How to Reformat My iPhone

by Tammy Columbo
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Reformat your iPhone to prepare the device to sell or trade. The factory reset reformats the internal drive on the iPhone, and restores original software and settings. All of your email and storage accounts, files and settings are deleted. If the iPhone becomes unresponsive, reformatting the device will often resolve the issue. Reformat the iPhone through iTunes while the device is connected to your computer, or use the Reset feature in the Settings options to perform the factory reset from within the operating system.

Step 1

Tap the “Settings” icon in the iPhone home screen to open the Settings menu.

Step 2

Tap the “General” entry to open the General Settings screen.

Step 3

Scroll to the bottom of the screen to the Reset section, and then tap “Erase All Content and Settings.” If a password is configured, the password prompt displays. Type the password or passcode. A confirmation dialog box opens.

Tap “Erase” to confirm the reformatting process. The iPhone is reformatted, and when the restoration is finished, the Welcome screen displays.

Step 1

Press and hold the “Home” key while connecting the iPhone to your computer with the USB cable. iTunes launches in recovery mode. The Apple logo appears and a notification displays.

Step 2

Click “OK” to run recovery mode. The iTunes Recovery Menu opens.

Step 3

Click the “Restore” option in the Version section of the iTunes Recovery menu. A verification dialog box opens.

Click “Restore and Update.” The Restoring iPhone progress bar displays on the top of the iTunes Recovery screen. When the restoration is complete, the iTunes Recovery menu closes.


  • Information in these steps applies to the iPhone 5 running iOS 6.0 and above. Instructions may vary slightly or significantly for other versions of iOS or models of the iPhone.


  • Back up your data to iTunes or iCloud before reformatting your device. All files and settings will be deleted during the reformatting process.


Photo Credits

  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in the live music capital of the world, Tammy Columbo continues to work in the information technology industry as she has done for more than 10 years. While living in Austin, Columbo has contributed to high profile projects for the State of Texas, Fortune 500 technology companies and various non-profit organizations. Columbo began writing professionally in 2009.

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