Apple appears to be testing the ability to restore an iPhone, iPad or other device to its box-fresh state with a feature that will be available over the air.
The game may have been given away in revealing details that point to a feature that will make that a reality in the third beta version of iOS 13.4.
Inside that beta are mentions of a feature called ‘OS Recovery’ and it looks to be a way to restore iOS and Apple devices over the air. For those devices like the HomePod (or the magnetically-charged Apple Watch) that don't have a physical port, this could be a great way to bring them back to life.
However, whether this iOS feature comes to the likes of WatchOS, which the platform that Apple's wearable runs on, remains to be seen.
Removing a headache
To restore and reinstall operating systems on Apple devices currently, you need to plug them into a computer.
A feature like this available over the internet, or through another device in the household running iOS 13, would certainly take some of the pain away of going through the process.
It would also bring it much closer to the way Apple’s Migration Assistant tool works on Macs.
As this has cropped up in a beta, Apple could well be testing it and may choose not to include it. Or it could be getting things up to standard to release it in a future iOS update. Maybe for iOS 14, which is likely to land later this year.
Update: this story was updated to include a greater reference to the HomePod and Apple Watch.
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