How to Reformat an iPad
If you recently upgraded to a new iPad and you’re either selling or passing along your old iPad, you’ll want to reformat the iPad before sending it off to live with it’s new owner. There are two ways to do this, one from iTunes and one from the iPad directly using iOS settings, and both methods remove all of your personal data, songs, media, content, and settings from the iPad.
Reformat & Erase the iPad Using iTunes
This will remove all of your apps, data, and settings from the iPad so that it is ready to be set up as a new device:
- Launch iTunes and plug your iPad into your computer
- Select the iPad from the list on the left side of iTunes
- Look under the “Summary” tab (it’s the default tab), and click on “Restore” as shown below
- If you don’t want to maintain a backup of the iPad, click on “Don’t Back Up”
- The restore process will take a few minutes as it clears out your iPad data and then restores the iOS system software to the device
- The device has been reformatted and restored to its original state when you see the ‘Connect to iTunes’ screen
Now if you plan on selling the iPad or giving it to someone else, this is a good place to stop. If you just want to reformat the iPad so you can set it up again yourself from a clean start, connect the iPad to iTunes and choose “Set Up As New” to claim the device again.
The other method to format the iPads data is through the iPad itself, although I would recommend the iTunes way if you plan on passing the hardware onto someone else.
Reformat & Erase Content Using the iPad
You can also erase all the iPad data directly from iOS:
- Tap on the “Settings” app to open it
- Tap to “General”
- Tap on “Reset” and scroll to the bottom
- Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings”, then tap to confirm you wish to erase the everything, this can’t be undone
This works on all versions of iOS for iPad, but keep in mind the appearance of the settings may look slightly different depending on your version of system software.
If you have a passcode set, you will be required to enter it before proceeding. Enter the passcode and then confirm that you want to erase all the data.
Going through iOS is generally a faster method and it will clear out all the settings and data, but it’s not considered as secure because it does not restore the iPad system software. Again once you are finished you can give the iPad to it’s new owner and connect it to iTunes to start anew.