How To Restore iPhone To Factory Settings Without iTunes

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.

Have questions? Ask in the comments or in our forums. Our community of experts can help you ever step of the way.


  1. Shannon says

    Hi I have tried this so many times and I just get stuck with the blank screen and the white circle I have done it for over six hours and nothing has happened… I have also tried the iTunes way as well an I can not restore it at all… I can’t not take it back to the shop as I recently jail broke it, hence to why I want to restore factory settings… I just seem to be going round in circles and nothing is happening… I have the iPhone 3GS and it’s version is the latest one… Please can anyone help me to either a different way of restoring it which I may put out there a successful and easy and quick way!! Or how to remove the jail braking thing off it!! Please help!

  2. Braden galvan says

    Just plug it to a wall charger and when it’s plugged in hold down the home and the power button for 40 seconds and it will put it in recovery mode then ITunes will recognize it in Recovery mode and then you can restore it

      • says

        This is what Apple provides as information to fix a 3194 error.

        Error 1004, 1013, 1638, 3014, 3194: These errors may be the result of the connection to being redirected or blocked. Follow these steps to resolve these errors:

        Install the latest version of iTunes.

        Check security software. Ensure that communication to is allowed. Follow this article for assistance with security software. iTunes for Windows: Troubleshooting security software issues.

        Check the hosts file. The restore will fail if there is an active entry to redirect FollowiTunes: Advanced iTunes Store troubleshooting to edit the hosts file or revert to a default hosts file. See section “Blocked by configuration: (Mac OS X/Windows) > Rebuild network information”.

        Try to restore from another known-good computer and network.

        If the errors persist on another computer, the device may need service.

  3. Bekky j says

    I need help I for got my pass code and yet I don’t hav iTunes and want to get it unlocked again help me plz

  4. Joshi says

    my iphone 3gs 15 gb.. Ios may be 3.1 or something not latest. i did jail break a year ago to download software free of cost. 2 day ago i face some problems in application so i did restore (erasing all data and media) without connecting to computer. When the iphone starts it is freezes on showing apple logo only. i tried holding home and power button withing connecting itunes. But this only shows the apple logo only. nothing happend. Please help me out……

    • R0tten says

      That’s a no no…. Never use this function on the iPhone if you have a jailbreak. The only thing you can do (as of now) is restore in iTunes. Sorry bro.

  5. Joshi says

    Follow the below steps and you are all set no worries:
    1- shutdown your iphone with the hard reset “home button and power for 10 second”
    2- connect the usb cable to the pc but NOT to the iphone”
    3- open itunes
    4- while the iphone is off, press the home button for 5-10 seconds then plus the other end of the white connection cable into the iphone
    5- do not remove your finger from the home button
    6- itunes will detect it and you can now restore it

    I got this info from a good teacher it worked fine for me. Hope it helps you too.

  6. Kelrash says

    Hi, I did the reset following this guide. Now my Iphone 4 is stuck on the white apple logo . Can you help me please I will need my phone in a few days :/

  7. Sam says

    Well my kid was playing with my iphone5 , and what he did , he never remembers which menu he entered and the phone is on the mode of the deaf people , the phone always telling what to do as it it appears on the screen. I tried to reset it but the screen is not sliding up and down it need to put the finger on the screen and slide the finger and when it comes to the end of the page on the screen, it doesn’t show the other item of the menu and it stops as an end and I can’t access to the reset menu in the setting
    Please help me what to do to access to the reset in the general

  8. jamie dowden says

    itunes is a simple down load all u need to do is go to and select the download and so on and so for

  9. Elijah gamble says

    How do you restore one iPads data to another iPad because I have 2 and one is cracked they are all ready set up and I don’t wanna delete any data because they both have important data

  10. Zoe says

    Been staring at loading screen for a while. My on/off button fell of my 3GS. I also jailbroke the thing and it was full of rip off apps. I do not have itunes. How do I reset it?

  11. LoveInsanity says

    Thank you! I needed to gift an old iPhone 3 and didn’t have a charger to hook it up to iTunes. This was a great help!

  12. Brittney says

    My iphone is not updated, I don’t have itunes and cannot download it on my computer, I have reset it before using volume buttons and power button but can’t remember how. HELP!

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