There are a number of reasons why you might want to restore your iPhone factory settings. If for some reason your iPhone isn’t working properly or maybe you are selling it, so that you can upgrade. If you have access to a Mac or PC, you can restore using iTunes, which we’ll also cover in this guide. But when disaster strikes, not everyone has access to iTunes. If you are away from your computer, it’s very easy to restore your iPhone to factory settings. And when you do, you can easily restore to the last known backup using either iTunes or iCloud. Simply follow these steps. As a reminder, make sure that you have synced all of you data to your computer or to iCloud. A factory restore means that means all of your data and personal information will be deleted. Following these directions will restore your iPhone back to the way it was when you first purchased your iPhone. If you don’t have a proper backup, you’re likely to incur some data loss.

restore factory settings iPhone

Reasons why you’ll want to factory restore and what it means

1. Your iPhone has become unreliable and buggy.
2. You have plans to sell, trade-in or gift your iPhone and would like your personal information removed.
3. To reclaim lost storage space, often referred to in iTunes as ‘Other’.
4. You are upgrading from iOS 6/7 to iOS 8 and want a fresh start.

Before restoring, understand that when it’s completed, you’ll essentailly have two options – sync or restore a backup. Syncing refers to transferring music, contacts, photos, apps and more that currently existing on your Mac or PC. If you stick with keeping things ‘new’, settings and often data specific to third party apps are going to be lost. Also gone are your text and SMS messages. That’s option one. The other option is to complete the process and restore from a known backup, which can be done through either iTunes or iCloud, depending on the location of your backup. This brings back all of your data, including SMS messages, settings and data specific to third-party apps.

How to restore your iPhone to factory settings without iTunes

1. Tap on Settings. If it’s on on your homescreen, swipe down to reveal Spotlight. Now you can type the first few letters to find Settings.
2. Select General.
3. Scroll to the bottom where it says Reset You’ll be presented with a number of options. The nuclear option is to Erase All Content and Settings. Your iPhone will remind you that you’ve selected ‘Erase iPhone’ and this will delete all media and data, and reset all settings. You’ll be asked if you “Are sure you want to continue? All media, data, and settings will be erased. This cannot be undone. If you are completely sure, tap on ‘Erase iPhone’ as shown below, to proceed.

Erase all settings iPhone

That’s it, you’ve completely restored your iPhone to factory settings. With iOS 8, you can easily set-up your iPhone without iTunes. So even if you are on vacation, you can restore your iPhone to its factory settings and set it up, all without a computer. If you plan to keep your iPhone, skip here to learn about the setup process, which includes restoring a backup.

How to restore your iPhone to factory settings using iTunes

With iTunes open, connect your iPhone using the cable that came with your phone. It’s important that you use an OEM cable. Since iOS 7 and the introduction of the lightning cable, third party cables may not work correctly. This assumes you are running the latest version of iTunes (currently version 12), available as a free download from Apple.

1. Your iPhone should appear at the top left. It’s next to a row of icons that depict various media types on your computer.
select iPhone in iTunes 12

2. Select ‘Summary’ from the left hand column.
3. On the right side, select ‘Restore iPhone’.


4. Your iPhone will now start the restore process. This will include downloading your apps, data and settings. This will include your contacts and calendars.

Disconnect your iPhone and you’ll have to complete the iOS setup process. Don’t worry, it’s just a few steps as outlined below.

How to complete iPhone setup and restore your backup

1. You’ll be greeted by a friendly Hello. Slide to unlock to continue the setup.
2. Enter your language.
3. Select your country or region.
4. Choose a WiFi network and enter the password. Tap on ‘Join’. A checkbox will appear if you’ve successfully joined the network.
5. Choose to enable or disable location services. Many apps use location services. For example, finding restaurants, driving directions or the closest Starbucks.
6. Sign in to your iCloud account. You’ll need your Apple ID and password. Tap next when done.
7. You’ll have to agree to Apple’s Terms and Conditions. Tap Agree. A pop-up will ask you to confirm yet again. Your Apple ID is now getting setup.
8. The next step is important. Your iPhone will present you with different iCloud backups. At the top is the latest backup, which applies to most. Tap to select.
9. Your iPhone will now begin the process of restoring from iCloud. Once completed, you’ll need to finish the setup process. You’ll have to login to iCloud once more. You’ll have an option to enable iCloud Drive. If you own a Mac and would like to use iCloud Drive, you must be running Mac OS X Yosemite.
10. If your iPhone supports Touch ID, follow the steps for setting up Touch ID. You’ll also be asked to setup a 4 digit passcode.

A factory restore is a useful tool for a number of reasons. If you are selling your iPhone, it will delete all of your data, so you can be sure your information is not going to be shared with the buyer. It can also be a helpful option when troubleshooting a phone that is either buggy or you’re looking to reclaim lost storage space. If you plug your iPhone into iTunes and see a large amount of data in ‘Other, sometimes a fresh start is what’s needed. You don’t need iTunes, but it can prove helpful. If at all possible, always backup your data before proceeding.

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