Reset iPhone to Factory Settings

Jan 17, 2012 - 31 Comments

Reset an iPhone to factory default settings If you want an iPhone to appear as brand new from a software standpoint, you need to reset the device to it’s factory settings. This is ideal if you plan on selling an iPhone or are going to transfer ownership of the device to another individual, and it can also be a very helpful troubleshooting technique for some persistent iOS based software problems. After you have reset the iPhone, it will reboot as if it was brand new and go through the standard new setup procedure that all new iOS devices go through, and can then either be set up as new or restored from a backup.

It’s very important to note that the factory reset process will remove all data and settings on the device, meaning you will lose everything that is stored on there, from pictures, to music, to notes, and specific app data. If you are looking to avoid that data loss, you will want to backup the iPhone with iTunes or back up to iCloud beforehand, that way you can restore personal data after the reset if you want to.

Reset iPhone to Factory Settings with iPhone Only

Warning: This will removal all data, music, photos, settings, literally everything, from the iPhone. Back up before beginning if you need any of your personal data again:

  • Launch “Settings” and tap on “General”
  • Scroll to the bottom of General and tap on “Reset”
  • Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings”
  • Enter the iPhone passcode if one is set, and confirm the reset by tapping on “Erase iPhone”

Reset iPhone

Resetting the iPhone on device can take a while depending on the model, the warning dialogue will give you a rough estimate but it can range from a few minutes to over an hour to restore the device completely. During this time the phone is otherwise inoperable, as everything is be cleared off.

Beginning the reset process is very fast, however, as demonstrated in the video below:

Once completed, the device will reboot and show the familiar new setup screen. You’ll either want to leave the iPhone in it’s factory new state for a new owner to configure, complete the setup as a brand new device yourself, or restore from a backup if you initiated the factory reset for troubleshooting purposes.

You can also restore iPhones as to factory default settings by resetting through iTunes and a computer connection, but that is not necessary and the method outlined above using only iOS Settings is by far the fastest way to reset an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Important note: if you do not have the iPhone passcode or you forgot it, you will need to initiate a factory reset by connecting the device to a computer with iTunes and put the device into Recovery Mode first. That is a different process than what is described here, but you can follow our guide to resetting forgotten passcodes if that is deemed necessary.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

31 Comments

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  1. Guanlik says:

    I’ve never try this b4 but does this step reset jb iphone to unjb state? Or will it screw up all data n leave iphone in “jb but no app” state?

  2. B.R. says:

    Do you think this will help to unlock 4.11.8 for iPhone 4 by resetting the modem firmware to what it was before 4.11.8?

    • Matt says:

      No, this just resets the iPhone to it’s default settings with the currently installed iOS build. It does not change the modem firmware unless you restore the device to iTunes to a newer version of iOS.

  3. [...] as a troubleshooting step or just preparing to transfer ownership of the hardware. You can reset the iPhone on the the device itself, but if the device is unresponsive, stuck on a boot loop, or otherwise needs to be restored [...]

  4. [...] rarely freeze, if you continuously encounter stability issues you may want to backup and then reset to factory defaults or restore to try and resolve the problems. stLight.options({ [...]

  5. [...] for me, but if you’re still geting nagged about the iCloud password you may need to just reset all iPhone settings and restore from a backup. stLight.options({ [...]

  6. Dee Dee says:

    I recently updated my iphone 4 to ios 5.1.1 with baseband preservation, with an intention to unlock using Absinthe, but when i plug my device, i get a message that says ”sorry device not supported” cant also restore with itunes, it keeps on saying that the server could not be reached. please help

  7. [...] could easily start over from scratch when laying out your app icons on an iPhone or iPad without resetting the entire device to factory defaults? You can thanks to a handy feature that resets the app icon [...]

  8. lucien says:

    hey, i got a really big problem with my iphone, i’ve just restore the factory setting as mentioned above and it has been showing me the apple icon for like three days now, i need help.. please some help, cuz i don’t see any trace of my iphone coming on again, what should i do???

    • Sayef says:

      um u should try connecting it to ur computer and restoring it or just let the battery out and restore it using itunes

  9. fatima says:

    will this also reset the current existing Apple ID and the password?

  10. Sayef says:

    SO i have a tethered jailbreak on iphone 3gs and i unlocked it using ultrasnow from cydia and am currently using it for t-mobile im also running on 6.15.00 modem firmware and ios 5.1 i want to restore the iphone and update to ios 5.1.1 and untether jailbreak it using absinthe i wanted to know will it change my modem firmware because i need it to be 6.15.00 so i can install ultrasnow and unlock it again so will the firmware change or stay 6.15.00 and will u think it will be unlocked again

  11. John says:

    I have a problem with my ipod i have putchased videos off my ipod and when i go to delete them they delete but when i look about my about in general settings the space left has not went up after deleting and my videos number has not changed. Can anyone help me with this and this is y i was wondering if i erase all my settings it should go away. But will i have to plug my ipof into a computer if i return it to factory settings???

  12. [...] to some claims, you do not need to reset the iPhone or iPad to factory defaults to fix improper word corrections, though if you had a great dictionary before it got messed up you [...]

  13. Robyn says:

    Okya, so I’m resetting my iPhone so I could un jailbreak it and update it, but it’s been black with the loading icon on it since 8:00 last night and is not responsive. What do I do?

  14. Well... says:

    you should just lay down and cry I guess.

  15. Mario says:

    i have an untether iphone 4 jaibroken with absinthe and ive tried everything to get it unjailbroken!! do you have any advice?

  16. shamica says:

    i recently upgraded my phone to io6 and since then i cant send or receive pics…any suggestions to what i can do to fix this?

  17. brahim says:

    I’ve reset the factory for the iPhone is no longer responds, help me please > i can only see the apple pic nothing ells .

  18. mfred says:

    i’ve reset the factory settings for my iphone 4 in order to sell it. how can I show the buyer that it is a 32GB iPhone and not a 16GB iPhone. is there a way to show the capacity?

  19. Lesley says:

    I have just purchased iPhone 3GS 16gb I have seen your advice on how to restore to a factory setting but afraid to do so as I don’t see a
    Pass code, would this be on the box or if not where will I find it? Thanks.

    • Manny says:

      The Passcode promt Screen will only appear as long as you have a passcode set for your iPhone. If you haven’t set the passcode,no passcode prompt screen will appear and you can continue restoring your iphone.

  20. Mike says:

    Hey guys, my iPhone 4S can’t be updated to iOS 6.0.1. It keeps saying an error has occured (no error name). Also, I’ve tried to erase and delete all content from the iPhone itself but the spinning loading circle jut keeps spinning and nothing happens. I’ve tried to factory restore it from my computer and it still shows an error when there was just 10 minutes remaining. If anyone had the same problem please let me know. The iPhone has been jail broken before but I deleted the Cynthia app from the phone.

    Thanks

  21. jorge ang says:

    Hi, my iphone was jailbroken, i pressed the reset all content and setting and my phone was loading for more than 4 hours now, what can i do? i plugged my phone into pc but not detected, pls assists me on this matter, i would like to reset it as factory setting thanks

  22. [...] an iOS device to a new owner or family member, and you don’t want to go all out and reset to factory settings for some [...]

  23. [...] of iOS, but for now the one-by-one approach is all that’s possible without going all out and erasing everything off the iPhone by resetting to factory settings. The downside to that approach, other than losing everything, is that once the iPhone is hooked up [...]

  24. [...] or baseband, which is generally impossible these days, nor does it wipe the iPhone and restore to all factory settings, which is a different process in that the phone is basically reset and then appears as if it was [...]

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