The iPhone 5 is here and many of us are planning to replace our 4S, 4 or 3GS with this superphone. However most people don’t pay too much attention to what is going to happen with the old one. Will you sell it? Give it to your daughter, or maybe return it to your mobile operator or company?

All of your private and possibly your company’s data are stored on the phone.  Therefore it’s a good idea to make sure everything is wiped out clean before you let it go. This also applies to a phone that needs to be serviced, which is my case right now.

Apple has done a great job at securing the devices and if you follow the right steps (as shown in our previous post) you don’t have to worry about your data. Fortunately with erasing your iPhone or iPad it is almost the same. Follow a few short steps and you can rest assured that no one will peak into your data.

If you have a 3GS or higher it comes with the AES-256 bit encryption – the accepted industry standard in terms of data security. What it basically means is that your data is strongly protected and only by using the right encryption keys you can access it. Wipe these keys out and the data will be rendered unusable, or in layman terms reduce it to gibberish. So the question is, how to do it?

Apple has build in a function called Erase your Personal Data from the iPhone. Follow these five steps and you’ll be all right:

  1. First back your iPhone up in iTunes in case you want to restore it to the new phone or ever need data from the old one
  2. As this process can take a couple of hours make sure it has enough battery or plug it into a power source.
  3. Go to Settings à General à Reset (at the bottom)
  4. Hit Erase All Content and Settings and confirm

After a few hours you are done and can give the phone away. Next time you need to service your iDevice, give it away or change it for a new one you know what to do to make sure you’re protected.

Did you know about this feature, have you ever used it before?