How to Factory Reset Your iPhone: Erase Your iPhone & Restore Factory Settings

If you're getting ready to trade, give away, or sell your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you're probably wondering how to erase your iPhone, then restore your iPhone to factory settings, so all your data and settings are deleted. If you want to know how to factory reset an iPhone, there are two methods for accomplishing this. If you have a computer available, you can factory reset your iPhone with iTunes or the Finder. If you need to know how to reset your iPhone or iPad without a computer, you can still factory reset your iPhone from the Settings app. If you're wondering how to delete everything on your iPhone, it doesn't matter which model you have. A factory reset for an iPhone works the same way, whether it's an older generation like an iPhone 4, 5, 6, 7, or a newer iPhone 8, X, or 11. Ready to learn how to wipe an iPhone or iPad and completely reset it? Let's get started! 

Related: How to Sell or Trade In Your iPhone So You Can Get the New One

We've already shown you how to restart your iPhone and how to hard reset and iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. For more great, free iPhone tutorials, check out our Tip of the Day.

Stop! What happens when you reset your iPhone or iPad? A factory reset will erase all contents, settings, and data on your iPhone or iPad; it will be like your device is brand new out of the box. Unless you want to lose everything you delete, create either an iCloud backup or iTunes backup before deleting everything on your iPhone or iPad.

Before you restore your iPhone to factory settings, there are a couple of things we recommend doing first if you’re going to give away, sell, or trade the iPhone you’re resetting.

How to Reset Your iPhone to Factory Settings from the Settings App

If you've been wondering how to do a factory reset on your iPhone, it's very quick and easy! To reset your iPhone to factory settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.

    support apple com iphone restorehow to reset iphone
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

    how to factory reset iphonehow to restore iphone

You'll be asked to confirm that you really want to wipe your device; read the prompts carefully to make sure there’s nothing else you need to do or finish before resetting your device. Then confirm, and your iPhone will reset!

How to Restore Your iPad & iPhone with iTunes on a Computer

If resetting your iPhone from the Settings app isn't possible, you can use iTunes. To do this, you'll need a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or a PC. Also, make sure you have iTunes downloaded on your computer and updated to the latest version. If you have a newer Mac running macOS Catalina or later, read the section below on restoring your iPhone with Finder.

  1. Plug your iPhone into your computer with the Lightning-to-USB cable.
  2. Open the iTunes app.

    restore iphone
  3. Select your iPhone or iPad when it appears on screen.
  4. The first box will have two options: Update and Restore iPhone.
  5. Click Restore iPhone.

  6. If you haven’t logged out of iCloud, you'll need to turn off Find My iPhone to continue.
  7. iTunes may ask for your Apple ID password and to confirm before actually restoring your iPhone to factory settings. Follow the onscreen prompts to confirm.
  8. Once your device restores to factory settings, it will restart. Now, set it up as if it was a brand new phone or tablet. 

How to Restore Your iPhone & iPad from a Backup with the Finder on a Computer

To restore your iPhone or iPad using the finder, you'll need a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15 or later. 

  1. Connect your device to your computer with the Lightning-to-USB cable.
  2. A message may ask for your device passcode or to Trust This Computer. Follow the steps on screen. 
  3. Select your device in the Finder sidebar

    select device in finder sidebar
  4. Click General.

    click general
  5. Select Restore Backup.

    restore backup
  6. A menu of backups will pop up; click the backup you want to restore your device with. 
  7. Once your device restores to factory settings, it will restart. Now, set it up as if it was a brand new phone or tablet. 

Check out our free Tip of the Day for more great Apple device tutorials!

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.