How to Reset Your iPad and Erase All Content

Reset your iPad to factory settings to remove your personal information

Frustrated iPad user holding an iPad with the Reset screen on it

Lifewire / Derek Abella

The two most common reasons for resetting an iPad to the factory default settings are to prepare the iPad up for a new owner or to overcome a problem with the iPad that rebooting the iPad won't solve.

If you're planning on selling your iPad, or even giving it to a family member, you will want to reset the iPad to the factory default settings. This process will clear your iPad, erasing the settings and data and returning it to the exact state as when you first opened the box. By wiping the iPad, you leave it blank for its new owner to set up.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 9 and later.

How to Erase All Content on the iPad

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You can protect yourself and your personal information by making sure all of the settings and data are erased from the iPad. The process of resetting should include turning off the Find My iPad feature.

Resetting the iPad is also a troubleshooting tool. You can solve many common problems by deleting the offending app and downloading it again from the App Store or powering the iPad down and restarting it, but problems that persist beyond these steps will usually clear up after resetting the device. Before doing a full wipe of the iPad, you can try clearing the settings and resetting the network settings. You can do both of these processes on the same screen you use to reset the iPad.

Before You Reset the iPad

To avoid losing any important data, you'll want to make sure you back up the device to iCloud before resetting it if you're able. To do this:

  1. The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap your name on the left side of the screen.

    Apple ID in Settings on an iPad
  3. Select iCloud.

    iCloud in iPad settings
  4. Tap iCloud Backup in the iCloud settings.

    iCloud Backup on iPad
  5. If the iCloud Backup option isn't on, activate it by tapping the switch at the top of the screen to on/green.

    iCloud Backup on iPad
  6. Tap Back Up Now

    Manual backup on iPad
  7. Your iPad will back up important information like contacts, settings, and photos.

Reset the iPad to Factory Default

After you've performed a backup, you are ready to erase all content on the iPad and reset it back to "factory default." Here's how.

  1. In Settings, tap General on the left-side menu.

    General heading in Settings on iPad
  2. Scroll to the end of the General settings and tap Reset.

    Reset option in iPad General settings
  3. Tap Reset All Content and Settings to erase your iPad.

    Erase All Content and Settings option on an iPad
  4. You'll need to confirm your selection twice. Because this option will set your iPad back to the factory default, Apple wants to double-check your choice. If you have a passcode lock on the iPad, you will also have to enter it to continue.

  5. Your iPad will erase and restart, ready for someone to set it up again.

Other Ways to Reset the iPad

The Reset menu contains several different options if you don't want to clear the iPad entirely.

If you're giving your iPad to a family member who's going to use the same Apple ID, you might want to choose the first option: Reset All Settings. This option leaves the data (music, movies, contacts, etc.) on the tablet but resets the preferences. You can also try this if you are having problems with the iPad and aren't quite ready to go through with a full wipe. 

If you're resetting the device because you're having trouble connecting to your Wi-Fi or having other issues with internet connectivity, you might first try Reset Network Settings. This option will clear out any data stored on your specific network and could help clear up the issue without the need to do a full restore. 

But most people will want to choose to Erase All Content and Settings. This option protects you by making sure all data is off of the iPad, which includes information for your iTunes account. If you are selling the iPad on craigslist, eBay, or to a friend or family member who will be using a different iTunes account, choose to erase all content and settings.