How to factory reset your iPhone or iPad and erase all personal data

How to factory reset your iPhone or iPad and erase all personal data

If you have one of the great iPhones or versatile iPads and are planning to upgrade to a newer version of either device, it’s a good idea to sell your existing one or trade it in to save a few bucks. It’s also a good idea to give your older iDevice away to someone in need or even a family member or friend who doesn’t need the latest and greatest gadget. Before you do this, though, it’s a good idea to remove all your existing data from the device. This is how to factory reset an iPhone or iPad.

All of us have some sort of sensitive data on our smartphones and tablets that we don’t want others to access. A factory reset wipes all of your personal data — as well as settings and other configurations — and resets the phone to how it was when you first bought it. This means when you give the device to someone else, the software is as good as new, and they would have to set it up with their own information. Sometimes, a factory reset even helps with fixing some issues you might be facing on your device. Note that the following steps are applicable for all iOS and iPadOS versions including the latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.


Backing up your iDevice

iCloud Backup

Before you factory reset your iPhone or iPad, you should back up all your data so it’s easy to restore all your personal data including apps, accounts, photos, music, etc, on your new phone, or on the same phone if you plan to use it again after resetting it.

The best way to back up your iPhone or iPad is to make an iCloud Backup by going to Settings > Your Apple ID (displayed at the top of the screen) > iCloud > iCloud Backup and turning the toggle On if it isn’t already. Alternatively, you can also plug your iPhone or iPad into a Mac or PC and back up your data locally on your computer.

How to Factory Reset an iPhone or iPad

Once you’ve backed up your data, you can go ahead and factory reset your iPhone or iPad by following these steps:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and head over to the Apple ID Settings by tapping on your name displayed at the top of the screen.

Apple ID Settings for Backup

  • Then, head over to the Find My section and tap on Find My iPhone and turn the toggle Off.

Find My Settings

  • Now, return to the Settings menu and go to General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Factory Reset Options on iPhone and iPad

  • Once you select the option, you’ll be prompted to enter your iDevice’s passcode — which you use to unlock your iPhone or iPad.
  • Then you’ll be asked to enter the password to your iCloud/Apple ID account.

Factory Reset Menu on iPhone and iPad

  • Enter both your PIN as well as your iCloud password correctly and your iPhone or iPad will factory reset.

Wait for your iPhone or iPad to reboot (it will take a few minutes) and then you can set it up just like you would set up a brand new iPhone or iPad. It’s a wise idea to keep the iDevice connected to a power source during the process. You wouldn’t want the battery to die while the device is performing a system-level task.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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