As the title suggests what’s the best way to permanently delete data from an iPhone.

I know when you delete something, it’s not really deleted, but merely marked as ‘free space’.

So how, on an iPhone, can you make sure it’s gone for good so no high-level forensics can retrieve it?

  • Is your goal to wipe the iPhone, or just when you delete some data off of it?
    – Linny
    Jun 18, 2020 at 20:02
  • Just when I delete data from it, I want to make sure it’s gone forever. Without chance of recovery.
    – MP115
    Jun 18, 2020 at 20:14
  • Unless you incinerate the hardware, you'll always have a non-zero probably that at least some of the data may be recoverable. Jun 18, 2020 at 20:38
  • So there’s nothing out there that could get rid of it?
    – MP115
    Jun 18, 2020 at 20:51
  • I have answered this question in detail here, previously: security.stackexchange.com/questions/212388/… In short: factory reset it twice. Jun 18, 2020 at 22:24

2 Answers 2


I don't think there is a way to actually scrub the data.

The recommended method is doing a factory reset. All the data will be left behind intact but the encryption key will be lost, so the data will be virtually irrecoverable. (Or as much as the key can be brute forced in a reasonable time frame)

  • But wouldn’t data extraction tools, top if the range ones, still be able to recover data even with the encryption key lost?
    – MP115
    Jun 19, 2020 at 4:36
  • it's not impossible. but there is nothing that has been publicly confirmed which is capable of extracting encryption keys of a factory reset device.
    – Pedro
    Jun 19, 2020 at 7:27
  • What about forensic equipment? Like ones police etc use?
    – MP115
    Jun 19, 2020 at 7:35
  • those would be the same extraction tools you mentioned earlier.
    – Pedro
    Jun 19, 2020 at 7:45
  • @MP115 You're possibly confused over the term "forensic extraction tools". To me, they are more about re-accessing data that hasn't "totally" been deleted (either simply reading data the OS has marked as deleted; side-stepping the "wear-leveling" erasure of solid-state memory, or reading vestigial magnetic traces on a traditional hard-disk). If the data so recovered was subject to full-disk-encryption, then (statistically) nothing can be done with it if you don't have the key.
    – TripeHound
    Jun 20, 2020 at 10:45

To my knowledge there's no way to shred internal storage.You can however change hardware.

The easiest way to do this? Destroy it.

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