If your iPhone has a major problem or you’ve decided to sell it and want to erase all your personal information you will need to perform a factory reset. A word of caution here, this will erase all of your settings and data from the phone, so if you want to keep any of that stuff perform an iCloud backup.
Fortunately, it’s a very simple process to restore your iPhone to its original factory settings: all you need is your Apple device and a few minutes of your time. The process itself may differ according to which version of iOS you’re using, but whether you’re performing a factory reset using your untethered iPhone, or iTunes, it’s basically the same. And, if you’re performing a factory reset on any iOS device, you can follow these same instructions:
Whenever you’re performing a task like this, it’s imperative that the very first thing you do is back-up your iPhone’s data. Remember that, after you’ve finished, you’ll need a copy of your most recent data to restore onto your iPhone.
iCloud and iTunes are your two options when backing up your data. If you’re using iTunes, simply sync your iPhone to your computer. Backing up to iCloud entails going to Settings > iCloud > Backup, and creating a new backup.
Disable iCloud and Find My iPhone
The next step in the process is to disable iCloud/Find My iPhone. In order to reset your iPhone, there’s a security feature called Activation Lock in iOS 7 and up which requires that the Apple ID used to set up the iPhone be used.
Your iPhone won’t be usable by the next person if you don’t disable the Activation Lock.
When you turn off iCloud/Find My iPhone, the Activation Lock is disabled. Here are your instructions on how to do this:
- First, go to Settings then tap on iCloud;
- Next, go to the bottom of the screen and tap on Sign Out;
- At this point, you may be asked to supply your iCloud/Apple ID password. Enter the password;
- Now that iCloud has been turned off, move to the next step.
Restore iPhone to Factory Settings
- You need to return to the main Settings screen, so on the top left of the screen tap the Settings menu;
- Scroll down, then tap on the General menu;
- Next, scroll to the bottom then tap on the Reset menu;
You’ll see that there are a number of reset options on this screen, ranging from Home screen layout, resetting the Dictionary, to resetting the iPhone’s Settings. You’ll notice that there’s no specific ‘factory reset’ label; the option you’re looking for is Erase All Content and Settings. Tap on that.
If your iPhone has a pass-code, it’s here that you’ll be asked to enter it. If there’s no pass-code on your iPhone, move on to the next step.
You’ll now receive a warning! This is to ensure you fully understand that proceeding with the process will result in all your settings, data, music and other media being erased. If, for some reason, you decide you don’t want to proceed, tap on Cancel. If you’re still happy to proceed, tap on Erase.
It can take a couple of minutes for everything to be deleted from your iPhone, but the end result will be a brand newish Apple phone (from a software perspective, that is).
Hard Reset Your iPhone
You’ll find that a basic restart will resolve a lot of issues, but not all of them.
There are some cases where you need a hard reset, which is a more powerful option: an example is when your iPhone has frozen and doesn’t respond when you press the Sleep/Wake button.
A hard reset helps your iPhone to start again from scratch: it not only restarts the iPhone, it refreshes the memory that apps run in. Don’t be concerned that your data will be deleted. A hard reset is typically not required in most cases, but if required, please follow these instructions:
- Hold your iPhone with the phone screen facing you, then hold the Home button at the bottom center and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time;
- Do not let go when you see the power-off slider. Continue holding them both until the screen goes black;
- Next, wait until you see the silver Apple logo;
You can let go when you see this logo, because the iPhone is now rebooting.
How to Reset any iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
With the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, there’s a slightly different process for a reset. The reason is that, on these iPhone generation, the Home button is no longer a true button. It’s now become a 3D Touch panel. This means there’s a different process for resetting.
With the exception of holding down the Home button, all steps with the iPhone 7 are the same as for any iPhone’s. The difference is that you need to hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Volume Down button at the same time.