Reset iPhone to Factory Settings

Jan 17, 2012 - 73 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.

This method is going to use the iPhone exclusively to perform the data removal and factory reset, meaning the entire process is going to be finished on the iPhone through iOS Settings without the need to connect to a computer or anything else.

How to Reset iPhone to Factory Settings with iPhone Only

Warning: This will removal all data, music, photos, settings, literally everything, and the entire process is done from the iPhone without the need of using a computer. Back up before beginning if you need any of your personal data again, this will basically format the iPhone:

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

This is what the proper setting looks like in modern iOS versions:

Reset iPhone to Factory Settings

The option looks slightly different in older versions of iOS, but the process is identical:

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.

To be clear, this completely obliterates any and all user data on the iOS device, it can not be undone (unless a backup was made and is then restored). How definitive and how secure is this iPhone erase option? Extremely secure in modern versions of iOS, as Apple details and explains in their iOS Security Whitepaper for versions beyond 9.0 and newer of iOS software:

The “Erase all content and settings” option in Settings obliterates all the keys in Effaceable Storage, rendering all user data on the device cryptographically inaccessible. Therefore, it’s an ideal way to be sure all personal information is removed from a device before giving it to somebody else or returning it for service. Important: Do not use the “Erase all content and settings” option until the device has been backed up, as there is no way to recover the erased data.

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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joan says:

    Hi i have a apple ipad 2. It is deactivated. Bought it 2nd hand. No contact for previous owner. I have no icloud id or password or email nothing. How do i factory reset or open the ipad please?

  2. dylan says:

    i bought an iphone 5c from someone and it needs an apple id from the person who was using it and i cant seem to find the person what should i do please help

  3. Omiyale says:

    My iPhone 7 is unable to activate

  4. Francisco says:

    Hi guys. Do I have to have a Carrier or WiFi to reset iPhone? Thanks!

  5. John Clark says:

    I did a factory reset on iPhone 6 touch. The touch is broken on it how do I get into the phone or throw up a passcode or something.
    on screen, I get a Hello in a dozen languages or more.

    On factory reset I erased everything.

  6. Brian says:

    My iphone 4s recently started rebooting on its own. I tried factory reset but problem still persists. Any suggestions on what to do?

  7. Azzedine says:

    How long does the iPhone 4 Erase All Content and Settings feature take?
    I am trying this, but it’s still loading, please help me.

  8. Lynda says:

    Trying to reset to factory settings on my iPhone 6,can not for the life of me allow my password to Apple ID to be approved .

  9. Collins Muga says:

    My sister gave me an iPhone 4s. I resetted the phone but on startup, it still requires the id and password that was used to set up the phone. how can I go past the activation screen because the phone is now unusable. Please help

  10. subhash kumar says:

    Hello sir my iPhone 6s Plus i forget Apple ID password so you have any solution for me

  11. Alison Daugherty says:

    I reset my son iPhone back to factory and it is set up to find my iPhone so when it was done setting I went to set his phone back up it was asking for his Apple ID and password so I could finish setting his phone up but we can’t remember his password so how can I reset his password for his Apple ID

  12. Sam says:

    I have an iPhone 4s and am trying to reset to factory settings and every time I select erase all content and settings, it just spools for days… Any ideas?

  13. chiko says:

    havent heard DFU mode ???!!
    try it ..

  14. Daniel says:

    I have a solution for unlocking iCloud .

  15. Jojo says:

    Hey, I have a iPhone 6s and was wondering if I reset my phone will it delete the Apple and password ? Because I was hoping if I reset it that it won’t ask me for the Apple ID password to get into the phone again? Or can I just create one and then reset it?

  16. Gena Wooten says:

    I have an Iphone 5c and I received a text message saying that I to delete an account in order to receive the lasted updated APN settings and told me how to do it. I ended up following the directions, I have the new iOS update but now I can’t get on the internet or play alot of my apps that require internet and check my email unless I connect to wifi. Everytime I get on Safari it says it “Could not activate cellular data network.” It says in my Cellular settings that the data is “on” but I cannot get on the internet because I ended up deleting this profile. Is there any way I can get my internet back. I am on StraightTalk, but in the left-hand corner, it says Verizon LTE, but I still cannot get online without connecting to wifi.

    • par says:

      You need to contact StraightTalk support, it is a problem with their service and they will walk you through fixing your iPhone internet access.

