How To: Factory Reset iPhone/iPad

There are many reasons why you would need to do a factory reset of one of your iOS devices. From a misbehaving device, to a device you just sold, doing a factory reset may be essential. Today’s post will review the How To: Factory Reset iPhone/iPad.


If your iPhone or iPad is misbehaving, and simple fixes like rebooting and making sure everything is updated are not working, a full reset may be necessary. A factory reset can help resolve issues with your phone if it’s crashing or freezing, or suffering from problems you can’t identify.

Modern electronic devices can be very complicated, and the same way that you sometimes can get confused while trying to do something, your gadgets can get themselves into a bit of a confused state as well. Resetting and wiping a device can clear out problems that cause it to get stuck in a loop, appear sluggish or otherwise impair performance.

In addition, if you’re selling your iPhone or iPad (or passing it down to a family member or friend) it’s absolutely vital that you delete all the sensitive data stored on it. If not, an unscrupulous buyer could gain access to your social media profiles, your financial information, and even your personal photos and videos, enabling them to browse through your private moments or steal your identity.

Needed Prep Before Reset 

The following portion of the steps will cover what you should do before we get to the reset.  When you do the reset, you are going nuclear on your device.  If you don’t do the prep, then your data (that I’m sure you would like to keep), may not be around for you later.

For starters on the prep – 

  • Make sure you know what your Apple ID and Password are.  That will come up with the steps below.  If you want to make sure you know it, go to and try and log in.  If you don’t remember, then you can click on Forgot Apple ID or Password under the sign in and request a reset from Apple.

icloud log in

  • If you paired an Apple Watch with your iPhone, unpair your Apple Watch. Trust me on this one, It’s a pain if you don’t because once your phone is reset the watch won’t recognize your phone as the same phone.
  • Once your device is unpaired, let’s make sure you have a backup of all the data on your device. You are about to erase your device (in a couple of steps below), so you better make sure all your data is backed up before we get to that step.  To make sure you have a current back up
    • Connect your device to Wi-Fi
    • Go to Settings > [your name], and tap iCloud.
    • Tap iCloud Backup.


  •  Tap Back Up Now. Stay connected to your Wi-Fi network until the process completes.
    • You can check the progress and confirm the backup completed. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Under Back Up Now, you’ll see the date and time of your last backup.
  • Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store. This one is really important if you are giving/selling your device. If you are keeping your device, then you can skip this step. 
    • If you’re using iOS 10.3 or later, tap Settings > [your name]. Scroll down and tap Sign Out. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
    • If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password. Then go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.

How To Reset iOS

Now that you have completed the prep work, to do the reset on iOS

  • Go back to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If you turned on Find My [device], you might need to enter your Apple ID and password. NOTE: This is why step 1 above was to make sure you know your Apple ID and password.

  • If asked for your device passcode or Restrictions passcode, enter it. Then tap Erase [device].
  • Once erased, just follow the prompts to set up the device again.  If you took the time to confirm your iCloud back up, prior to doing the erase, your data should restore as soon as you log back in to iCloud during the set up process.

One More Step For Those Who Use 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) 

If you have set up 2FA using the iOS device that you will be giving away/selling, you are going to want to remove that device from your Trusted Device list.  For starters, you are going to want to go back to whatever app is using 2FA on and either set up with whatever your new device is, or turn off 2FA until you get your new device.  Once you have done that, to remove the device from your trusted list do the following

  • On macOS Catalina:
  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Select Apple ID.
  3. Select a device from the sidebar.
  • On macOS Mojave or earlier:
  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Select iCloud, then click Account Details.
  3. Click the Devices tab.
  4. Select a device from the list.
  • On the web:
  1. Go to your Apple ID account page.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  3. Go to the Devices section.

The device list shows the devices that you’re currently signed in to with your Apple ID. Select a device to view device info like the model and serial number. Below that you will see the option to remove the device from your account.

Select whatever device you are giving away/selling and remove from the account.

Final Thoughts 

If your device is being a pain in the you know what, hopefully resetting will take care of the issue. If you are giving away/selling your device, then resetting will be needed to protect yourself and your data.


How To: Factory Reset iPhone/iPad

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