Updating or resetting a device

Each year brings a new iOS and hundreds of new features to your iPhone, iPad & iPod touch. The updates are free and most Apple users upgrade within a few days.

Before you update, back up the device  see instructions. Then make sure your device is on wi-fi. It’s best to plug into power – the update won’t install if your battery is low.

  1. Tap Settings, then General.
  2. Tap Software Update.
  3. Tap Download and Install. The update may take 5-30 minutes to download. You can use the device during this time, but it will turn off for about 5 minutes during the actual upgrade.

Not enough space to upgrade? See Managing device storage.

Resetting a device

Ready to sell or give your device away? Back it up and reset it. Resetting erases all your data and goes back to factory defaults like it’s brand new, out-of-the-box. Resetting also helps if you’ve started using a device and now decide to restore from a backup instead. Before you begin, back up the device  see instructions.

  1. Tap the Settings icon, then tap General.
  2. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  3. Tap Erase All Contents and Settings. Confirm that you’re ready to erase everything.
  4. The device restarts and resets in a few minutes.
  5. Restore the device from a backup (help) if desired or simply hold the power button and shut off.

Restoring a device from iTunes

If you’re having many glitches on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch you may need to completely wipe out the device, including iOS that runs it.

  1. Back up the device with iTunes. See instructions.
  2. Open iTunes and click your device at the top of the window. Not there? Attach it to the computer with the USB sync cable.
  3. Click the Summary tab.
  4. Click Restore iPhone (iPad or iPod touch) near the top of the window.
  5. The device erases, then iTunes loads new software.
  6. Restore the device from iTunes. See instructions.

Using Recovery Mode

If your iPhone or iPad cannot be restored in the usual way, you can use Recovery Mode.

  1. Connect your device to your computer. Then open iTunes.
  2. Press and hold both the power button (at the top or right side) and home button (at the bottom of the device).
  3. Do not release the buttons until you see the recovery screen – the iTunes logo and a picture of a cable.
  4. Choose the Update option. iTunes will try to reinstall the iOS software while keeping all your data.
  5. If it takes more than 15 minutes, repeat steps 1–3, then choose Restore. After restoring the software, you can restore your data from a backup (see above).

Back to iPhone & iPad reference guide

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