How to Reload the OS on an iPad

by Andy Warycka
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Apple iPads are generally reliable computing devices, but like all computers they misbehave at times and need to have the operating system reinstalled. If you have an iPad that has been randomly restarting, suffers frequent app crashes or generally behaves erratically, you may need to go beyond simply restoring the device and reinstalling the firmware entirely. Recovery mode allows you reset the iPad to factory settings and reload iOS while bypassing the device boot process, leaving you with a fresh install. Note that restoring iOS on the iPad will completely erase all content stored on the device, so make sure you have a recent backup to restore from once the OS is reinstalled, if possible.

Step 1

Open iTunes on your computer.

Step 2

Connect your USB sync cable to your computer but do not connect the other end to your iPad yet.

Step 3

Turn off the iPad if it's not already off.

Step 4

Hold down the Home button while simultaneously connecting the USB sync cable to the iPad.

Step 5

Continue holding the Home button until the "Connect to iTunes" screen appears on the iPad and then release the button.

Click "OK" when you see the dialog box indicating that iTunes has detected a device in recovery mode; then follow the prompts to restore the iPad in iTunes.


  • If your iPad battery is completely drained, you will need to let it charge for at least 10 minutes before attempting to enter recovery mode.


Photo Credits

  • Ian Forsyth/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Andy Warycka has been writing professionally since 2009. His work has appeared on sites such as,, and other top online properties. He owns a photography business, and holds an Associate of Applied Science in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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