There was a time when it was impossible to save your game data in a video game. Every time you sat down to play it took you back to the start. Now, on an iPhone, it can seem impossible to delete that data, and you’re forever returning to your old saved games.
You might have just beaten the final boss and want to play it all again. Or maybe you messed up so much at the beginning it’s easier to start from scratch. Perhaps you simply enjoy the getting free goodies and instructions in the game tutorial.
Whatever your reason for wanting to delete game data on your iPhone, it’s often easier said than done. There are more than a few places your iPhone game data can get saved, so we’ve shown you how to find and delete it below.
- 1 Reset your game data inside the app
- 2 Disconnect the game from Facebook
- 3 Delete the app and game data from your iPhone
- 4 Delete game data from your iCloud account
- 5 Reset your account with the game developer
- 6 Turn off Game Center on your iPhone
- 7 Sign out of your Apple ID account
- 8 Download the game on a different device
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You probably already tried deleting the app and downloading it again from the App Store. Once upon a time this would have done the trick. But more often than not these days, you saved game data comes back with the app.
This is great news for people upgrading or restoring their iPhone, who don’t want to lose their game data. But those of us looking for a clean slate need to search a little harder to find it.
Without knowing which game you’re playing, we can’t say exactly how to delete the data from your iPhone. It could be in any of the following places:
- your iPhone storage
- your iCloud or Game Center account
- one of your social media accounts
- or your account for that particular game developer.
Instead, try each of the steps below to delete iPhone game data wherever it is stored. And let us know which step worked for your game in the comments at the bottom!
Reset your game data inside the app
The simplest solution is to reset your game progress within the game itself. When this is possible, you don’t need to delete or reinstall anything and you don’t need to root through your iPhone settings.
Open the app on your iPhone and look for an in-game Settings, Options, or Menu screen. Usually, this is a button with three horizontal lines or a gear icon.
If you find some in-game settings, search every page for an option to Reset, Restart, or Erase. This option might be in reference to game data, saved games, or game progress.
If you can’t find a reset option, search online for instructions from the developer:
How to reset [game] data on iPhone.
Disconnect the game from Facebook
When you connect a game to your Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat account you get to share scores and progress with your friends. It’s quick and easy to sign up because you don’t need to make another new account.
But if your game links with a social media account, the iPhone’s game data might be stored there as well. Whenever you reinstall the app, it links with your social media again and loads the existing save.
Search through the in-game settings and menu screens again. Look for an option to sign out of social media.
Now search through your social media account settings, on the website for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Look for an option to disconnect from mobile games or apps.
In Facebook, go to Apps and websites from the Settings menu. You can see every game linked to your Facebook account and click a button to remove it.
Delete the app and game data from your iPhone
If you haven’t already, try deleting the game from your iPhone then downloading it from the App Store again. There are a couple of different ways to do this. Either of them should delete your game data as well, but try both methods to make sure.
Tap and hold the iPhone game from your home screen until it shakes, then tap the X button that appears. Your iPhone warns you that deleting the app will also delete its data. Perfect, tap Delete.
If that doesn’t work, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Scroll through the list looking for the game. If you find it, tap to open more options and select Delete App. Once again, this should remove the app and all associated data from your iPhone.
Delete game data from your iCloud account
These days, lots of iPhone apps store data in our iCloud account. This is great for syncing progress across devices or protecting game data against loss. But when you delete a game from your iPhone, the game data remains in iCloud.
On your iPhone, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage. Scroll through the list and look for the game. If you find it, tap for more options and choose to Delete Documents & Data.
To stop that game from saving future data to iCloud, go back one page to your iCloud settings and find it in the list. Tap the switch to turn off iCloud sync for the game.
Reset your account with the game developer
Often a game asks you to create an account on the developer’s website. You use this same account for each of the developer’s games and it usually saves your game data.
If you needed to sign into an account for your game, try to delete your game data from that account or create an entirely new account to replace it.
Once again, this means searching through the in-game menus. Look for account management options, and if you don’t find anything in the app try signing in on the developer’s website.
Sometimes the developer doesn’t give you an option to delete game data. In this case, you need to create a brand new account with the developer and sign into that instead.
Turn off Game Center on your iPhone
Game Center is a social network for gaming that allows you to share scores, compete in multiplayer games, and compare achievements with your friends. Apple removed the Game Center app from iOS 10, but it’s still present in your iPhone settings.
Because Game Center doesn’t have anywhere to save game data, there’s nothing to delete. However, a mobile game might see your old high scores or your profile in Game Center and use that to reload your progress.
Open Settings on your iPhone and find the Game Center option, tap the button to turn it off. Next time you open the game, you may be prompted to sign back into Game Center. Tap Cancel instead.
If an app loads your data from Game Center but you want to keep using the service, you need to sign in with an alternate Apple ID. Visit appleid.apple.com to create one.
Sign out of your Apple ID account
It’s unlikely, but possible, that you need to sign out of your Apple ID to delete the game data on your iPhone. This is an extreme step, but you can try it without risking any data.
From your iPhone Settings, tap your name at the top then scroll down and choose to Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password if prompted and turn off Find My iPhone. Now choose to keep a copy of all the data on your device — it may take some time to save.
If this successfully resets your game progress, you might consider creating a new Apple ID account to start using. Visit appleid.apple.com to do so.
You need to add your old and new Apple ID accounts to the same Family Sharing network if you want to keep access to your iTunes and App Store purchases.
Download the game on a different device
Finally, if you have a second iOS device, you could download and play the game on that instead. This could be an iPad, an iPod touch, or an old iPhone.
Before you download the game again, make sure you sign out of everything on the second device: Apple ID, iCloud, and Game Center. Otherwise your game data might return when you open the app.
You can use your existing Apple ID account in the App Store, but use a different account for everything else. This is now your gaming device!
Let us know what game you wanted to reset, and how did you do it in the end? For me, it was Rodeo Stampede and I had to delete data from iCloud.
Or if you’re looking for inspiration on new games to play, check out this post on the best iPhone MMORPGs!
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.