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How to Reset Your iPhone

If you need to speed up or trade in your iPhone, reset it first. You'll figure out how to factory reset, force restart, soft reset your iPhone as well as reset it without passcode in this article.

Pauline Larson
Updated on Nov 15, 2022

You can easily do a reset to your iPhone within a few minutes.

Suppose that your iPhone have some issues now, like it's always frozen and unresponsive due to years of use, a reset can be an optional choice to refresh your iPhone in this case. Or there might be no problem with your iPhone, but you may still desire a factory reset to wipe all the data clean as you are selling or giving it away.

Note: If you need to perform a factory reset on your iPhone, it will return to the default settings with all the content erased. So, to back up your iPhone is fairly crucial, since you can restore the data after the reset.

In this article, we will show you when and how to factory reset, force restart and soft reset your iPhone. The distinctions of these 3 choices are elaborated as well. And if you'd like to know how to reset an iPhone without passcode, several efficient solutions like using iPhone Unlocker are also listed out below.

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Tip: This guide works for resetting all models of iPhone, including iPhone 14 (Plus, Pro, Pro Max), iPhone 13 (mini, Pro, Pro Max), iPhone 12 (mini, Pro, Pro Max), iPhone 11 (Pro, Pro Max,), iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8 (Plus), iPhone 7 (Plus), iPhone SE (1gen, 2gen, 3gen), iPhone 6s (Plus), iPhone 6 (Plus), iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S.

The distinctions among a factory reset, a force restart and a soft reset

A factory reset is the option that restores your iPhone to the default settings. As a nuclear solution, it will cause permanently complete data loss if you haven't backed up your data. It's suggested to do a factory reset only before you trade in or give away your iPhone for privacy preserving, or when you need to get into an unavailable iPhone without passcode.

A soft reset is simply turning off and restarting your iPhone when it runs slowly but still reacts to your taps. And a force restart allows you to shut down your iPhone forcibly when the screen gets stuck and doesn't respond. Unlike a factory reset, nothing will be deleted from your iPhone through these 2 options.

You can select one of the options above to reset your iPhone based on your own conditions. Read on to find out how to do in details.

How to factory reset an iPhone in Settings

If neither a soft reset nor a force restart fixes your iPhone problem, you'll have to take a factory reset as the final solution. To do it in the most straightforward way, you need to start with Settings.

Tip: Bear in mind that your iPhone should be backed up previously before the reset, as all the pictures, videos, messages and files will be removed when the reset is done.

Let's check the steps below:

1. Open Settings and find "General."

2. Swipe up for "Transfer or Reset iPhone."

3. Tap on "Erase All Content and Settings."

4. Tap on "Continue."

5. Enter the lock screen passcode.

Note: Sometimes you may be required to enter your Apple ID password to turn off Find My and Activation Lock before the reset.

6. Hit "Erase iPhone" to start the reset.

Your iPhone will then start to reset at once. When it finishes, you will have an iPhone like a brand-new one.

How to force restart an iPhone

If your iPhone isn't responding and fails to be shut down, you may try to force restart it before performing a factory reset. It may seem to be a milder way when compared with a factory reset, for it will not erase any data from your iPhone. Steps to force restart an iPhone differs depending on what model it is.

  • If your iPhone is an iPhone 8, iPhone SE (2nd generation and later) or a newer one, press and quickly release the Volume up button, then do the same to the Volume down button. Keep holding the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
  • If your iPhone is an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, hold on to the Volume down button along with the Side button, don't loosen your fingers until the Apple logo pops up.
  • If your iPhone is an iPhone 6s, iPhone SE (1st generation) or an earlier one, press and hold the Home button and the Side button together, release only when the Apple logo appears.

How to soft reset an iPhone

When your iPhone is lagging, soft reset is a feasible solution to this minor problem. To perform a soft reset is not hard at all, which is equally turn off and restart your iPhone. By doing this, you will speed up how your iPhone works without losing any data.

Whether your iPhone is capable of setting up a Face ID decides how to turn it off.

  • For iPhones with Face ID (iPhone X or later models): keep pressing the Side button and the Volume down button until the power off slider appears, then swipe it from left to right and it will shut down. When your iPhone screen is completely black, hold on to the Side button to restart it.
  • For iPhones with the Home button (iPhone SE, iPhone 8 or earlier models): long-press the Side button until you see the power off slider, then drag it to shut down. Later, you can turn it on by holding down the Side button until the Apple logo shows up.

Besides, using Settings is another alternative for the iPhones running iOS 11 or later to do a soft reset. Just go to Settings > General > Shut Down, then you can drag the power off slider to completely turn off your iPhone.

Bonus - how to reset an iPhone without passcode

Forgetting the lock screen passcode to an iPhone may well happen in our daily lives. After receiving wrong passcodes for multiple times, your iPhone may display an iPhone Unavailable or Security Lockout screen with no option for you to regain access. In order to unlock your iPhone, you'll have to reset it without the passcode. Here're a few methods to reach the aim.

Option 1: factory reset an iPhone by iPhone Unlocker

iPhone Unlocker is a spectacular application with amazing benefits worth highlighting. You will find it quite easy to fix various kinds of passcode problems like lock screen passcode, Screen Time passcode, Apple ID and password. More importantly, it is compatible with all models of iPhone and iPad while providing a simple operation interface. Thus, this tool can be greatly handy for you to reset your iPhone without the passcode.

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Step 1: Launch iPhone Unlocker on your PC or Mac. Click "Wipe Passcode" and hit "Start" next.

