Reset iPhone to factory settings – here’s how

Does your iPhone not doing what it’s supposed to do? The screen stays black or only show the Apple logo? There are many reasons to reset an iPhone to factory settings. Maybe you just want to sell or give away your iPhone and want to make sure that all data is deleted? We will show you 3 ways to reset your iPhone.

Reset iPhone to factory settings

Backup iPhone data

The ways described below will erase all data from your iPhone, including your photos, apps, messages, and so on. Therefore, it is advisable to make a backup of your data via iTunes or alternatively an iCloud backup if possible before you start the restore process.

Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac (macOS Mojave 10.14 or older) and click on the iPhone icon in the top left corner to back up to iTunes. Then go to Overview in the left sidebar under Settings and click Create Backup Now on the right.

On the Mac (with macOS Catalina 10.15), go to your iPhone in the Finder sidebar on the left and right-click Create Backup Now. It is much easier to create the backup via iCloud directly on the iPhone. To do this, go to your name in the Settings app at the top, and select iCloud → iCloud Backup → Create Backup Now.

The options described below work for old and new iPhone models, that is: iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS (Max), iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro (Max), iPhone 12, iPhone mini, iPhone 12 Pro as well as iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Sign out iPhone from iCloud

Settings → [your name] → Logout → Logout.

After creating the backup, you should log off the iPhone from iCloud. Otherwise, all the data on the device and your iCloud will be deleted and cannot be restored.

To do this, go to your name in the Settings app at the top, scroll down and tap Sign Out.

In the next step, enter your Apple ID password and press Disable at the top right to disable the “Find my iPhone” feature. Next, you can choose to keep a copy of the iCloud data you want to delete (calendar, contacts, etc.) on your iPhone.

To do so, tap the button to the right of the respective option and finally go to Logout in the top right corner.

Confirm the whole thing again by tapping on Logout in the pop-up window. After a short wait, your iPhone should be logged out of iCloud. And you can proceed with deleting the settings and content from your iPhone.

Reset iPhone to factory settings

Settings → General → Reset → Erase all content & settings.

The so-called factory reset removes all settings, apps, and data you have made and restores the iPhone to its factory default state with the latest iOS version.

To reset your iPhone to factory settings, first open Settings and select General. Scroll all the way down and tap Reset. Now go to Erase all content & settings and enter your iPhone lock code.

It will tell you that it will delete all data or media and reset all settings. To confirm, tap on Erase iPhone and then again on Erase iPhone.

If necessary, it will inform you at this point you should update your iCloud backup before erasing it. So that no photos and data are lost that have not yet been uploaded to iCloud.

Also, the notice might pop up here that data and documents are being uploaded to iCloud. To avoid losing them, you should wait for the upload to complete before deleting all content and settings.

Once the process is finished, you can set up your iPhone again step by step and, if necessary, restore the previously created backup.

Tip: In another article, we show you how to restart your iPhone via hard reset without resetting the entire device!

Reset iPhone on PC and Mac (with & without iTunes)

Another possibility is resetting your iPhone to factory settings in iTunes or the Finder (Mac). It will completely wipe the device and reinstall iOS, so you should create an iPhone backup in advance if you want to keep your data. Proceed as follows:

  • Open iTunes on your PC or Mac (up to macOS Mojave 10.14) (download the latest version if necessary). However, on a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 and newer, you open the Finder.
  • Then connect your iPhone to the computer via a USB cable. If “Trust this computer” appears on your iPhone, say yes.
  • As soon as the iPhone is displayed on your computer, you select it with a click of the mouse.
  • On the overview page, click on Restore iPhone. Confirm the whole thing again by clicking on Restore to reset the iPhone. In order to start the process, you must first deactivate the “Find my iPhone” function on your iPhone. Go to Settings → [Your Name] → Where is? → Find my iPhone

Your computer will now wipe your iPhone, download the latest iOS version from Apple’s servers and install it on your iPhone. This may take some time, depending on your internet connection. After the factory settings are restored to your iPhone, the device will reboot, and you can set it up again.

Reset iPhone in maintenance state

If your iPhone does not start properly, hangs, or your computer does not recognize the device anymore, you can reset your iPhone to factory settings in recovery mode. The iPhone is put into a kind of maintenance state, in which all settings and contents are deleted from the iPhone. Proceed as follows:

Open iTunes on a PC or Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier (download the latest version if necessary!). If iTunes is already open on your PC or Mac, close the program first. On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15, open the Finder.

Now connect your iPhone via USB cable to your computer. Depending on your iPhone model, proceed as follows:

  • iPhone 12 (mini, Pro & Max), iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro (Max), iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS (Max), iPhone 8 (Plus): Press the Volume Up button and release it again. Immediately afterward, press and release the Volume Down button. Then press and hold the right side button until the recovery mode graphic appears on the iPhone screen.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the right side button and the volume down button until the recovery mode graphic appears on the iPhone screen.
  • iPhone 6s and older: Press and hold the Home button and the right side button (or the top button, depending on the model) until the recovery mode screen appears.
Tip: If the recovery mode screen doesn’t appear and your iPhone boots usually, repeat the process.

Your computer should now tell you that there is a problem with your iPhone and that you can update or restore it. If you press Update (PC) or Update (Mac) here, your computer will try to reinstall iOS without deleting your data.

If the problem still persists, repeat the process and, this time, click Restore to restore the iPhone to factory settings. Once the iPhone is restored, you can set it up again and, if necessary, restore a previously created backup.

Exit iPhone maintenance state

If you don’t want to reset your iPhone after all, you can exit the recovery mode or maintenance state by restarting the iPhone via hard reset. Depending on the iPhone model, you have to proceed differently:

iPhone 12 (mini, Pro & Max), iPhone 11, 11 Pro (Max), X, XR, XS (Max), 8 (Plus): press the Volume Up button, press the Volume Down button, and press the right side button until Apple logo is displayed.

iPhone 7 (Plus): Hold down the right side button and the Volume down button simultaneously until the Apple logo appears.

iPhone 6s and older: Press and hold the right side button or – depending on your iPhone model – the top button and the home button at the same time until you see the Apple logo.

Now your iPhone should normally start again. By the way, no data is lost during a hard reset, so you don’t have to worry about that. Even it will solve if the touchscreen does not respond.

We hope that one of the three described ways could help you to reset your iPhone to factory settings.

You can also read these related articles:

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