How to Factory Reset your iPhone and iPad
Do you need to reset your iPhone or iPad to factory settings? Maybe you're going to sell your phone and want to get rid of all your personal files. Or maybe your phone was stolen and you want to get rid of anything valuable on it. If that's the case, the fastest way to delete everything and start over is to do a factory reset. Here's how to factory reset your iPhone and iPad device.
Before you do a factory reset
When you do a factory reset, also called a "hard reset," all of your iPhone's settings and data are erased. Your iPhone or iPad device will go back to the way it was when it was first made. This means that all of your settings and information are gone, including your contacts, apps, browsing history, music library, notes, calendar info, voice memos, and everything else. It makes your iPhone look new without giving out any personal information.
Backup Your Device
An important reminder: before you do a factory reset on your iPhone or iPad, make sure you've backed up everything you want to keep on iCloud or iTunes. Apple devices come with encryption built in. This means that deleted files are completely gone, not just hidden and shown as free space. No software can bring back deleted files.
You can read this article for a more comprehensive guide on How to backup iPhone.
Connect to your Wi-Fi network and go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup to back up to iCloud. After you click "Back Up Now," your files will be stored on your iCloud account and linked to your Apple ID.
Go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Storage > Manage Storage to check if the backup was successful. This will show you when and how big your last backup was. You can now reset your iPhone or iPad to factory settings.
You can also open iTunes, connect your device to your computer (enter your passcode or say "Trust This Computer"), and follow the steps on the screen. When the list of devices comes up, choose your iPhone, iPad, or iPod and click Backup Now.
How to Factory Reset iPhone or iPad
in iOS 15
1. Go to Settings.
2. Tap General.
3. Swipe to the bottom then tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings then tap on Continue.
5. If asked, enter your passcode.
6. Enter your Apple ID password then confirm that you want to do a factory reset.
7. Wait for your device to erase. This can take a few minutes.
In iOS 14 and earlier
1. Go to Settings.
2. Tap on General.
3. Swipe down to the bottom and select Reset.
4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
5. Tap Erase Now then type your passcode if applicable
6. Tap Erase iPhone to confirm
7. Enter your Apple ID password if required then tap Erase.
How to Reset an iPhone or iPad Remotely
You can also remotely wipe your iPhone or iPad if you've lost it and want to be sure that no one can get to the data you've stored on it.
1. Go to icloud.com and sign in to your account.
2. Click on the Find my iPhone icon.
You will need to have a verification code sent to the phone number on file or to another Apple device with the same iCloud account. I
3. Choose the device from the menu that drops down.
4. Choose Erase (Device).
Keep in mind that if you lose your iPhone or iPad, you can play a sound on it from afar to help you find it.
Use iTunes to do a factory reset
You can reset your iPhone or iPad with iTunes on a PC or Mac. Even though this method isn't as easy as resetting your iPhone or iPad from the device itself, it is still a good way to do it.
You will need:
- The latest version of iTunes on a computer
- Your cord to charge
- A newer version of iOS on an iPhone or iPad
First, make sure everything is up to date and running the most recent Apple software.
Use the charging cord to hook up your device to your computer. Your device will ask you for the code to unlock the screen. Tap Trust Device and then type in the code.
iTunes should open on its own, and you should be able to choose your device on the left. Once you're done, click Restore iPhone, and when a pop-up window appears, confirm that you want to keep going.
If you're doing these steps on a PC with iTunes, click on the Summary tab to get to the Restore iPhone option.
If you get errors or your device won't turn on, this great article from Apple Support will help you figure out what's wrong and fix it.
Related: How to restart iPhone.
How Factory Reset iPhone without Password via Hardware Keys
Hardware keys can not only be used to move around but they can also be used to reset the device when the software fails.
1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time.
2. Keep holding down the button until the iPhone restarts.
3. When the Apple logo appears, let go of the buttons.
How to Reset iPhone without Password via iTunes
The next step is to use iTunes to reset the iPhone. But before you do this kind of reset in iTunes, make sure you've synced your iOS device perfectly with iTunes before or at least made a backup on iTunes. If you don't do this, you'll lose more data if you don't.
1. Connect iPhone to computer and open iTunes.
2. On the Summary/General tab, click "Restore iPhone" and then select Restore.
3. Wait until the process is done, and then you can use your iPhone without a passcode.
4. You can restore your iPhone from the most recent backup file by clicking Restore Backup in iTunes while setting it up.
