list below "erase." Tap on the prompts to purchase (if necessary) and download the data erasing app to the iPhone.

Step 4

Tap on the icon of the data erasing app to launch it. Tap on the "Continue" app on the "Erase Free Space" box that appears. Tap on the "Confirm Erase Free Space" box that appears. Tap on the "Are You Sure" confirmation screen that appears.

Step 5

Wait as the data erasing app zeros out all of the free space of the iPhone to remove any remnants of the deleted files. Click on the "OK" button in the box that appears when the data erasing app is finished. Click the "Home" button to return to the Home menu. Hold the "Sleep/Wake" button at the upper right down as the "slide to power off" button appears on the screen. Swipe the "slide to power off" button to the right to shut down the iPhone. Press and hold down the "Sleep/Wake" button until the Apple logo appears. The iPhone will restart and all of the deleted files will have been hard cleared from the storage space and unrecoverable.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a backup of the iPhone before removing all of the data.
  • You cannot stop a data-erasing app once it has started without causing serious problems on the iPhone.