How to Restore iPhone and iPad using iTunes/Finder or iCloud Backup

They rightly say, “Drastic times call for drastic measures.” At times, you will be left with no option but to embrace the radical solution to fix your cluttered or ill-functioning iPhone. And, the one remedy that you will be mostly advised to try out is – restore the iOS device, wiping out all the existing data and settings.

Based on your convenience, you can choose to restore your iPhone or iPad using Finder/iTunes or iCloud backup. For those unfamiliar, with the introduction of macOS Catalina, Apple has replaced iTunes with three separate apps: Apple TV, Apple Music, and Podcasts. And Finder has now assumed the role of the iPhone and iPad manager on Mac. But before going for this (kind of ) last resort, do not forget to back up your entire data so that even if something unexpected happens, your data will continue to be secure. With that said, let’s get started with the guide!

How to Restore iPhone and iPad

How to Restore iPhone and iPad Without iTunes/Finder

You can erase entire content and setting of your iOS device without taking the help of iTunes. Once everything has been wiped out, you can restore the device from iCloud Backup during setup.

As mentioned above make sure your device is fully backed up. If you haven’t yet done it, go to Settings → Apple ID banner → iCloud → iCloud Backup → Back Up Now and get it done without any fail.

Step #1. Launch Settings app on your device → Now, tap on General.

Tap on Settings then General on iDevice

Step #2. Next, scroll down and tap on Reset → Next up, tap Erase All Content and Settings.

Tap on Reset to Erase All Content and Settings on iPhone

Step #3. Enter your iPhone Passcode → if you have enabled Restrictions, you have to enter its passcode.

Enter iPhone Passcode

Step #4. Next up, tap on Erase iPhone and confirm that you wish to delete the entire media and data also reset your device to factory default. When asked, enter your Apple ID password and tap on Erase.

Enter your Apple ID to Erase iPhone Data

Up next, you have to wait for a few minutes. Once your device has been successfully erased, you should see Hello screen. Follow the instructions to set up your device.

Along the way, you will get multiple options like set up your device as new, restore it from iCloud backup or from iTunes. Choose the preferred option depending on your need.

I’m going to Restore iPhone from iCloud Backup. Next, go ahead with the on-screen instructions to set up the device.

Restore iPhone from iCloud Backup

Restore iPhone and iPad Using Finder in macOS Catalina or Later

As I said, Finder has become the default iPhone or iPad manager with the introduction of macOS Catalina. So, if your Mac is running the latest iteration of macOS, go with the steps below.

Step #1. Connect your iOS or iPadOS device to your Mac.

Step #2. Now, launch Finder and select your device under the Locations section.

Sticky Note: If Finder is not showing your device, follow this quick trick to fix it.

Step #3. Next, click on Restore iPhone and then go through the usual process.

Restore iPhone and iPad Using Finder in macOS Catalina

Side Note: If Find My is not turned off, you will get a popup to disable it. Open Settings app on your iPhone or iPad → Profile → Find My → Find My iPhone and then turn it off.

Tap on Find My iPhone then toggle OFF to disable Find My iPhone in iOS 13

Restore iPhone and iPad Using iTunes on macOS Mojave or Earlier or Windows

If your Mac is running macOS Mojave or earlier or Windows, you can continue to use iTunes to restore your device. The process hasn’t changed at all. But before going for the kill, keep in mind a few things.

Restoring iOS device via iTunes isn’t a big deal. You can use it to back up and reinstate your device whenever you want.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Ensure that you have the latest version of iTunes on your Mac or PC.
  • Always, make sure you have the latest backup of your device.
  • Be sure Find My iPhone is disabled. Go to Settings → [your name] → iCloud → Find My iPhone and turn it off.
  • In case your device is unresponsive, you need to go to to remove it from Find My iPhone. To do so, head over here.

Step #1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC and connect your iOS device to computer using the USB cable.

You may get a message on your iOS device asking you to Trust This Computer, tap on Trust to confirm.

Step #2. Now, select your device when it appears on the top left menu.

Step #3. In the Summary panel, you need to click Restore iPhone/iPad.

Restore iPhone 8-8 Plus using iTunes

Note: If you want to restore your device from backup, click on Restore Backup and select the most recent backup. 

Step #4. Next up, you need to click on Restore again to confirm.  Now, iTunes will clean up your entire device and install the latest version of iOS.

Once your device has restored to factory settings, it will restart.  Up next, follow the instructions to set it up as new.

iTunes is undoubtedly a top-notch media library. However, it’s not so impressive as iOS device management tool. If you don’t find it appreciable, you can use third-party tools to manage your iPhone or iPad a bit more efficiently. We have reviewed some very handy iTunes alternatives like DearMob and WinX MediaTrans that you can try out to fill up the void.

Over to You

So, that’s how you can clean up the mess and give your iOS device a refreshed stance. Have any question? Shoot it in the comments.

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