How To Wipe & Reformat Your iOS Device.
I previously discussed how to erase and reinstall the macOS operating system, which is recommended due to the gradual build-up of junk. But your iPhone is no different. It’s still a computer, albeit tiny, that fits in your pocket. It collects digital junk like any other computer.
This is why you should always get into the habit of erasing and reformatting your iOS device every six months. The iPad is the same, but since my iPad is literally on its last legs running an annoyingly old version of iOS, I’m going to focus on my iPhone 7 today.
Before you go crazy and wipe your entire phone, there are a few things you need to do.
The first is to make an iCloud backup of your entire phone. You can do this by clicking Settings and then your Apple ID name at the top of the screen.
Then scroll down and tap iCloud.
Then scroll down to “iCloud Backup” and click on it.
Now hit the “Back Up Now” button and let her do her thing.
The next thing to do is write down all your applications. iCloud (if you’ve backed up everything) will reinstall all your apps for you, but I always believe in having an insurance policy. Therefore, I take screenshots of all screens, so I have something to turn to just in case. It only takes a few seconds.
The next step is to make sure iCloud has properly backed up all of your photos. This can be done by checking another iOS device or Mac, or using something like Dropbox’s Camera Upload feature to move all of the images to the Dropbox folder. Again, you should never be too careful, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of images on your phone.
Then, if you have music from iTunes on your phone, make sure you have it backed up to iTunes elsewhere (like a Mac or Windows PC).
Finally, if you are using Google Authenticator or Authy (and you SHOULD use it), then you need to disable two-factor authentication for all accounts. Because when the data from the phone is cleared, your two-factor authentication codes will be saved and you will be logged into those online accounts again.
Be sure to keep a list of deactivated accounts so you can reactivate them later.
If you’re using two-factor authentication on your iCloud account (and you don’t have another iOS or Mac to access these codes afterwards), you need to go to iCloud online and disable 2FA there too.
Starting the scanning process on iPhone
Now that everything has been backed up and all the important information has been recorded, it’s time to start cleaning up. It’s actually a pretty quick and painless process, but it always shocks me how many people have had their phones for years and never do it once. When I do this, I always see a jump in performance.
Go to Settings– General. Scroll down to Reset.
You will now see a variety of reset options, depending on how far you want to go. The nuclear option is “Erase all content and settings.”
It will then ask you if you want to make an iCloud backup first. However, since we just did this, you can ignore this and choose “Erase Now”.
You will be prompted for a screen PIN and then asked twice for confirmation if you really want to erase iPhone data.
Then, to be absolutely sure, it will ask you for your Apple ID password for confirmation.
The screen will now turn white with a black Apple logo and it will start erasing and reinstalling itself.
Next, things to remember
As I said, if you have correctly backed up all your data to iCloud, then after logging in again, the application will reinstall your applications. But nevertheless, make sure that all your applications are accounted for.
Also don’t forget to:
- re-enter your Wi-Fi network.
- Set up Touch ID, FaceID, and / or screen passcode.
- Recover everything from iCloud backup.
- Turn on Find My iPhone.
- Turn on iCloud Backup.
- Revert two-factor authentication back to your Google Authenticator or Authy accounts.
- Make sure your photos are returned.
- Transfer music back from iTunes.
- Set up Apple Wallet with your card information.
- Go to settings and return what you liked, taking into account individual characteristics. You have reset your phone to factory settings so there will be no more things like keyboard, custom dictionaries, shortcuts, etc.
Enjoy your (hopefully) fast new iPhone.