Smartphones and tablets have the built in ability to wipe out and reinstall their own operating system (OS), returning you to factory settings and factory performance in a relatively quick and painless fashion. Note that you will not be returned to the original factory installed OS, but rather the latest release from Apple that will run on your device based on its production year.
There are two main reasons for doing a factory reset.
- From time to time your trusty iDevice stops performing as it once did. Without the ability to do a full tune up like you regularly have done on your laptop and desktop computers, we are not left with many options for getting back to “like new” performance. A fresh copy of the OS does just that.
- Maybe you’re selling your device, or just obtained a pre-owned one from a seller or friend. In either case, wiping the complete history and OS of the device is a safe practice before proceeding as a seller or new owner.
Before wiping the device, you must turn off “Find My iPhone/iPad. For more info on how to do that, see my article Turn Off Find My iPhone – iPad (Works with iPod as well).
Once you have turned off that feature, proceed with the steps below. Due to years of junk accumulation I always recommend considering setting up the device as “New Device” after the restore is complete. It is important to note however that this means you will lose your history of text messages and any app communication. Be sure to back up your device to a computer using iTunes prior to restoring to factory settings if you think you would prefer to keep that history. Always import your photos in to your computer before proceeding.
Step 1) Using your built in Settings app, tap on “General”, and at the very bottom on the right tap “Reset”
Step 2) Select the option “Erase All Content and Settings”
Step 3) When asked, enter your passcode.
Step 4) Tap “Erase”
Your device will go through a series of downloads and reboots. Upon completion you will be greeted with a welcome screen similar to what you get when you purchased the device new, where you can set up your Apple iCloud account, network connections, and preferences.
It is always best to make sure you are on Wifi before reinstalling all of your favorite apps and content to avoid data overage charges from your carrrier.
Comment below with any questions.