How to factory reset an iPad

How to factory reset an iPad
(Image credit: Future)

There are many reasons why you'd want to reset an iPad: maybe you’re selling it, or it’s got a bug that only resetting can fix, or perhaps you’ve just cluttered up the operating system and want to clean it the easy way.

However it’s not always easy – the option to reset your iPad is hidden in the settings menu, and even when you find it there are five different types of resetting you can do.

How to wipe certain information off your iPad

To get rid of certain information off your iPad, like your keyboard dictionary or location history, you can reset certain pockets of information.

First, open the Settings app – it’s on the home page by default, and the icon is gray with cogs. Then, in the options list on the left, select ‘General’, which is in the third cluster of options on the left.

Now, scroll right to the bottom of this list. At the bottom, above ‘Shut Down’, is ‘Reset’ – select this and you’ll be presented with a large list of options.

How to reset an iPad

The iPad reset menu (Image credit: Apple)

You can select ‘Reset Locations and Privacy’ to remove all location data, ‘Reset Home Screen Layout’ to reset the apps you have on your home page (and wipe out all your carefully curated folders), ‘Reset Keyboard Dictionary’ to remove all your saved words and lexical preferences, and ‘Reset Network Settings’ to forget all your saved Wi-Fi passwords.

How to hard reset your iPad

If you want to take the nuclear option, and turn your iPad back to the device it was when you first got it, then there’s an option for that.

Remember to back up all your information first though, either by exporting it through the cloud or by physically uploading it to a computer, if there’s anything you don’t want to lose. You can follow similar steps to how to back up your iPhone to be able to do this.

Once you're done, it's time to reset. Follow the prior instructions until you get to the ‘Reset’ menu.

Now, select ‘Erase All Content and Settings’. You’ll need to put in your password just to assure your device it’s definitely you wiping your data, and then your iPad will start to clean its banks.

This process won’t take long, and soon you’ll have yourself a good-as-new iPad.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.