‘Reset’ vs. ‘Erase content and settings’ from the iPhone: Which one to choose in 2023?

Whether you’re preparing to sell or give away your iPhone, or troubleshooting a problem, iOS offers easy ways to start from scratch.

In the first case, you’ll want to make sure that all your data, settings, and files are completely erased before transferring ownership to someone else. However, if you are troubleshooting, you may not need to do a hard reset.

In iPhone settings (Settings > General > Transfer or reset iPhone), you’ll find two key options: Restore either Erase content and settings.

They sound very similar, but what exactly does each option do to your phone? Which one should you choose? We explain the differences.

reset an iPhone

Resetting your iPhone essentially restores your device to a factory-like state, but you keep your apps, files, and data. It’s a good way to start if you’re troubleshooting a problem.

You can find this option by going to Settings > General > Transfer or reset iPhone > Reset. From here, you will see that there are several sub-options. You may:

  • Hola
  • Reset network settings
  • Reset keyboard dictionary
  • reset home screen
  • Reset location and privacy.

The first function basically lumps all the others together, but you can try resetting these individual settings if you’ve been able to figure out what the problem is.

Erase all content and settings on iPhone

If you are preparing to sell or trade in your iPhone, you may want to choose the option to erase all content and settings. This option is found in the same menu Settings > General > Transfer or reset iPhone > Erase all content and settings.

If you choose this option, it will restore your iPhone to its factory state completely. This includes clearing all apps and data, removing your Apple ID sign-in from your device, removing the Find My app activation lock, and any cards you’ve added to Wallet. Later, you can give it to another person without fear of taking your sensitive information.

If you decide to do a full wipe, you should back up your data; whether you do it manually on your own storage device, or if you use a cloud service.

Even if your plan doesn’t offer enough iCloud storage to hold all your files, Apple will offer you a temporary 21-day extension that will give you enough space to hold everything until you get your new phone.

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