How to Erase Your iPhone Settings and Data

Remove some, or all, of your settings and files

Delete the settings on your iPhone to remove a specific set of settings without restoring your whole phone. Or, from the same place in the Settings app, reset your phone to the factory default settings. You can delete iPhone data from the phone or through iTunes using the Restore iPhone tool. If you use your phone to erase the data, choose which settings to delete; the iTunes restore process erases everything from your phone.

The information in this article covers iPhones running iOS 12. Previous versions use similar menus and procedures.

How to Reset the Settings on Your iPhone

After you back up your iPhone and decide what you want to erase, choose the correct reset option from the Reset page of the Settings app.

Always back up your iPhone before deleting settings or restoring it back to its factory default state. If something goes wrong, you can restore the data without permanently losing anything.

Open Settings > General > Reset. Tap the option that corresponds to what you want to reset on your iPhone. If any prompts are shown, follow the on-screen steps to complete them and finalize the reset.

General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings in iPhone settings

Because the Reset All Content and Settings option resets the entire phone, you'll have to set it up again from scratch if you plan on using it after the reset.

Choose What to Reset

Pick from six options when you reset your iPhone:

  • Reset All Settings: This option resets all your preference settings, returning them to the defaults. It does not erase any of your data or apps.
  • Erase All Content and Settings: To completely delete your iPhone data, this is the option to choose. This option erases all your preferences and removes every song, movie, picture, app, or file on the device. It's a factory-reset tool.
  • Reset Network Settings: This option returns your wireless network settings to the factory default states. Any Wi-Fi password you entered is erased, so any hotspot or router your phone automatically connects to will no longer recognize your phone.
  • Reset Keyboard Dictionary: This option removes all the custom words and spellings you added to your phone's dictionary and spellchecker.
  • Reset Home Screen Layout: Use this option to undo all the folders and app arrangements you created and return your iPhone's layout to its default state.
  • Reset Location & Privacy: Tapping this option makes any app that has ever asked for access to your GPS location, address book, microphone, or other private data, request those permissions again the next time they require it.