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iOS: How to back up your data and set up your device as a new device

Learn how to erase all data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and set it up as a new device to troubleshoot an issue.

Follow these steps to erase your device, set it up as if it were new, and preserve your data before erasing it. If you're going to give away or sell your iOS device, follow these steps.

  1. Install all iOS updates

    Check for software updates and install them if available.

  2. Transfer content

    Before you erase your device, take a few minutes to transfer your content from your device to your computer to ensure that all your critical data is safe.

  3. Back up

    Back up your device before you erase it. Depending on your backup method, review the steps below to ensure that you have a recent backup in case you decide to restore your device from a backup.

    iCloud

    iCloud backs up your device automatically once a day when connected to power and Wi-Fi. Review when your device was last backed up by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. You can view the last time the device was backed up on the bottom of the page. If you need to back up, tap Back Up Now. Ensure that your device is connected to Wi-Fi and a power source before backing up.

    iTunes

    To back up your device using iTunes:

    1. Ensure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed.
      • Mac: Choose iTunes > Check for Updates
      • Windows: Choose Help > Check for Updates
    2. Connect your device to your computer.
    3. Choose File > Devices > Backup.
    4. When this is finished, view the date and time of your latest backup by clicking:
      • Mac: iTunes > Preferences > Devices
      • Windows: Edit > Preferences > Devices

    Learn more about what your device backs up, how to back up your device, and how to copy your backup to another folder, disk, or location for safekeeping.

  4. Turn off iMessage

    If iMessage is active, turn off iMessage at Settings > Messages > iMessage.

  5. Erase your device

    Erasing all content and settings will delete all the data from your device, including songs, videos, contacts, photos, calendar information, and any other data. All device settings are restored to their factory condition.

    Note: If Find My iPhone is enabled, you need to turn it off in Settings > iCloud before you can erase your device.

    To remove all settings and information from your device, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Learn more about Erase All Content and Settings.

    If you can't erase your device, restore the device using iTunes.

    After your device is erased or restored, you should be able to view the following on your device screen.

  6. Set up as new

    Complete the setup assistant. When prompted to set up your device, select Set Up as New iPhone and tap Next to continue.

    Skip the Apple ID sign-in, in case the original issue was related to any of your content on iCloud.

    Note: After setting up as new, you will need to enter the Visual Voicemail password for iPhone (on carriers that support Visual Voicemail). If you've forgotten the password, contact your carrier to help you reset it.

    After erasing and setting up as a new device, your device is now in a factory configuration. Test to determine if erasing and setting up as a new device resolved the issue. Content on the device may have caused unexpected behavior.

    • If the issue is still present, you may want to contact Apple Support.
    • If the issue is now resolved, sync one type of content at a time back to the device. For example, if you had an issue playing music, add songs from iTunes and confirm they will play. If your contacts weren't loading successfully, add the contacts back. After each sync, test to see if the issue has returned.

    Restore your device using a previous backup in iCloud

    1. Erase all content and settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
    2. When your device turns on, complete the setup assistant. When prompted to set up your device, choose Restore from iCloud Backup and enter your user name and password.
      Restore from iCloud Backup
    3. iCloud will prompt you to choose a backup. Select the backup you wish to use and tap Restore to continue.
      Choose Backup

    Restore your device using a previous backup in iTunes

    1. Ensure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed.
      • Mac: Choose iTunes > Check for Updates
      • Windows: Choose Help > Check for Updates
    2. Connect your device to your computer.
    3. Select the Restore from Backup option by choosing File > Devices > Restore from Backup.
    4. Choose the desired backup from the list provided.

    Note: If Find My iPhone is enabled you need to turn it off in Settings > iCloud before you can restore your device.

    Some Apple services (such as two-step verification for your Apple ID) require Find My iPhone to be turned on. After testing the issue, sign in to your iCloud account and enable Find My iPhone.

Last Modified: Sep 2, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Sep 2, 2014
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