What do passwords, in-app data, emails, videos, photos, and information-sensitive memos have in common? Believe it or not, they’re all stored by everyday iPhone or iPad users in their device. What’s worse, is these users are handing over the potential identity theft data to strangers or even after selling the iPhone or iPad without resetting it. So if you’re planning on selling your iOS device, it’s a damn good idea to get rid of all personal info before handing it over. Luckily, removing all data from your iPhone and iPad can be done in a few clicks by performing a factory reset and we’re gonna show you how.

Reset Your iPhone or iPad to Factory Settings

A factory reset takes your device back to its factory settings by resetting the entire system. All the data and apps get erased because the drive in the device gets reformatted. To reset settings of your iPhone (the steps for an iPad are pretty much the same) and get rid of all the data from it, follow these steps:

  1. 1. Go to Settings and scroll down until you find a “Reset” tab. You will be presented with a few options of what you can reset, such as keyboard dictionary or home screen layout.
  2. To bring your iPhone back to its factory default settings, tap on “Erase All Content and Settings” and then on “Erase iPhone”. If a Passcode or a Restrictions Passcode is set, you will be asked to enter it before being able to reset your device.
  3. After you enter the Passcode you will be asked for your Apple ID password. Enter it to begin erasing all data from your device.
  4. The reset back to factory settings will run and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. When you see the welcome screen, it means the factory reset is finished and no personal data is left on the device.

settings view iphone reset option

Perform Reset with no Passcode using iTunes

There’s an alternative method to the one above, which can be done using iTunes. It’s great for times when you can’t turn your iPhone on because it got disabled (too many wrong password attempts) or when you don’t remember the passcode. Here’s the steps:

  1. Open iTunes. To prevent any potential obstacles during reset, make sure that your iTunes version is up to date – simply click on the ‘check for updates’ in the drop-down menu.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer. If yo’d like to keep some files, you can do a backup by clicking “Back Up Now”. If you just want to delete everything without saving it first, you can skip the backup.
  3. Click on the “Restore iPhone” option in iTunes and confirm your decision by clicking “Agree”. If you ever change your mind and decide that you would like to get the data back on your phone, click “Restore from Backup…”.

Hard Reset a Device without Prior iTunes Sync

The above method can be used for both iPhone and iPad even if you don’t remember the passcode, which is required when using the option in the device menu. But if your device has never been synced with iTunes before, follow the below steps to perform a factory reset on it:

  1. Plug the USB cable to your PC but don’t plug your iPhone/iPad just yet. Don’t start iTunes either.
  2. Grab your device and hold down the “Sleep/Wake” button for a few seconds. After the slider appears, perform a finger swipe to turn it off.
  3. Plug the USB cable to your iPad or iPhone while holding the “Home” button to turn the device on.
  4. When “Connect to iTunes” message appears, release the button.
  5. Launch iTunes. It will tell you that it detects your iPad in recovery mode. Click “OK” and then “Restore” to begin the reset.

Reset Your iPhone or iPad using Find My iPhone

Alternatively, you can use Find My iPhone. This is especially convenient if you have lost your iPhone or it has been stolen, and you want to make sure no one will access data on it. To do this, follow the below steps:

  1. Go to the Find My iPhone website and log in using your Apple ID.
  2. If you have more than one device in this account, choose the one that you want to reset from the list of available devices.
  3. Click the “Erase iPhone” (or iPad if you are resetting your tablet) option available in your device’s information box. You’ll be asked to confirm your decision. After that, the reset will start. If the device is offline, it will begin as soon as the device becomes online.

Keep in mind that if you have “Family Sharing” setting set up, you can reset your family members’ devices back to their factory default too. When resetting an iOS device, you will be asked to enter a phone number and a message which is then shown on screen after the reset is completed.

Do you know any other methods of factory resetting your phones or restoring your data in a quick and easy way? Don’t forget to share them in the comments below!