iOS: Understanding 'Erase All Content and Settings'

Learn how to use "Erase all Content and Settings."

You can remove all settings and information from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch tapping "Erase All Content and Settings" in Settings > General > Reset.

To remove all content and settings from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. If you wish to recover the data again, ensure that you have an iCloud or iTunes backup and that it is up to date.
  2. Tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.

When you select to "Erase All Content and Settings," the process can take from a few minutes to several hours. The time this process takes will vary by iOS device:

  • Devices that support hardware encryption: Erases user settings and information by removing the encryption key that protects the data. This process takes just a few minutes.
  • Devices that overwrite memory: Overwrites user settings and information, writing a series of ones to the data partition. This process can take several hours, depending on the storage capacity of your iPhone or iPod touch. During this time, the device displays the Apple logo and a progress bar.
    • Note: If possible, connect your device to a charger and leave it connected until the process is complete.


Model Hardware Encryption Overwrite
Original iPhone and iPhone 3G  
iPhone 3GS and later  
iPad (all models)  
iPod touch and iPod touch (2nd generation)  
iPod touch (3rd generation) and later  

Note: All devices that support iOS 5 or later use hardware encryption.

Learn more

If you run out of power or reset your device before it is complete, you will see the Connect to iTunes screen after you connect to power again. If this happens and you want to ensure that your content is fully erased:

  1. Restore the device using iTunes.
  2. Connect to power.
  3. Select Erase All Content and Settings again.

Find information about erasing your device remotely.

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