If you’re looking to sell or trade-in your old iPhone or MacBook, you’ll want to wipe your personal data from the device. The easiest way to do that is a factory reset.
Of course that is not the only reason you use your gadgets’ self-wiping features. You could be looking to free up some precious iCloud space. Or maybe your AirPods or Apple Watch just aren’t working properly and you’re thinking a starting on fresh slate could be the solution.
Whatever it is, knowing how to factory reset your Apple device is pretty important. And you should factory reset any Apple product before you sell it or trade it in — especially if it’s an old iPhone, iPad or Mac. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Factory Reset: iPhone or iPad
If you have any reservations about factory resetting your iPhone or iPad, make sure that you back-up your data beforehand. There are two ways to do this. On your iPhone or iPad, you can go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back Up Now. Or on your Mac, you can connect your iPhone or iPad (via a charging cable), go into iTunes and select the option to back up your device. If you’ve done that or just don’t need to backup your device, it’s pretty simple to return your iPhone or iPad to its factory settings.
- 1. Go to Settings > General > Reset
2. Select ‘Erase all content and settings‘ and enter your password
3. Select ‘Erase iPhone‘ (or iPad) and type your Apple ID password
4. Your iPhone or iPad will factory reset and restart
How to Factory Reset: Mac
When you’re looking to sell or trade-in your computer, whether it’s an iMac or a MacBook, it’s a good idea to return it to its factory settings. This means factory resetting the computer and re-installing the latest macOS software. Below are the steps to do just that. (Make sure you back up your computer and log out of your accounts, such as iCloud and iMessage, before doing so.)
- 1. Restart your computer: hold the power button > select Restart when it appears
2. While the computer restarts, hold down the ‘Command‘ and ‘R‘ keys
3. Once you see the Apple logo appear, release the ‘Command and R keys’
4. When you see a Recovery Mode menu, select Disk Utility
5. Make sure the ‘Macintosh HD’ startup disk is highlighted in your Disk Utility window > select Erase
6. A pop-up window should appear. Change the Format to macOS Extended (Journaled) > select Erase again
7. Select Quit Disk Utility in the Disk Utilities menu.
8. A window will then appear giving you the option to reinstall macOS > select Install macOS
9. After the new macOS is installed, your computer has been successfully factory reset
How to Factory Reset: Apple Watch
Before upgrading from one Apple Watch to another, you’re going to want to erase all your personal data from old Apple Watch. To do this, all you’re going to want to factory reset it.
- 1. Unpair Apple Watch by opening the Apple Watch app on your iPhone or iPad
2. Select the My Watch tab > select “i” next to your watch > select Unpair Apple Watch
3. On your Apple Watch, go to the Settings app
4. Select General > Reset > ‘Erase All Content and Settings‘
5. Select Erase All
How to Factory Reset: AirPods
With AirPods, whether they’re standard AirPods or the newer AirPods Pro, you’re going to want to factory reset them if they for some reason stop working properly. Maybe you have some connectivity troubles or one earbud just isn’t charging properly — a factory reset could be the solution.
- 1. Open Bluetooth settings forget your AirPods or AirPods Pro from your device.
2. Make sure both AirPods are in their case. Open the lid so you can see the indicator light.
3. Hold the button on the back of the case until the light starts flashing amber.
4. Wait until the amber light flashes three times, then release the button and close the lid.
5. Place your AirPods adjacent to your iPhone and hold the button on the back of the case again. A pairing screen should appear on your iPhone and select Connect
How to Factory Reset: Apple TV
Your Apple TV might just seem like a box that sits on your TV stand, but it's connected to your Apple account and is plugged into your data. Whether you're having trouble getting it to work correctly, or preparing to sell or recycle it, you should perform a factory reset.
- 1. Turn your Apple TV on.
2. Go to Settings > System > Reset or System > General > Reset on 3rd gen and previous devices.
3. Select "Reset" if you just want to erase your data, and "Reset and Update" if you want to bring your Apple TV's software up to date after you wipe it.
4. Leave your Apple TV on and connected to the internet until the process is finished.