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Bringing an iPhone Back to How You Bought It

written by: Stephanie M. Lucas•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/22/2010

Resetting iPhone to factory settings will bring your iPhone back to how you bought it. Learn how to restore iPhone to factory settings, why it should be done, what you could lose when you do it and how to restore your saved data after performing a restore.

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    Different Ways to Reset an iPhone

    Resetting iPhone is simple; but first you'll need to figure out which type of reset you need to perform. If your iPhone is frozen or unresponsive, try rebooting your iPhone with a soft or hard reset of your phone. Restoring the iPhone to factory settings can be used if your phone freezes frequently or has other performance issues. Resetting iPhone to factory settings is also a good idea if you are selling your iPhone to someone else. Be cautious with this type of reset, as it will wipe your phone clean of any saved data (songs, pictures, downloaded apps, contacts, etc.)

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    Preparing to Restore iPhone to Factory Settings

    As mentioned, restoring your iPhone will wipe the phone clean. You will lose all data added to your phone, including contacts, music, calendar entries, photos, etc. When you restore your iPhone it is returned to how it was when you bought it.

    Before you reset to factory settings, be sure to check to make sure you have the most current version of iTunes installed. Also back up the data on your iPhone. A back up will allow you to return all your data to your phone after you perform the restore. This can be done by syncing with your computer prior to restoring your phone.

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    Restoring iPhone Back to How You Bought It

    To return your iPhone back to its original condition, all you need to do is restore your phone. This method for resetting iPhone clears all data from the phone and brings it back to how you bought it. So let's get to it. To restore your iPhone, follow these steps:

    1) Connect your iPhone to your computer.

    2) In iTunes, under the Devices, select your iPhone.

    3) Select the 'Summary' tab across the top.

    4) Click 'Restore'. (See screenshot below for steps 1-4)

    Steps 1-4: Connect, Select Device, Choose 'Summary' Tab and Click 'Restore' 

    5) After clicking 'Restore', you will be asked if you are sure that you want to restore your iPhone to factory settings (see example of the window pop-up below). Click 'Restore' if you are ready.

    Click on 'Restore' if you are ready to reset. Click 'Cancel' if you are not. 6) After confirming that you'd like to restore your iPhone, your iPhone is taken through several steps to restore it to factory settings. Notifications will pop up to let you know which phase of the process the phone is in. The phases occur in the following order: Extracting software, Verifying iPhone restore, Preparing iPhone for restore, Preparing iPhone for software restore, Restoring iPhone software, Verifying iPhone software, Verifying iPhone restore, Restoring iPhone firmware. These phases take several minutes to complete. Do not disconnect your phone while the phone is in the process of restoring.

    7) The following notification appears to inform you that your iPhone has been restored to factory settings and is restarting. Click 'Ok'.

    iPhone has been restored to factory settings and is restarting 

    8) After you click 'Ok', your phone will restart. The Apple logo is displayed while it is starting up. When the phone comes back on, you may notice the iPhone says to connect to iTunes (see below for screenshot).

    Connect to iTunes screen 

    Ignore this screen, do not disconnect your iPhone. Wait until this screen goes away and changes to say "iPhone is activated" (see screenshot below).

    iPhone is activated 

    Your iPhone is now restored to factory settings. You have no further steps to follow if you want your phone to stay free of data. If you want your phone restored from backup (to return all your saved data to your phone), follow the steps to restore your iPhone from backup on the next page.

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    Restoring iPhone to factory settings can be used to address performance issues with your phone. Learn how to restore iPhone from a backup after your phone has been returned to factory settings so that you don't lose any of your saved data (contacts, music, downloaded apps, etc.)
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    Restoring Your iPhone From Backup After Resetting to Factory Settings

    After your iPhone has been restored and activated it is time to restore your phone from the backup. Make sure that you do not disconnect your phone after it is activated before completing these steps.

    1) When the 'Set Up Your iPhone' option appears in iTunes (see screenshot below), select the proper device from the drop down menu and click 'Continue'.

    Set up your iphone 

    2) Restoring your iPhone from backup may take several minutes. Make sure not to disconnect your phone during the process. The following notification will pop-up to inform you that your iPhone is being restored from the backup:

    Restoring iphone from backup 

    3) Wait until the following notification appears to inform you that the settings for your iPhone have been restored (see screenshot below). Click 'Ok'.

    Settings have been restored 4) Your phone will once again be restarted. Do not disconnect. This may take up to several minutes as well.

    5) Wait until the phone comes back on and syncs with your computer. Once the sync is complete, you have successfully restored your iPhone. Do not disconnect your iPhone until iTunes says that the sync is complete and it is safe to disconnect your device.

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    Troubleshooting a Failed iPhone Restore

    If you attempted to restore your iPhone with the most current version of iTunes and received an "Unable to restore and update" error message or the restore did not correct the issues that prompted you to restore your phone, you may contact Apple to schedule an Apple Expert to call you to troubleshoot with you over the phone. If there is an Apple Store in your area, you could also go in to your local Apple Store.

    If your restore was unsuccessful and you did NOT have the most current version of iTunes installed, install the newest version of iTunes and try the restore again.