When you reset your iPhone or iPad, all of your data is erased and the unit is reset to factory defaults. (This is in contrast to the less extreme processes of restarting and force-restarting, which both save your data and settings and should be attempted first.)
Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to factory reset your iPhone or iPad.
However, there are a few things you should do first, which we’ll go through in this post. We’ll show you how to reset an iPhone or iPad, as well as the measures and precautions you should take first, and how to recover data from a phone or tablet that has been wiped by accident.
Do I need to reset my iPhone’s factory settings?
If your iPhone or iPad is acting up and you’ve tried everything else, a complete reset might be required – but you should try restarting your device first. If your phone keeps crashing or freezing, or if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, a factory reset can help.
Modern electronic devices are complex, and they can get themselves into a bit of a tangle from time to time. Problems that cause a device to get stuck in a loop, appear slow or otherwise hinder output can be resolved by resetting and wiping it.
If you’re selling your iPhone (or giving it to a family member or friend), make sure you uninstall all of the confidential information on it. If you don’t, a shady buyer might gain access to your social media accounts, financial records, and even personal images and videos, allowing them to snoop through your private moments or steal your identity.
How to factory reset your iPhone
There are a few steps to follow if you want to fully uninstall your computer and restore factory settings.
Make a backup of your iPhone
We have a separate article that explains how to back up an iPhone, but here’s a quick summary:
Step 1: To back up your iOS device, you can use iCloud, iTunes (or the Finder).
Step 2: Go to Settings > iCloud > Backup and make sure the function is turned on. Look under the Back Up Now option, where the date and time should be shown, to see when the last backup was run. If you haven’t done so already, tap the Back Up Now button and follow the on-screen directions.
Step 3: To back up your iPhone or iPad with iTunes/The Finder, connect your device to your PC or Mac through the charging cable. Select the iPhone or iPad icon from the drop-down menu.
Factory-reset your iPhone
You’re prepared to perform a factory reset until you’re sure you’ve backed up your iPad or iPhone. This will fully wipe your system, which is why you should make a backup first.
Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Reset and then choose to Erase All Content and Settings to reset your iPhone or iPad.
Step 2: If you have an iCloud backup set up, iOS will prompt you to upgrade it to avoid losing any unsaved data. We recommend that you take this advice and tap Back Up Then Erase.
Step 3: You’ll get a warning box after typing in your passcode (if you’ve set one) with the option to Erase iPhone (or iPad) in red. This should be tapped.
Step 4: To validate the operation, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID password. The device will be wiped and returned to the original setup screen that you saw the first time you used it.
Step 5: Depending on whether you’ve upgraded to macOS Catalina or not, you can also fully reset your iPhone or iPad using iTunes or Finder. You should see a ‘Restore iPhone‘ button when you plug in your iOS device, which will fully reset the device.
You’re now ready to sell your iPhone or iPad.