How to Completely Reset an iPhone

Written by russell wood
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How to Completely Reset an iPhone
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Whether you want to wipe clean your iPhone so that you can sell it, or you simply want to start over with a factory-fresh install, the best and easiest way to do that is to completely reset the phone and erase all its content and settings. This is a permanent removal, so before you pull the trigger, be 100-percent sure that you'll never need anything saved on the phone again. The following instructions are for resetting iPhone 3GS models.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Press the "Home" button on the bottom of the screen to turn on the lock screen. Slide your finger against the arrow on the bottom of the screen to unlock the phone.

  2. 2

    Press your finger on the "Settings" icon on the home screen. An icon that reads "General" will appear near the bottom of the next screen. Press the icon with your finger to go to the next screen.

  3. 3

    Flick the face of the iPhone using your finger in a vertical motion to scroll down the screen. This will revel an icon that reads "Reset." Press this icon with your finger.

  4. 4

    Read through all of the options on the next screen. The second one from the top reads "Erase all content and settings." If you are sure that you want to restore the phone to its original settings, press this button, then confirm it with another tap on the screen. Allow the phone to restart, then give it least an hour to completely reset.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to completely wipe your phone and you think you may need something from the phone later, sync it with iTunes on your computer and back it up. This way, you'll always have a copy if you need it.

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