There may come a time when you want to reset your iPhone to its state when it shipped out of the factory. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as pushing a paperclip into a hole on the site and powering it off. Those days are long gone.
That said, it’s not as difficult as you may imagine. No matter what your reasons are for wanting to restore your iPhone to factory settings, it only takes a few steps to complete that procedure.
Why Would You Factory Reset Your iPhone?
The main reason you’d want to restore your iPhone to factory state is if you’re selling it or trading it in. Even if you’re giving it to a friend or family member, you probably don’t want to give them all your data. Most carriers that offer a trade-in ask that you at least turn off “Find My iPhone,” but resetting your phone entirely is a better way to deal with it.
Another reason is that, while it’s rare, you may occasionally encounter bugs that only a full reset can solve. You may be unsure, but before you go buy a new phone, starting over from scratch may be worth a try.
First, Back Up Your Data!
You might have guessed already that restoring your iPhone to factory settings will wipe all your data. Because of this, you want to do a full backup.
Chances are good you already have a backup or synchronization plan for your important data, like photos and email. That said, you may have apps and services installed that you count on and are a pain to reinstall. A full backup makes it easy to reinstall these either on the same phone or a new device.
Back Up to iCloud or iTunes
To get started, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Then, open Settings, tap on your name, select iCloud, tap “iCloud Backup,” then tap “Back Up Now.” This will back up your data to Apple’s cloud storage so that you can easily restore that data on your new iPhone.
If you don’t want to use iCloud, you can create a local backup (on your computer). If you use Windows, you’ll want to download iTunes for your PC. And if you use a Mac, iTunes is no longer available. Instead, you can just connect your device, open Finder, and locate your iPhone.
If you see a message asking to trust your device (once you connect it to your computer) or enter a code, follow the steps onscreen. Select your iPhone once it appears in iTunes/Finder, then under the Backups section, make sure to select the option to back up all your data to your computer. Lastly, select “Back Up Now” and wait for the process to complete.
Reset Your iPhone to Factory Settings
Before we move on, there are two things to note. The first is that this is irreversible, so make sure you’ve backed up. The second is that while this will completely erase your iPhone, it won’t be exactly like it was when it came from the factory, as it will still have the latest version of iOS or at least the last version you updated to.
How to Reset Using iTunes
Open iTunes/Finder and connect your phone or, if you’ve just backed up with iTunes, keep your phone plugged in. Select your iPhone, then select the General tab. Here, click “Restore iPhone.” Confirm your decision and iTunes will erase your smartphone’s contents and install the latest version of iOS.
How to Reset Your iPhone
Open Settings, select General, then scroll down and tap Reset. Here, tap “Erase All Content and Settings.” Enter your passcode or Apple ID password if prompted. Your device will erase your data and existing settings. When the process is completed, your phone will reboot on its own.
Now that you’ve reset your iPhone back to factory settings, you’re free to do what you want with it. Sell it, give it away, or just toss it into a drawer as a backup should you lose or damage your new phone. With your data backed up, moving to a new iPhone will be quick and painless.
Finally, if you’re facing technical issues with your iPhone, here’s how to put your iPhone into DFU Mode and how to restart your iPhone if it’s stuck on the Apple logo.