How to Erase Your iPad Before You Sell It

Delete your personal information and protect your privacy

So you've decided to trade in your iPad and upgrade to the latest edition. Or, perhaps you chose to make the switch to an Android- or Windows-based tablet.

Before you rush to a store that accepts trade-ins or package up your old iPad to send it off to a site like Gazelle, take some protective measures. Follow these steps to remove your personal data so that would-be criminals or other curiosity seekers don't get a hold of your information.

These instructions are specific to iPadOS 14. However, they should generally apply across all older iPad operating systems.

Back up Your Data With iCloud

If you opt for a new iPad, have a good backup of your documents, settings, and other data on iCloud. Taking this step allows you to make a smooth transition to your new iPad by restoring your data after you get the new one up and running.

Make sure your outgoing device has the latest version of iPadOS before running your final backup. Obtaining the most recent update helps prevent potential version incompatibility issues since your new iPad will likely come preloaded with the most current version of iPadOS. Check for a new update from Settings > General > Software Update.

To back up your iPad to iCloud before you wipe its data:

  1. Tap the Settings icon.

    The Settings app on iPad
  2. Select your Apple ID from the top of the Settings page, and then select iCloud from the right side of the screen.

    iPad settings with the Apple ID and iCloud heading highlighted
  3. Choose iCloud Backup.

    The iCloud Backup option in iCloud Settings on an iPad
  4. Tap Back Up Now.

    The Back Up Now command on an iPad

    If you haven't enabled this feature, tap the switch next to iCloud Backup to turn it on.

  5. After your backup completes, check the date and time next to Last successful backup to ensure that the backup finished successfully.

    The "last successful backup" item on the iPad's iCloud Backup screen

You can also perform an iPad backup with your Mac or PC.

How to Erase Your iPad's Data

The most important part of preparing your iPad for sale is ensuring that you remove all traces of your identity from it. Don't sell or give away an iPad without wiping its data first.

  1. Tap the Settings icon.

    The Settings app on iPad
  2. Select General.

    iPad settings with the General heading highlighted
  3. Choose Reset.

    The Reset option in iPad General settings
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

    The "Erase All Content and Settings" option in iPad's Reset menu

    If you see a message that says you're still backing up to iCloud, select Backup Then Erase to complete the backup first.

  5. Even if you recently backed up your iPad to iCloud, you may receive a prompt asking you to either perform another backup or proceed with the erasure.

    iCloud Backup options on an iPad
  6. If you have a passcode (unlock code) enabled, enter it in the next window.

    The Enter Passcode window during the iPad Reset process
  7. Choose Erase when the pop-up menu appears.

    The Erase command in the Erase iPad window
  8. If you enabled restrictions, enter your restriction passcode.

  9. Confirm the erase a second time. Choose Erase again.

    The final Erase command in the iPad reset process

Depending on the version of iOS installed on the iPad, you may need to enter your Apple ID account password to remove it from the iPad. You need access to the internet (via Wi-Fi or cellular connection) to perform this step.

Look for the Hello Screen

Once the wipe and reset process begins, the screen goes blank for up to several minutes as the iPad wipes your data and restores it to its factory settings. You will likely see a progress bar showing the status of the wipe and reset process. When the iPad finishes the process, you see the Hello or Welcome Setup Assistant screen as if you were setting up the iPad for the first time.

If you don't see the Hello or Welcome screen, something in the wipe process didn't work correctly, and you need to repeat the process. Failure to do so may result in ​whoever obtains your iPad accessing your personal information and data.

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