How to factory reset your iPhone or iPad: A simple guide to wiping your iOS device


Do you need to get rid of all your data on your iPhone or iPad? Perhaps you’re thinking of selling your handset and want to wipe your photos and messages, or maybe you’ve been the victim of theft and want to remotely remove anything personal 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 go any further, make sure you’ve backed up anything you want to keep. 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 – this means no software can bring back 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 backup 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. 

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. 

See also: How to backup your iPhone or iPad

The easiest way to do back up your media is by connecting your iPhone or iPad to a laptop. If you’ve misplaced your lightning cable, you can get a cheap one on Amazon for a few quid. 

See also: what’s the best smartphone 2016?

How to 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.

  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.

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 > enter your Apple ID > click Find My iPhone.
  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.

If you do need to get hold of a totally new iPhone, you’ll need to go to the Apple store or a mobile outlet, or you can get a SIM-free model on Amazon.

Next: Check out our tips and tricks for the iPhone 6s.

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