How to factory reset your iPhone

There are many reasons you might want to factory reset your iPhone and wipe it squeaky clean. Whether you’re experiencing stubborn and persistent issues with your iPhone, or are looking to sell it online, a factory reset will put your device back to the way it was originally, leaving no trace of you having ever been there.

There’s another, more concerning, reason why you might want to factory reset your iPhone – loss or theft. However, if you’ve lost your iPhone or it’s been stolen, you can still wipe your data remotely.

Thankfully, it’s incredibly easy to factory reset your iPhone, but there’s one thing you should do before you go ahead with the full restore.

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Back up your iPhone

Before you factory reset your iPhone, it’s always wise to back up your data in iCloud or iTunes first. If not, you’ll lose everything: your apps, conversations and even photos. The simplest way to do it is to back up through iCloud.

First, connect to Wi-Fi, go to Settings | iCloud | iCloud Backup and tap Back Up Now. All of your data will then be stored on your current Apple ID. To check if it’s been successful, go to Settings | iCloud | iCloud Storage | Manage Storage. Here you’ll see the date and time of your last backup.

If you prefer to back up using iTunes, it’s just as simple. Open iTunes, connect your iPhone to your computer and click Back Up Now.

Now that you’re backed up, here’s how to factory reset your iPhone.

How to factory reset your iPhone

Clearing all of your data on your iPhone is just as straightforward as backing it up, but make sure you have your Apple ID and password handy.

  1. Go to Settings | General | Reset | Erase all Settings and Content.
  2. When a pop-up appears, tap Erase and enter your passcode, Apple ID and password when prompted.
  3. The device will begin to erase all your data, before rebooting and starting up again as if it were new. You can then leave it as is, or restore your most recent backup.

If you’ve lost your iPhone or it’s been stolen, never fear: Apple allows you to factory reset it remotely via iCloud.

How to factory reset your iPhone remotely

  1. Navigate to icloud.com/#find.
  2. Click “Find my iPhone”.
  3. Enter your Apple ID.
  4. Choose your iPhone from the All Devices list and click Erase iPhone.
  5. All the data on your lost or stolen iPhone will now be erased.

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