How to Factory Reset Your iPhone or iPad: A simple guide to wiping your iOS device

Do you need to factory reset your iPhone or iPad? Perhaps you’re planning on selling your handset and want to wipe all your personal files, or maybe you’ve been the victim of theft and want to remotely scrub anything valuable on the device. If that’s the case, performing a factory reset is the quickest way to delete everything and start all over again.

An important reminder: before you factory reset your iPhone or iPad, make sure you’ve backed up anything you want to keep on the iCloud or iTunes. Apple devices are encrypted out of the box. This means erased files aren’t simply hidden and displayed as free space, but are completely removed – no software can revive deleted files.

Apple has support pages explaining the methods you can use to back up your iOS device, and these include via iCloud or via iTunes.

To back up on iCloud, connect to your Wi-Fi network and go to Settings, iCloud and iCloud Backup. After you’ve hit Back Up Now, your files will be stored on your iCloud account and linked to your Apple ID. You can check this backup has been successful by going to Settings, iCloud, iCloud Storage, and Manage Storage. This will reveal the time and size of your last backup. Now you’re free to factory reset your iPhone or iPad.

Alternatively, open iTunes, connect your device to your computer (enter your passcode or tell it you ‘Trust This Computer’), and follow the on-screen steps. Choose your iPhone, iPad, or iPod when the device list appears and click Backup Now.

The easiest way to back up your media is by connecting your iPhone or iPad to a laptop.

How to factory reset your iPhone and iPad

Wiping your iOS device is easy, the only thing you’re going to need is your device passcode, Apple ID, and Apple Password.reset_iphone_1

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.
  2. An Erase iPhone/iPad warning box will now pop up. Click Erase and enter the device’s passcode and Apple ID info when prompted.
  3. The device will then reset and, when completed, you’ll be presented with an iPhone/iPad as if it were straight out of the box.

To avoid an activation lock be sure to sign out of iCloud before performing the factory reset. You can do this by:

  1. Visit ‘Settings’ and tap on your name at the top
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap ‘Sign Out’

This is especially important if someone else is using the phone after you. An activation lock will use the tools in Find My iPhone to ensure another user can’t access the device. If this isn’t removed you’ll certainly get a phone call asking you for your Apple ID password.

How to reset an iPhone or iPad remotely

If you’ve lost your iPhone or iPad and want the peace of mind knowing any stored data will not be accessed, you can also remotely wipe your device.

  1. Go to and enter your Apple ID then click on the Find My iPhone icon.
  2. Click on the option All Devices > chose the device you want to erase.
  3. Click Erase iPhone/iPad.

Note that if you’ve lost your device, you can remotely play a sound on your iPhone/iPad to help you locate it.

How to reboot (soft reset) your iPhone or iPad

If your iOS device has crashed or stalled, and you only wish to reset (reboot) it, then you can do so easily without deleting any of your data by pressing and holding the Home and Power buttons simultaneously for 5-10 seconds.

For newer model iPhones you won’t have a home button so try this instead:

  1. Press and release the ‘Volume Up” button
  2. Press and release the ‘Volume Down’ button
  3. Hold the ‘Side Button’

This will force restart your phone closing out any unnecessary processes and fix a lot of your issues. This also works if your phone randomly shuts off and won’t turn back on. Be sure to plug the phone in and perform the soft reset, using an iPad charging block works best.

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