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I recently decided to sell two of my iPhone's (5 and 6s) and I used the 'erase all content and settings' option to wipe and factory reset my iPhone. Now, I'm a little concerned whether this is enough to prevent any data retrieval on my iPhone's and I was wondering if a simple reset in iPhone's settings can provide the same effects as that of an overwritten data? If not, what should I do? Is there a method for overwriting data on an iPhone as there is for macOS?

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This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for power users of Apple hardware and software.

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As long as you follow the steps provided by Apple to erase your iOS device, it will erase all data on the device. A simple 'reset' of the device is not the same as 'erase all contents and settings'.

Follow these steps:

  1. If you paired an Apple Watch with your iPhone, unpair your Apple Watch.
  2. Back up your device.
  3. Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store.
    • If you're using iOS 10.3 or later, tap Settings > [your name]. Scroll down and tap Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
    • If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password. Then go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.
  4. Go back to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If you turned on Find My iPhone, you might need to enter your Apple ID and password.
  5. If asked for your device passcode or Restrictions passcode, enter it. Then tap Erase [device].
  6. If you're switching to a non-Apple phone, deregister iMessage.
  7. Contact your carrier for help transferring service to a new owner. If you aren't using a SIM card with your device, you can contact them to get help transferring service to the new owner.
  • Just to add onto this, yes it will erase all data effectively–you don't need to overwrite it or anything like that. – Ezekiel Elin Feb 21 at 17:30
  • @EzekielElin Yes, isn't that what I indicated in my answer? – fsb Feb 21 at 17:52
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    Oddly enough a few times I have wiped some work-purchased and returned iPhones. These are phones with disabled SIM cards (Via AT&T) but after the reboot and going through the setup procedure there was a red dot over the phone.app icon indicating a number of voicemails were there. They did not exist on the phone and you couldn't make a call to retrieve them from AT&T and another trip through "erase all content and settings" did nothing. So god only knows what was going on, perhaps a bug in an older version of iOS but still damn strange. – Steve Chambers Feb 21 at 20:19

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