How to Reset Settings On Your iPhone or iPad

In iOS, there are a number of reset options for your iPhone or iPad. They all function differently and there are different scenarios for why you might use one versus another. In this guide, we’ll present all of the reset settings on iPhone and iPad, what they do and when to use them. If you are having a problem with your iOS device, at times these can be a quick and easy fix. They are also helpful to know should you plan to sell or trade-in your iPhone.

Updated for iOS 7 and iOS 8

Reset All Settings

This will reset all settings. This will not delete any data. If you’ve got 16GB of music, videos and photos, this option won’t remove it.

1. Open Settings > General
2. Scroll down to the bottom and tap on ‘Reset’.
3. Select Reset All Settings > Tap button to Reset All Settings > Tap Button Again to continue. Apple makes you click through twice, to be sure that you really, truly mean it.

reset settings on iPhone

When you complete the process, your iPhone will reboot. Despite the scary two step warning, this doesn’t affect your data. All of your email accounts will remain in tact, as well as any SMS text or iMessages.

What this effectively does is to reset some of your Settings to factory default. It’s not a complete removal of settings. It removes all of your preferences for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do No Disturb, Notifications, General, Sounds, Brightness & Wallpaper and Privacy.

When to use it? If your iPhone is acting up and you want to avoid having the longer process of a complete erase.

Erase All Content and Settings

This is the nuclear option. This will erase everything on your iPhone or iPad. So not only does this reset settings, it deletes media. Photos, music, email, videos and even your apps. This brings your iPhone back to its default factory state. I should note that it will still restore to the last iOS update you installed. So if you updated to iOS 8, a factory restore won’t magically downgrade your iPhone to iOS 7. To erase all content and settings:

1. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset
2. Select Erase All Content and Settings. Tap button twice to confirm.
3. Erase all content iPhone

erase iPhone

Your iPhone or iPad will now reboot. At the conclusion, you’ll be guided through the setup process.

When to use it? You’ve exhausted all troubleshooting tips and have decided to delete everything. It’s also the option you’ll want to explore if you plan on selling your iOS device or gifting it to a lucky relative.

Bonus Tip: While it may delete your apps, Apple has a record of your purchase history in the App Store, making it easy to download to a new iPhone.

Reset Network Settings

No real surprise here, but this resets your network settings. Your iPhone and iPad save usernames, passwords for networks you’ve accessed in the past. For example, if you visited your in-laws last year, you won’t have to chase down your relatives for their WiFi password again. Your devices recognize previous WiFi access points. To Reset Network Settings:

1. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset
2. Select Reset Network Settings. Tap button twice to confirm.
3. Reset network settings

Reset Network settings

When to use it? If your WiFi has become unreliable, it could be a ghost in the machine. This brings network settings back to the factory defaults. For troubleshooting WiFi and/or network issues, this is an easy enough option that might fix problematic network issues. Be sure to have your WiFi network name and password handy. You’ll need it to reconnect to your home network or others that you might typically access.

Reset Keyboard Dictionary

As you type on your device, you’ll on occasion be greeted by the autocorrect feature. In some cases, this is fantastic and can save you from your own typing. There are many times when iOS doesn’t get it right. When this happens, you can tap on the x to dismiss the autocorrect. When you do this, two things happen.

  • iOS will not autocorrect
  • The new word will be added to your custom dictionary

If you’ve spent a good amount of time having your iPhone learn words, this option will undo all of your handy work.

Tip: If you have created keyboard shortcuts, these are not deleted when you reset your keyboard dictionary.

1. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset
2. Select Reset Keyboard Dictionary. Confirm.
3. Reset keyboard dictionary

Reset dictionary

When to use it? This is a tough call on the appropriate use. If you are sharing a device, your dictionary might not be ideal for the shared users.

Reset Home Screen Layout

This will reset the home screen to the default grouping of apps. If you have other apps on the home screen, they’ll be shifted to another screen. If you’ve moved a stock app out of the home screen, this of course returns it home.

1. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset
2. Select Reset Home Screen Layout. Confirm.
3. Reset home screen layout

Reset home screen

When to use it? A loved one has unintentionally customized your home screen or you crave the appeal of a stock home screen layout. One reset button, brings things back to ‘normal’.

Reset Location and Privacy

This will reset location and privacy settings to the factory default setting. By default, Location Services (Settings > Privacy) is set to Off. I should caution you that setting this to Off has implications, the biggest of which is the inability to track your device using Find My iPhone. If you lose or have your iPhone stolen, Location Services must be enabled along with Find My iPhone in order for the service to work.

1. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset
2. Select Reset Location and Privacy. Confirm.
3. Reset location privacy

Reset location

This will reset defaults for third party apps. You will have an opportunity to re-enable location services on an app by app basis.

When to reset settings on iPhone or iPad

When to use it? You’ve enabled location services for all sorts of third party apps and need to restore control.

Your iOS device has a number of options for resetting your device. These can all be accessed from the Settings panel or in some cases, by using Find My iPhone. Where possible, it’s always advised that you backup your device before using the reset options. This enables you to restore your iPhone to a previously saved state. Knowing when to use the assorted reset options can prove helpful in solving small problems or when preparing your device for sale.

15 thoughts on “How to Reset Settings On Your iPhone or iPad”

  1. Thanks for the great explanations…one questiom for you…the rest function asks for a 4 digit password. What if you do not know what that is ?

  2. Brilliant article. Explains very well what will happen in all cases. Much better than any explanations found on the actual Apple website. Well done and thank you.

  3. PLEEZ..HELP ME…My ipad 3 is restord in ‘Erase All Content and Settings’ but after restarting the ipad is blinging the round emplom in screen…not open …what this ??????help me pleeeezz…….pleace contact me…pleezzzz………

  4. Oh thank you, thank you. When my iPad 3 suddenly developed no network connection I first blamed my modem setup and then the iPad. Found your article clear and helpful; you saved my bacon. Did a network reset and it’s flying along at top speed again.

  5. Hello,
    Thank you very much for your fantastic guide.
    I just want you to ask you something. I just bought an iphone 4s with 8Gb memory. Due to the “other” memory, I would like to Erase All Content and Settings and go back to the factory settings in order to set it from the scratch. The only thing that concerns me is my emails. If I’ll do that, my emails will be deleted and from my mac too?
    Thank you very much

  6. I have an iPhone 4 running iOS 7.1.2. Hopefully, a Erase All Settings will help with the sluggishness I’ve been experiencing. Worst case is Erase All Content and Settings, but I consider it the “nuclear” option, so I am hesitant to press that button.

  7. I used the “nuclear” factory reset and gave my iPad mini to my Mum. Signed into her iCloud etc. But it still autocomplete’s email addresses when composing from MY address book that is no longer in any way connected to it? Weirder still, the day I gave it to her, there was an awful screeching like interference between her iPhone 4S and the iPad and since then, her iPhone also autocompletes from my address book. The iPhone has never been mine, never had my details etc on it. Bit worrying that there is a ghost memory you cannot delete?

  8. If I want to give it away to someone will it delete the phone number as well? I am gonna transfer my number to another iPhone.

  9. All of my purchased and downloaded videos and TV shows from iTunes are no longer showing up in my videos ap. what do I need to do to return them to the videos ap? Also, the storage for these downloads are still showing that it’s used up but the videos ap doesn’t appear when I look in storage to see how much each ap is using.


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