How to Restore an iPhone or iPad Using iTunes on Mac
Restoring an iPhone or iPad to it’s default factory settings is easy whether you are restoring 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 directly, the next choice is to connect the iOS hardware to a computer and use iTunes on a Mac or PC.
Using iTunes is also typically faster than resetting through the iPhone or iPad itself, so keep this in mind if you tried the on-device method but it took forever.
How to Restore an iPhone or iPad with iTunes
This will restore an iPhone or iPad to a functioning version of iOS, by default it retains data on the device by restoring from a backup which is what most users want. However, if you want to restore to factory settings, do not restore from a backup during this process.
- Launch iTunes
- Connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the computer and select it within iTunes, if it’s not visible check the “Show” button
- Click on the “Summary” tab and click on the “Restore” button
- iTunes will prompt you to back up the device, this is recommended but if you want factory settings only click “Don’t Back Up”
- At the confirmation screen, click on “Restore” to begin restoring the device to factory settings
When finished, iTunes will alert you the device has been restored, but restoring may take a while.
When the device is done, the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch will boot up and be reset completely to factory settings. This means that pre-iOS 5 will require the device to be connected to iTunes to finish, whereas modern iOS and iPadOS versions will be presented with the familiar set up screens.
Restoring with iTunes is fairly simple, but it can be time consuming, so be sure you have some patience and time to devote to the process. The larger the backup and amount of stuff being restored, the longer it will take to complete.
As mentioned before, to maintain the factory settings do not select to restore from a backup when this process is finished, otherwise you’ll simply be left with a device that has a freshly installed iOS but with the same data as when you started.
If you encounter error 3194 during this process, you probably jailbroke your device at some point and need to change the the hosts file to resolve that issue.
By the way, this is obviously focused on iTunes for Mac, but it’s basically the same process for iTunes on PC too.
What was your experience restoring an iPhone or iPad with iTunes? Share anything notable in the comments.