iphone 5s review 007Despite it sounding scary, there will be times when you’ll need to reset your iPhone. This guide should demystify the whole process, but before we proceed, it’s important to know that there are two different types of reset operations that you can perform:

The soft reset is a simple restart or reboot. Which is useful for when some of the apps aren’t responding properly. It’s also necessary if your phone isn’t able to get important functions to work, such as shutting down the phone by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button.

The hard reset is a lot more drastic and totally erases all the information on your phone, restoring it back to its factory state. Typically, it is useful if you’re planning to sell your phone or you just want to give your phone a fresh start. There is an interesting discussion thread about soft and hard reset on the official support forum.

The steps listed below are based on iOS 7.1.1, but they apply to previous versions of iOS as well, with small differences in user-interface.

Soft Reset

soft reset iphone
Performing a soft reset is pretty simple

  1. Just press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons simultaneously for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo. You can let go of both buttons after the Apple logo appears.
  2. Your phone will go through the usual process of starting up.
  3. You’ll be back in your home screen.

Hard Reset

I’ve mentioned it above, but it’s worth mentioning again that a hard reset will totally erase all the content from your iPhone. So if you still have any contacts, photos, or anything that you want to back up, please do it before following the steps below.

I’m listing two methods of performing a hard reset on your phone, the first allows you to do it directly from the iPhone, while the second method requires you to connect your iPhone to a desktop/notebook. Read on and decide which method suits you best.

Method 1: Hard reset directly from the iPhone

ios hard reset

I found a video that would be a good illustration of those steps:

This is my preferred method, not that it offers you a different type of reset, but you won’t need to go through the hassle of connecting your iPhone to your desktop/notebook via cable.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to the very bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Tap Erase iPhone. iTunes (download it here) will then begin restoring the phone to its original factory state.
  6. After the process is complete, your iPhone will restart and you’ll be presented with the “Slide to set up” welcome screen, just like when you turned on your iPhone for the first time.

Method 2: Hard reset using iTunes on your desktop/notebook

hard reset iphone itunes
As mentioned in method 1, I’d suggest that you perform a hard reset directly on the iPhone itself, but if you’re more comfortable working through iTunes on the desktop/notebook, follow the steps below.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your desktop/notebook.
  2. Launch iTunes.
  3. Once your iPhone is detected, click on the iPhone button.
  4. Under the Summary tab, click on the Restore iPhone button.
  5. You’ll be prompted to to create a backup of your iPhone. If you want to backup all your data, go ahead. In this guide we’re erasing everything without backing up.
  6. Click Restore. iTunes will then begin restoring the phone to its original factory state.
  7. After the process is complete, your iPhone will restart and you’ll be presented with the “Slide to set up” welcome screen, just like when you turned on your iPhone for the first time.

Conclusion

This short guide explains the difference between a soft and hard reset, and shows you how you can use each of them when needed. If you have another method that you feel is simpler, drop us a message in the comments section and we will be happy to consider it.

There are other issues that are related to this, like iOS not responding or turning on. If for some reason, Apple changes the way the phone needs to be reset or turned on before we can update this article, you can see the latest method on Apple site.

Filed in Apple. Read more about iOS 7 and iPhone.

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