Step 2: Make your iPhone plugged into the computer and detected by the application through following the instructions in "Device connected but not recognized?".

Step 3: Confirm the device information and hit "Start." An iOS software will begin downloading. Wait for it to finish.

Step 4: Fill in the blank with "0000" as required, and click "Unlock." Later, your iPhone will start the reset immediately. Once done, your iPhone will reboot like it's just out of the box, and you can set it up from scratch or restore the data from your early made backup.

Prefer video content to text? Watch the video below.

Option 2: factory reset an iPhone by Recovery Mode

Using Recovery Mode works the same to reset an iPhone but may have some limitations: You need to have PC running Windows 10 or later with the latest iTunes installed; a Mac running macOS 10.15 or later with Finder turned on is equivalent.

Here we'll use iTunes to show you the specific steps on how to restore your iPhone to factory settings by use of Recovery Mode.

1. Connect your iPhone with a lightening cable. Open iTunes on your PC.

2. You need to activate your iPhone into Recovery Mode.

  • For iPhone 8 or later: short-press and release the Volume up button and the Volume down button in series. Hold on to the Side button till you see the Recovery Mode screen.
  • For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: stick to press the Volume down button and the Side button simultaneously, release only when the Recovery Mode screen turns up.
  • For iPhone 6s and earlier: long-press both the Home button and the Side button, don't let go until the Recovery Mode screen comes in sight.

Your iPhone may show one of these 2 screens after entering Recovery Mode.

3. When your iPhone is recognized by iTunes, there will be a prompt on the computer offering you options of "Update" or "Restore." In order to factory reset your iPhone, click "Restore" to go on.

The option of "Restore" enables a reset on your iPhone.

4. "Restore and Update" is what you need to click next for confirmation about the reset. In the following, iTunes will download a software and your iPhone will get a reset then.

You need to make the final confirmation before your iPhone resets.

Note: Assuming that the reset takes more than 15 minutes, your iPhone will get out of Recovery Mode and suspend the reset automatically. In that regard, you'll have to start over the reset by following the steps above.

Option 3: factory reset an iPhone by Erase iPhone

Erase iPhone is one of the most expedient options to reset an iPhone when you don't have the passcode. With this feature, you could easily perform a factory reset by a few simple taps. And computer is not needed in this way.

A number of criteria should be taken into account before applying this method to reset your iPhone, which includes:

  • Having an iOS version of 15.2 or above.
  • Having a stable network.
  • Having the Apple ID and password.

If all the conditions above can be fulfilled, you can do the reset via Erase iPhone feature by following the guides below.

1. Keep entering incorrect passcode to your iPhone. When the "iPhone Unavailable try again in 15 minutes" shows up, you may see the Erase iPhone option appear in the lower right. Tap on it.

2. A warning prompt will pop up next. Tap Erase iPhone again to confirm.

3. Enter the password to sign out of your Apple ID, and tap the same option as the last step you did to trigger the reset.

The Erase iPhone option can be seen in the iPhone Unavailable screen.

Give it a while for your iPhone to finish the reset. When it's over, you will be welcomed by the hello screen and able to set up the device from beginning as well as add a new passcode to it.


1. What do the other reset options do respectively?

If your iPhone runs iOS 15 or later, different reset options will be presented in the Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset. You may have some doubts about what they do separately, and here we'll explain one by one in details.

Reset All Settings

This option will revert all the settings and configurations to the default state. However, all of your data will remain intact, since it's just a reset of system settings.

Reset Network Settings

With this command, all the network-related data will be erased, covering WIFI and cellular network preferences, VPN configurations, connected Bluetooth devices, etc. It helps a lot when you have trouble in the iPhone network connection. Also, no data or media are removed after this reset.

Reset Keyboard Dictionary

The keyboard dictionary's history in your iPhone will get cleaned out if you do this reset. It's a great solution especially when you meet some autocorrect glitches like invariably capitalizing some words in random, or replacing your correct words with wrong ones.

Reset Home Screen Layout

If some apps suddenly disappear from your iPhone home screen, you can reset the home screen layout to get them back. All the apps will be reinstated to original positions, which is also helpful when you feel like reorganizing your messed-up home screen.

Reset Location and Privacy

Concerned about data breaches for being obtained location information by too many apps? To perform a location and privacy settings reset can dispel your misgivings. Once it's done, an app will not know where you are without your permission.

2. How to back up my data?

You could make a backup in iCloud. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Then turn it on, and your data will be automatically backed up in iCloud when the iPhone is charged, locked, enabled with network connection. In addition, you could hit "Back Up Now" to manually back up your data right away.

Or you could back up your data using iTunes in a Windows PC, or Finder in a Mac.

3. Can I use "Restore iPhone" in iTunes to factory reset my iPhone?

If you know the lock screen passcode of your iPhone, you can factory reset it by selecting the "Restore iPhone" option in iTunes. And Find My must be disabled in your iPhone before the reset.

  • You should firstly launch iTunes in your PC, and then connect your iPhone to the computer.
  • When it's connected, you may be prompted to enter the lock screen passcode, do it as required. And if a message pops up in your iPhone asking whether to trust this computer, tap "Trust."
  • Later, in the left pane of iTunes, hit "Summary." Then you will see the "Restore iPhone" option. Click on it to start the factory reset.
About Pauline Larson
Pauline Larson is a writer and journalist who has been well-experienced in technology industry for almost 10 years. She has posted various professional articles in different tech-related sites and magazines, as she is deeply fascinated with digital technology, especially with Apple's products.
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