Whether you’re selling your iPhone or taking it for the repair you should reset it to delete your accounts and remove your content – but there’s more to it than simply wiping your iPhone. What about your data? What if your phone is simply frozen and you want to get it working again?
We cover everything you need to know about resetting your iPhone or iPad right here.
Factory reset an iPhone or iPad by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all content and settings. You will be prompted to enter your passcode and Apple ID before the process completes.
How to soft reset an iPhone or iPad
If your phone has frozen and you want to restart it but none of the buttons work, don’t fret; you can simply perform a soft reset.
For modern iPhones without a home button (iPhone X and later) press and release the volume up button, then the volume down button, then press and hold the side button (sleep/wake) until the Apple logo appears.
If you’ve got an iPhone with a home button, hold the power button and home button down at the same time until the device turns off and you see the Apple logo.
Back up before you reset
There are occasions where you might want to factory reset your device, not because you want to give it away, but because it’s playing up.
The easiest way to back up your iPhone or iPad is to use iCloud – the 5GB of free storage should suffice for most backups, but you can purchase more storage if required.
To back up your device using iCloud, simply go to the Settings app > [Your name] top menu > iCloud > iCloud Backup. If it’s switched off, you’ll want to turn it on. If it’s already on you should have a backup from the last time your iPhone was charging and connected to Wi-Fi, but you can force a backup by tapping Back Up Now.
You could also make a full backup by connecting your iPad or iPhone to your computer. On Windows (or macOS 10.14 or earlier with iTunes) it’s a case of plugging it in, unlocking it, waiting for it to show up in iTunes, and then clicking on it. It should open the Summary screen, where you’ll see a Backups section. Simply click the Back Up Now button.
Top tip: check the Encrypt iPhone backup box if you want all your passwords to be saved.
If you’re running macOS 10.15 Catalina or later, iTunes has been replaced by Finder. To back up using the Finder, plug your iPhone into your Mac, open a Finder window and look for your iPhone in the left-hand menu. Select the General tab and locate the Backups category. Select Back up all of the data on your iPhone to your Mac to initiate the process.
Once that’s done, you can begin the reset process. It’s also worth remembering to remove your SIM card before you pass on the iPhone or iPad on, as this may have information stored on it, and you might want to continue using it in a new phone or tablet.
How to reset an iPhone or iPad
The steps or wording might vary slightly depending on your version of iOS or iPadOS, but generally speaking, here’s how to reset an iPhone or iPad.
Step 1. Tap Settings, then General. Scroll down until you see Transfer or Reset iPhone (also labelled as Reset in earlier versions of iOS).
Step 2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings. Depending on whether you’ve set a Passcode and / or a Restrictions Passcode (they are different) you might have to enter that code or password in order to erase and reset it. There is no way to reset the device unless you enter the code(s).
Step 3. You’ll be shown a summary of all the data being removed from your iPhone. To confirm, tap Continue. At this point, you’ll have to enter your Apple ID password. This is so the account can be removed from your device, and Find My iPhone can be switched off.
If you merely restore an iPhone via iTunes, you’ll be asked to enter the Apple ID and password when it reboots. Resetting it using the method we’re describing here will prevent the iPhone asking for an Apple ID when it restarts.
Step 4. The reset process can take a minute or two, after which you’ll see the welcome screen asking you to swipe to continue. It’s then ready to be sold on, handed to a family member or taken to an Apple Store for repair.