How to reset an iPhone to its factory settings, whether you’re selling it or troubleshooting it

It’s easy to reset an iPhone to factory settings. Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • You can reset your iPhone to its factory settings and erase all the information stored on the device, but you’ll need to sign out of iCloud first.
  • If your iPhone has a recurring glitch, or you’re planning on getting rid of your phone, you should factory reset it first.
  • Make sure you back up your iPhone’s data before you wipe it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Your iPhone is about as personal as a fingerprint these days, storing everything from embarrassing selfies to bank information in one pocket-sized device. Whether you’re trying to sell it, protect your information while it’s being repaired, or troubleshoot software problems, you might find yourself needing to reset your iPhone.

Resetting your phone to its factory settings will take it back to the basics it came with: no contacts, playlists, pictures, password memory, or anything else you’ve added since the day you bought it. Once it’s reset, the phone’s default settings will be restored and your home screen will have only the apps it came with.

Also, resetting an iPhone is a common remedy for problems with “jailbreaking,” which is the process of skirting the security protections Apple has put on the iOS in order to seize full control of the device.

First, it’s important to back up your data so you can restore it later, or at least be able to access it on another device. Backing up your iPhone is a painless process, whether you chose to do it through iTunes or iCloud.

If you’re handing off your phone to someone else, you’ll also need to disable Apple’s Activation Lock so the next person can actually use it. You can do this by signing out of iCloud and your Apple ID.

How to reset an iPhone to its factory settings

Disable the Activation Lock

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone, and tap your name and Apple ID at the top of the screen.

2. At the very bottom of this page, tap “Sign Out.”

Sign out of your Apple ID account. William Antonelli/Business Insider

3. You may be asked to enter your password. If so, enter your password, and then tap “Turn Off” in the top-right corner.

Use the Reset menu

1. In “Settings,” scroll down and tap “General.”

2. At the bottom of the “General” page, find and click “Reset.” Don’t worry: there are still a few steps before your info is wiped from the phone.

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Select ‘Reset’ at the bottom of the General page. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

3. You can choose between an array of resetting options here, but to completely restore its factory settings, select “Erase All Content and Settings.”

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Tap ‘Erase All Content and Settings’ if you’re sure you want to wipe everything. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

4. You’ll be prompted to enter your passcode, then your device will ask you to confirm that you want to erase everything. Tap “Erase” to confirm.

This could take a few minutes, depending on how much you have stored on your iPhone, but once the deletion is completed, your device will restart as new.

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