  17. Lerato says:

    i have a proble with my ipad (2), the problem is icloud ID i forgot my password and i tried to send them sale receipt. I want to turn off find my iphone.

  18. Ubhameed says:

    What is the password to reset apple iPhone Mobile

    • Muadib says:

      The password needed to reset the iPhone to factory default settings is what you set your iPhone passcode to be, easy to remember

  19. crarmenross says:

    Password reset

  20. Joe says:

    Hey I’ve factory reset my Iphone 5 and I was wondering how long it’s gonna. Take because it’s showed the loading icon that’s showed when you turn it off And it’s been doing it all day just wondering how long it will take

  21. L says:

    After I have erased all content and settings and the hello in different languages pops up. I have completed erasing and is ready to be shipped to the insurance company? I haven’t had to this and I’m just trying to make sure cause they are talking about a $900 fee if I don’t

  22. H says:

    How wrong we are when backup device to restore the initial state

  23. jo says:

    Can some one tell me how to reset iPhone 4 when u don’t have apple id just email please thank u

  24. Rahul says:

    Hi anybody tell me true matter,
    I have iphone 4 but it lock with icloud from 6 month I tried many place to activate it but everyone said sorry

  25. Grammar5'0 says:

    You people need to proof read the paragraphs before sending, I have a headache from trying to make sense out of what your asking, my 6 yo daughter arranges sentences better than that. C-MON!!! No wonder the man quit answering your questions. If you aren’t capable of creating a legible paragraph WHY would you take on something more complicated?? its a chore trying to figure out what your asking

    • Kristi says:

      You think your writing is legible? Educate yourself on run-on sentences. Your paragraph is laughable. You sound like a complete idiot. If you aren’t here to help, refrain from commenting. Your application to join The Grammar Police has been vehemently denied.

  26. Leke says:

    Pls anytime I try to purchase an app wt my iphone on the apple store it simply turns d fone off…sum1 pls hlp

  27. Jenny Rolfe says:

    I have upgraded my iPhone and want to delete all my accounts off my old phone before my husband takes it over. I’m nervous about doing this such as deleting my email account as it looks like I’m deleting the whole account all I want to do is take it off my old phone not delete the whole account- any tips

  28. Jules says:

    Had changed apple id but phone is telling me incorrect password…changed password but still not letting me reset…keep getting incorrect password msg

  29. carl says:


    I have an iphone 4s, the battery is playing up and read that re boot the phone through itunes as this will re start the firmwhere

    can this be done through the phone alone or requires itunes and a internet connection ?

  30. Abdullah says:

    Hi I have changed my passcode to new and now im trying to erase all to factory settings but it asks me the passcode is incorrect i used the old passcode also but doesn’t accepted by phone im using 4s update to IOS 8.1.2

    • Sagheti says:

      When you go to reset the iPhone, enter the correct passcode to erase the iPhone. It asks you before it will erase the phone.

  31. Wharf Xanadu says:

    This works perfectly to erase the iPhone and iPad i use it before selling mine. Thanks.

  32. jethro says:

    how about the ios it will be back to the old version

  33. Heather says:

    I bought iphone 4 from someone that doesn’t remember their password I can’t get into my gmail or do much anything else. Can someone please help me

  34. Bobby Yamada says:

    I reset my phone an now it jus has the apple on the screen won’t turn on or do anything ?? Help

  35. Jack says:

    how long does it take to resset?

  36. Julsie says:

    I had a iPhone 5c but I tried every thing for it and it won’t work I wached on YouTube it would not work looked I don’t know how to fix my iPhone

  37. Arshad says:

    I juest updated my iPhone iOS everything ok but camera is gone stuck than I switch of and on than ok after few second than its same going stuck.

  38. […] 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 […]

  39. […] 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 […]

  40. […] 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 […]

  41. 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

  42. 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.


  43. 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.

  44. 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?

  45. 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 .

  46. 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?

  47. Mario says:

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

  48. Well... says:

    you should just lay down and cry I guess.

  49. 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?

  50. […] 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 […]

  51. 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???

  52. 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

  53. fatima says:

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

  54. 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

  55. […] 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 […]

  56. 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

  57. […] 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({ […]

  58. […] 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({ […]

  59. […] 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 […]

  60. 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.

  61. 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?

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