If you're having problems with your iPhone, a hard reset practically guarantees a fix. A hard reset is also an important step to take before you sell your iPhone because it returns your device to factory settings. Many people don't understand the difference between a soft and a hard reset and which approach works best for their specific situation. Learn the basics of the hard reset, including how to perform it, and a soft reset before you give up on your phone.
What Is a Hard Reset on an iPhone?
A hard reset describes restoring the iPhone to factory settings and removing all your data from it. For troubleshooting, this works well, but it represents an extreme approach to tackling whatever issues you have with your phone. Hard resetting returns it to the state it was in when it was new, so hard resets, which remove all your data and information, work well for that purpose. If you are having minor issues with your iPhone, it's worth trying a soft reset first, which reboots the device and may clear up the problem.
Why Would I Want to Hard Reset an iPhone?
Hard resets work well for serious issues. If your iPhone has a virus, if the phone displays "iPhone error 9" or "iPhone error 4013," if your iPhone slows down substantially, or if you're selling it to somebody else, you should consider hard resetting your iPhone. You can back up your data before performing the hard reset, but the process can't be reversed, and you should think carefully before deciding to do it. If the issue isn't serious, then a soft reset might be all you need.
How to Hard Reset an iPhone
The process for hard resetting an iPhone hasn't changed for the most recent iPhones, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the SE and all other recent models. There are three approaches to resetting your iPhone: a hard reset performed on your handset, a hard reset performed via iTunes, and a soft reset.
Hard resetting your iPhone can be performed easily either from your handset or through iTunes with your phone connected to your computer. From your handset, navigate to the "Settings" app and then choose "General." Scroll to the bottom of the General screen and tap "Reset." From the submenu, choose "Erase All Content and Settings," and finally, tap the red option that says "Erase iPhone."
To hard reset through iTunes on your computer, connect your iPhone to it via USB cable. Launch iTunes and click on the "iPhone" button. In the "Summary" tab, choose the option that says "Restore iPhone." You are prompted to create a backup of the data on your phone. Click "Restore," and iTunes returns your iPhone to the state it was in when it left the factory.
For soft resetting your iPhone, the process for older models differs slightly from that for later models. For the iPhone 6, 6S, SE, 5, 5S and earlier models, press and hold the "Home" and the power button down together and keep them pushed down until the screen turns black and the Apple logo reappears on the screen. The process for later models doesn't change much: Press and hold the power button and either volume button simultaneously. When you see "Slide to power off" on the screen, release the buttons and slide your finger across the "Slide to power off" button. Wait a few seconds and then push the power button to restart the iPhone.
Don't hard reset your iPhone unless you're sure it is necessary and remember to back up any data that you don't want to lose. The soft reset process doesn't have much of an impact on your iPhone, and your data will still be intact when the process is complete, but a hard reset removes all your data. Back up either using iCloud (which you can do from your phone) or by connecting the iPhone to your computer, navigating to iTunes and selecting "Back Up Now" from the "Backups" section of the summary for your iPhone.
- Dr. Fone: Never Hard Reset iPhone Before Reading the Ultimate Checklist
- TechTarget: Hard Reset
- Payette Forward: How to Hard Reset an iPhone & Why It’s Bad: An Apple Tech Explains!
- Uber Gizmo: How to Reset the iPhone (Hard, Soft and for All iOS Versions)
- Apple: Restore Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to Factory Settings
- Apple: How to Back up Your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
- Apple: How to Erase Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch