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How to Factory Reset Your iPhone or iPad

Wondering how to factory reset your iPhone or iPad? Here’s how to back up, reset, and restore your iOS device’s data easily.


Image showing an iPhone on the Hello screen after a reset on a wood table

Resetting your iPhone or iPad to its factory settings is a straightforward but important task. You may need to erase your iPhone before you sell it, to fix bugs, or to just start again with the device from fresh. Here’s a complete guide on how to factory reset your iPhone safely.

Prepare Your iPhone or iPad for a Factory Reset

There are a few steps you should take before resetting your iPhone to factory settings. When resetting the device, you want to make sure you do it properly, so these important steps are a must.

Before hitting the big Erase Content and Reset button, you’ll need to back up your iPhone, turn off Find My on the device, and disable Apple’s two-factor authentication.

You can skip over the last step—disabling two-factor authentication—if you’ve got another Apple device you can use in the verification process.

Step 1. Back Up Your iPhone or iPad

Before resetting your iPhone or iPad to factory settings, you should back up your iOS data from the device. This allows you to easily restore the device, or move your contacts, apps, and settings to a new device after wiping the old one clean.

You can back up your data directly iCloud, or you can back up to a Mac or a Windows PC with iTunes installed. The process on your phone is far simpler, but it requires a good amount of iCloud space.

Related: How to Back Up Your iPhone and iPad

Step 2. Disable Find My

The next step to complete before clearing your iPhone or iPad is to disable the Find My feature on the device. Without turning the setting off, your iPhone will become locked after you reset it and you won’t be able to use it as usual.

Here’s what to do if you need to disable Find My:

  1. Go to Settings and tap your name at the top of the list of options.
  2. Select Find My from the menu options.
  3. Toggle Find My iPhone off.
  4. You’ll be prompted to enter your iCloud password to switch it off.

Step 3. Restore to Factory Settings

Just like backing up your device, there are two ways you can erase your iPhone or iPad clean: either right on your device or using a computer. Once again, it’s probably easier to do this directly from your iPhone.

Using Your iPhone or iPad

It’s pretty simple to reset your iPhone to factory settings from the device itself.

Go to Settings > General > Reset. To restore your device to factory settings, tap Erase All Content and Settings. You can use the other options to just erase some settings or content from your iPhone or iPad.

The buttons to factory reset your iPhone.

Since you should have just performed a backup, you can tap Erase Now. If you haven’t backed up, now would be a good time to do so by tapping Backup Then Erase, or you can skip this if you’re not worried about a backup.

Screenshot of the confirmation box when resetting your iPhone.

If you have a passcode on your device, you’ll see a prompt to enter it. In the dialog box that pops up confirming that you’re about to erase your iPhone, tap Erase. Up to this point, it’s still possible to exit the process without wiping your device.

Another dialog box will pop to confirm you want to continue. Once you tap Erase again, there’s no going back.

You should see a white screen with the black Apple logo and can keep an eye on the progress bar. Once your data has been wiped, your phone will restart, and you’ll get prompted to go through the steps of setting up a new device. (This is where your backup will come in handy.)

Using a Mac

Just like the backup process, Apple has designed the reset process to be really easy on a Mac:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a Lightning-to-USB cable.
  2. Open Finder and select your device from Locations in the sidebar.
  3. Select General from the bar at the top of the window.
  4. Right near the top, under Software you have the option to Restore iPhone.
  5. In the window, click Restore again to confirm the process.

The option to reset your iPhone on Mac.

Using a Windows Computer

If your device works normally, getting back to factory settings using iTunes is also a pretty simple task.

Open iTunes on your Windows computer and connect your device using a USB cable. If prompted, enter your passcode or accept the prompt that says Trust This Computer. Then click on the device icon to open up the iPhone or iPad Summary panel.

In the Summary panel, click Restore. You’ll be prompted to back up your device. If you’ve just backed it up, you can click Don’t Back Up. (If you haven’t backed up, this is a good opportunity to do so.)

Screenshot of backing up an iPhone in iTunes on Windows.

Click Restore (or Restore and Update if there’s a new version of iOS available) to confirm.

How to Restore Your Backup

Now that your iPhone or iPad has been reverted to its out-the-box settings, you can restore your backup from the previous incarnation of your device. Once again, you can do this directly on your device or by using a computer.

Related: How to Restore Your iPhone or iPad From a Backup

Your iPhone, Restored

That’s all it takes to factory reset your iPhone or iPad. It’s not difficult if you’ve followed all the steps to ensure the process goes as planned. And, as long as you’ve backed up your device, you can restore everything with ease.


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