Backup and Reset Your iPhone

It isn’t quite spring yet, but have you considered giving your iPhone a bit of a clean-out? You may wonder why you need to do that, well there are several reasons. Maybe you want to sell your iPhone, in which case it is always a good idea to reset it to the original factory settings (after backing up any information you can’t bear to lose using a computer or iCloud). Maybe your iPhone needs a repair or you have a software error and the troubleshooting guide tells you to reset it.

Your iPhone will have accumulated a huge amount of information over the years, and some of it could be inconvenient (at best) if someone gets access to your data. Email correspondence with loved ones and colleagues for example – you don’t want those soppy exchanges of lovey-dovey messages (with loved ones, not colleagues hopefully) or business-sensitive information leaking out. And what about those candid photos that probably seemed hilarious at the time?

So, it may seem drastic to do a total reset and wipe all your data and personal settings, but there are times when it’s the best thing to do, so here’s a quick guide to how to do it. Depending which iOS you have on your iPhone, the details may be slightly different, but the process is essentially the same, using either the iPhone alone, or through iTunes.

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Backing up your data

In preparation to restore factory settings, click on the iTunes menu (on the left side of the iTunes tool bar), and pick ‘Check for Updates’ to be sure you have the very latest version. If you haven’t, then download the latest version and install it. Link your iPhone to a computer using USB. Find your iPhone in iTunes and on the summary tab, click the ‘Back Up Now’ grey button. If you don’t want to use a computer, you can back up via iCloud.

The iTunes Method

Once you’ve backed up your data, again on the summary tab in iTunes, click the ‘Restore iPhone’ grey button. You get a pop-up window asking you to confirm, so click ‘Restore’ and you may be prompted to agree to the software license agreement, so click ‘Agree’ which will allow the iOS software to download.

Once that has all happened, and it may take a few minutes to complete, check that the iPhone has indeed been restored. You’ll know if it has if you see the iOS Set Up Assistant when you start your iPhone. You can either put back the data that you backed up, or start again with effectively a fresh from the box iPhone which you can use or safely sell as you wish.

Method for using just your iPhone

Find the ‘Reset’ menu – on the home screen, click to ‘Settings’ icon, select the ‘General’ option and click the ‘Reset’ button which will probably be at the bottom of the second page.

On the ‘Reset’ menu, click on the ‘Erase All Content and Settings’ option in blue, and then the ‘Erase iPhone’ red option to confirm that you really want to go ahead.

Once that has all happened, and it may take a few minutes to complete, check that the iPhone has indeed been restored. You’ll know if it has if you see the iOS Set Up Assistant when you start your iPhone. You can either put back the data that you backed up, or start again with effectively a fresh from the box iPhone which you can use or safely sell as you wish.

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