How to Restore an iPhone to Original Factory Settings

An iPhone 6 connected to a charging cable.
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Restoring your iPhone to its original factory settings is a way to repair any damages you've done to the phone by downloading unauthorized software. It's not guaranteed to fix your problems, but it is your best bet.

You have a couple of options for restoring or resetting your iPhone to its factory settings. Here's how to do it.

How to Restore Your iPhone With iTunes

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB cable that came with it, and then open iTunes.

    iTunes may automatically open when you connect your phone.

  2. Click the iPhone icon in the upper-left corner of iTunes.

    How to restore iPhone
  3. Click either Back Up Now or Sync to manually create a backup of your phone's data.

    If you set your iPhone to back up to iCloud automatically, you should still do a manual backup to ensure you keep all of your data.

    How to restore iPhone
  4. Click Restore iPhone... near the top of the iTunes window.

    You must turn off Find My iPhone before you can restore your device.

    How to restore an iPhone
  5. iTunes will ask you to confirm your decision. Click Restore to continue.

    How to restore iPhone
  6. iTunes will automatically start the restoration process and notify you when it's complete.

How to Restore Your iPhone Through Settings

If you can still use your iPhone, you can also restore it to its original state through the Settings app. Here's how.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.

    Settings app in iOS
  2. Tap General.

    How to restore an iPhone
  3. Tap Reset near the bottom of the menu.

    How to restore an iPhone
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

    How to restore an iPhone
  5. You may receive a prompt to back up your iPhone to iCloud or to enter your passcode, and then your phone will erase itself and restart.

Set Up Your iPhone

You can restore your iPhone either by connecting it to iTunes or by following the prompts on the device itself. Whichever way you decide to use, you'll see two options: Set up as a new iPhone and restore from a backup.

If you want to restore all of your settings (such as your e-mail accounts, contacts, and passwords) to the phone, choose Restore from a backup. Select the name of your iPhone from the pull-down menu on the right of the screen.

If your iPhone has been particularly problematic, you may want to select Set up as a new iPhone. Doing so will prevent iTunes from restoring any troublesome settings, and you'll still be able to sync your data to it.

Using the 'Set Up as a New iPhone' Option

When you set up your device as a new iPhone, you'll have to decide which information and files you'd like to sync to your phone. First, you have to decide if you'd like to sync your contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, and email accounts with your iPhone.

Once you've made your selections, click Done.

iTunes will begin backing up and​ syncing your iPhone.

Transfer Your Files

To transfer any apps, songs, and shows you may have purchased or downloaded to your phone, go back into iTunes once the initial sync is complete. Select which Apps, Ringtones, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Books, and Photos you'd like to sync to your iPhone from the menus in iTunes.

After you've made your selections, hit the Apply button that you'll see in the lower right-hand corner of the iTunes screen. iTunes will sync the files and media you've selected ​to your iPhone.

Using the 'Restore from a Backup' Option

If your phone's most recent backup was to iCloud, you don't need to connect it to iTunes to restore its settings. You'll be able to choose this after you sign in to your Apple ID.

If you decide to restore your iPhone from a backup, click Restore from a backup.

Whether you're doing this on your phone or through iTunes, you'll see a list of the most recent backups you've made. Select the one you made at the start of the process, and your phone will return to its previous state.

You may want to use an earlier backup if you're trying to return to a previous version of iOS or get rid of a problematic app. You will lose some data if you do this.

Sync Your Phone to iTunes

When the iPhone or iTunes has finished installing the old settings, the device will restart again.

If you used iTunes for this process, you should sync your phone to the program to reinstall all of your files. Your apps, music, and videos will move back to your phone.

Once the iTunes sync -- or iCloud restore, if you're not using iTunes -- is complete, your phone is ready to use.