How to reset an iPhone – everything you need to know

Here’s our guide to resetting your iPhone regardless of model or iOS. We’ll provide the info on unpairing an Apple Watch, creating a backup, signing out of iCloud and then resetting the device.

Got plans to flog your old iPhone? Well, before you do you’ll need to reset it, otherwise, the buyer will be privy to all your private details. The last thing you want is for someone to start spending your hard-earned by using your cards, iTunes or App Store accounts.

Or perhaps your iPhone has broken, and needs to be reset. It’s rare, but sometimes downloading new software can bork a device – requiring a factory reset to save the day.

So, it’s a pretty important job, but how do you actually go about resetting your iPhone? Here’s our guide to wiping your device.

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1.How to reset your iPhone – Unpairing your Apple Watch

Before we go any further, make sure you’ve unpaired your Apple Watch from your phone. To do this keep your iPhone and Apple Watch as close together as possible, then:  

Open the Apple Watch App on your iPhone> Tap My Watch Tab> Tap your Watch at the top of the screen> Tap Unpair Apple Watch> Tap again to confirm.

Apple Watch

You may be prompted to enter your Apple iD and password – be sure to do this. Don’t worry, your iPhone will automatically create a backup of your watch before erasing the content.

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2. How to reset your iPhone – Creating a backup

You’ll need to make sure you have a backup of your device. Basically, a backup is a carbon copy of what’s on your iPhone including how it looks. Learn how to create one by following our backup guide.

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2. How to reset your iPhone – signing out of iCloud

You don’t want people being able to access your personal, cloud based information. This means – depending on which iOS you run – either signing out of or deleting your iCloud account from your iPhone.

If your device is running iOS 10 all you’ll need sign out of the account and then delete it. Follow these instructions:

Tap settings> iCloud> sign out.


At this point, another sign out message will appear. Tap it, then tap Delete from this iPhone, entering your password when prompted.

If your iPhone runs iOS 7 or earlier:

Tap settings> iCloud> delete account.

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3. How to reset your iPhone – resetting it

Now you’ve backed up your device and signed out of iCloud it’s time to reset the phone. To do this:

Go back to Settings> General> Reset> Erase All Content and Settings> If asked enter device passcode> Erase.

Reset iPhone

If you’ve activated the Find My iPhone feature you’ll be prompted to input your Apple iD and password. This is important as Find My iPhone uses Activation Lock – a security feature that prevents thieves from turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your content.

Sure, it’s a nifty security feature, but it’ll also prevent the new owner from being about to use your old iPhone – so make sure you disable it when prompted.

Your device is now completely reset and ready to be sold. If need be, contact your network provider to help transfer the iPhone to the new owner.

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Got any other tips for selling your iPhone? Let us know in the comments below.

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