How to Factory Reset iPhone without Password via Settings
1. Go to Settings
2. Tap General.
3. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
4. Tap Erase iPhone.
5. Wait for your device to restart
6. Go to Apps & Data.
7. Tap Restore from an iCloud Backup.
8. Select a backup.
9. Wait until the restoration is done.
Signing out of iCloud
Signing out of iCloud is the first step to wiping your phone. This will delete your iCloud account and turn off the activation lock on your Apple device. Once the iPhone or iPad is given to the person, they can sign in to their own iCloud account.
Note: You don't have to do this if you just want to start over or are trying to fix a problem with your device. You can get back your data after a factory reset as long as you know your Apple ID and password.
Go to Settings, tap your name, and then tap Sign Out.
How to sign out of iCloud remotely:
You can also remove the device from the list by going to icloud.com and signing in. Tap on the Find my iPhone login, choose the device, and then tap on Remove from Account.
This must be done before selling an Apple device, or the new owner won't be able to sign into their own iCloud account. If you've lost your device and want to find it, don't do these steps.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does factory reset does to your iPhone?
When you do a factory reset, also called a "hard reset," all of your iPhone's settings and data are erased. The iOS device deletes all of your photos, videos, contacts, call logs, passwords, messages, browsing history, calendar, chat history, notes, apps you've installed, etc.
What remains on iPhone after factory reset?
After a factory reset, the only software left on the device is the iOS software that came with it from Apple. This includes the iOS, Calculator, Calendar, Camera, iMessages, FaceTime, Clock, Compass, Contacts, and more. But any information that was saved in these apps is lost.
Does factory reset deletes data from iCloud and iTunes?
No, resetting your iPhone to factory settings doesn't delete your information from iCloud or iTunes backup.
The backup files for iCloud are kept on Apple's cloud servers, while the backup files for iTunes are kept on your PC or Mac drive.
This is why you should back up your important iPhone photos, videos, contacts, etc. in iCloud or iTunes before doing a factory reset.
Can I get back the information I lost when I reset my phone?
No. When your phone is set back to factory settings, all of the information on it is erased. You can check the cloud services you may have used on your phone to see if they saved any information. You can get back photos, documents, and contacts using iCloud, Google Photos, Google Drive, Dropbox, and your email account.
I can't sign back into my iCloud because I can't get the verification code. How can I help?
If Apple is trying to send a verification code to another Apple device and you don't have one, choose the option that says you didn't get a code and then tap the option to send it to your phone number.
Call Apple at 1-800-MyApple if your phone number is no longer valid. Most of the time, the support team is helpful and will try to help you get back into your iCloud account. It is a long process, and you may have to show proof of purchase or wait a few days for a new code after your phone number has been changed. The activation lock on an Apple device is basically a way to keep it from being stolen, so it is hard to get around without proper verification.
Should I reset my device to factory settings if I lost it?
This depends on a number of things. Did you have a passcode? If your phone is locked with a passcode, the information on it may be safe enough that you can use Find My iPhone to find it. If you don't have a passcode, it's probably best to just factory reset it to keep your private information safe from the people who took it. If your Apple device is locked or stolen but the thief has turned it off, you can set an alert on icloud.com to let you know if the device is turned on and connected to the internet.
Can I delete my iPhone if I don't have my Apple ID or passcode?
Even though you might be able to delete an iPhone without the passcode, you will always need your Apple ID and password. The software will need this information even if you connect the device to iTunes. If you bought the iOS device from a private seller and they forgot to sign out of their iCloud, your best bet is to get in touch with them and ask them to sign into their iCloud and remove your device. This will remove the activation lock.
If you can't get in touch with the seller, you can contact Apple, but without the seller's permission, you probably won't get much help. Even so, there are a lot of third-party services that let you reset your device to factory settings without your Apple ID or password. If you want to do this, you should be careful. Yes, you can put an iPhone in DFU mode, connect it to iTunes, and choose "Restore" to completely reset the phone. But there will still be an activation lock to get around, which you won't be able to do unless you know the original Apple ID or password.
Will Apple help me reset to factory settings a device that belongs to a dead person if I show them a death certificate?
If you just lost a friend or loved one, you might want to keep using their iPhone or iPad. Apple isn't much help in this case, even with a death certificate. For someone else's privacy and to keep their data safe, the company keeps protecting their information even after they've died.
There are a lot of online forums and third-party websites that claim to give you access, but many of them are scams, especially if you're using a newer version of iOS. There is no official way to get into someone else's phone if they didn't give you the screen unlock code or if you can't use their iTunes account on their computer.
As was already said, there are a lot of reasons why you might need to reset. When everything works as it should, it's easy to reset an iPhone or iPad to factory settings. If you have any trouble doing a factory reset on your iPhone and iPad, just leave a comment below and we will help you solve it.