How do you completely wipe the data on an iPad3?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by windmill83, May 20, 2012.

  1. windmill83 macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    What's the best way to completely wipe all the personal data on an iPad3 in the event that it needs to be returned?
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Settings > general > reset > erase all content and settings
  3. windmill83 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    Do you know if this a secure wipe or just superficial? In other words, can someone "undo" the wipe with the right software?
  4. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
    Nope. Can't be undone.
  5. Bobby.e macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2012
    Technically someone might be able to. But it's just like formatting a computer.
  6. windmill83, May 20, 2012
    Last edited: May 20, 2012

    windmill83 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    Are you sure it's like formatting because formatting is not a secure way to wipe a hard disk.
  7. knucklehead macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2003
    AFIK you can't completely erase SSD's -- there will always be chunks of data left behind.
    The reason this really shouldn't concern you, is that someone would have to take apart your iPad, and unsolder some parts just in the hopes of extracting some stray exploitable chunk of data ---- They probably have much more worthwhile things to be doing with their time.

    If you want to rest easy knowing you've done all you can, just encrypt the iPad (enable passcode lock) before erasing. The most anyone could come up with then are just random chunks of encrypted data.

    No worries!
  8. windmill83 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    I'm mainly concerned about wiping passwords (iTunes, WPA2, email, etc). Is there anything additional I should do to completely wipe them?
  9. knucklehead macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2003
    Just change your passwords when you're done. Old passwords have no value.

    I use 1Password, which makes using incredibly strong passwords - and changing them - about as easy as possible. It also keeps them in an extra layer of encryption.
    Kinda pricey though... I'm not sure what the next best options might be.

    I'd say it's worth going the extra mile to secure important passwords --- and change them on a regular basis.
  10. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    Unless you have the password to get into Fort Knox, do you really think someone's going dismantle your iPad on the off chance they might be able to extract a whole password to who knows what they "might" be lucky enough to find?
  11. noteple macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2011
    Best advice. Change your device, change your passwords.
  12. Fruit Cake macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2012
    Best way, put device into DFU MODE, reformat, then load it with junk data into iTunes and sync it thru. Once it's done, erase all content and settings. This will only delete the encryption key and redo the file structures, but other then taking to your iPad with a sledge hammer, thats about the best you can do within warranty
  13. windmill83 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    I think your idea of enabling the passcode lock before erasing should work.
  14. doboy macrumors 68020

    Jul 6, 2007
    That is the best way to do it. Kinda ironic that you are concerned about securely wiping the iPad yet it appears you haven't even "passcoded" your iPad.:eek:
  15. r-sparks macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2006
    Enable the pass code lock. This will encrypt storage contents. Then erase and wipe. Nobody should be able to retrieve your stuff (unless Apple built in a back door to their encryption but even then only they and maybe the government agencies would be able to get your stuff, and you have to ask: is this truly likely?).
  16. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    A restore seems to be the most effective wipe.
  17. windmill83 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    This is research on my part. I will be buying an iPad3 soon (don't have one yet). I just wanted to know how to securely wipe it in the event that it had to be returned for one of the many reasons being discussed on the forum.
  18. doboy macrumors 68020

    Jul 6, 2007
    My bad. Good luck with your purchase. Hopefully, you won't need to exchange it.
  19. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    If your iPad 3 has a wonky screen, I'm sure it'll present itself long before you set up your banking account apps. :)
  20. iphone1105 macrumors 68020


    Oct 8, 2009
    Why not worry about this iif you actually have to return it? You dont even have it yet, dont worry about possibly returning something you don't even have a hold on yet. Enjoy it!:)
  21. Redjericho macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2011
    Just hope you didn't steal it. You'll probably vote me down for saying it, but we are all thinking it. It's the curse people face when asking how to remove data, always a tinge of doubt.
  22. windmill83 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2010
    This is an unfair comment. I already said that I would be buying an iPad3 soon and I was concerned after reading about all the returns mentioned in this forum. Most people are concerned about data security. I thought this was a place where it could be discussed.
  23. iphone1105 macrumors 68020


    Oct 8, 2009
    FWIW don't ever take forum comments, especially from here to seriously. The is a vocal minority of people who own ipads. Most are completely fine, and again, why worry about returning something you don't have yet? Worry about that if/when you need to return it.
  24. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Here's what happens when you wipe an iPad 2/3 or any iPhone starting with the 3GS:

    1. You Hit Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all Content and Settings
    2. The iDevice secure deletes the encryption key to the fileystem, reformats the device and generates new encrypted file system with a new decryption key.
    3. There is no #3.

    Starting with the 3GS, all iOS devices store their data on a 256-bit AES encrypted filesystem (source: page 3). When you erase all content and settings, the decryption key is destroyed, rendering the data into useless gibberish.

    What happens then is, anyone who peeks in to the filesystem to try to get the data ends up with an encrypted volume for which there is no decryption key anymore (with more and more pieces steadily missing as the new, blank volume accumulates data). The only way to retrieve the data is to try and guess the right key, something not currently easy to do with current computing hardware.


    For older devices: the OS will go and scrub every bit of the Flash storage, but this can take several hours. The encrypted filesystem was introduced so that the wipe could be done much more quickly, and yet as securely.

    Bottom line: I would't worry too much about personal data on a returned iOS device as long as you've wiped it.
  25. doboy macrumors 68020

    Jul 6, 2007

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