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Does a force reset erase everything?

A force reset, also known as a factory reset, is a process that erases all data and settings on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and restores the device back to its original factory settings. This essentially ‘resets’ the device to be like new again. A force reset will delete all your photos, contacts, apps, music, messages, documents and any other personal data from your device. It is an extreme measure used to troubleshoot technical issues or wipe all personal information off a device before selling or disposing of it. So in short – yes, a force reset erases everything.

What exactly gets deleted during a force reset?

Here are the key things that get erased during a force reset on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:

  • Contacts – All saved phone numbers and contact information is deleted.
  • Photos – Any photos or videos stored on the device are wiped.
  • Music – Any downloaded or synced music and audio files are erased.
  • Apps – All downloaded and installed apps are removed.
  • Settings – All preferences, settings and customizations are reset.
  • Messages – All text messages, attachments and message history are deleted.
  • Call history – Logs of incoming and outgoing calls are wiped.
  • Safari data – Browsing history, bookmarks, open tabs etc are erased.
  • Calendars – Any saved events, reminders or notes on the calendar are removed.
  • Health data – All health app data including step counts, workouts etc are wiped.
  • Any files or documents stored in apps are erased.

Essentially, any personal content added to the device is erased. The force reset returns the device to the same blank state it was in when you first took it out of the box.

What stays on the device after a force reset?

Some key things remain on the device after a force reset:

  • The operating system itself – iOS or iPadOS remains installed.
  • Any built-in apps that come pre-installed on the device remain.
  • Your Apple ID and associated accounts stay in place.
  • Any content synced from iTunes or the cloud can be restored.

So the core software, accounts and ability to re-sync data remains. But any user-generated content is erased.

Why would you want to force reset your device?

There are a few key reasons you may want to force reset an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:

  • Fix technical issues – A force reset can fix bugs, glitches or problems and give the device a ‘clean slate’.
  • Remove all personal content – It’s the only way to completely wipe the device before selling or giving it away.
  • Remove a passcode lock – If you forgot the passcode, a reset will remove it and let you set a new one.
  • Resolve security issues – If you suspect a virus or malware, a reset eliminates any threats.

It’s a last resort troubleshooting step or a way to fully wipe the device when needed.

Can you recover data after a force reset?

Unfortunately no, a force reset permanently erases all data from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. However there are a couple of options to try and recover some data:

  • If you previously synced with iTunes, you may be able to restore some data from a backup.
  • If you previously backed up your device to iCloud, you can restore from that iCloud backup to retrieve data.
  • You may be able to recover some data using specialized third party data recovery software.

But there is no guarantee you can retrieve anything after a reset. So you should always backup your device before resetting when possible.

How do you force reset an iPhone or iPad?

Here are the steps to force reset an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap General > Reset.
  2. Tap “Erase All Content and Settings”.
  3. Enter your passcode if prompted.
  4. Tap through the warning prompts to confirm the reset.
  5. Wait for the reset to complete. The Apple logo will appear.
  6. The device will boot up again to the setup assistant screen.

For an iPhone 8 or earlier, you can force reset by quickly pressing and releasing the Volume Up button, then pressing and holding the Side button until the Apple logo appears.

For an iPhone X or later, press and release the Volume Up button, then quickly press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.

Can you reset an iPhone without a computer?

Yes, you can force reset an iPhone directly on the device itself without needing a computer. Just follow the steps above to erase all content and settings. No need to connect to iTunes or a computer to reset the device.

Does resetting an iPhone delete everything without a computer?

Yes, resetting an iPhone using the settings menu will still delete all your personal data and erased the device, even without a computer. The reset process doesn’t require a connection to iTunes or a computer to still wipe the device.

Is a force reset the same as a factory reset?

Yes, the terms ‘force reset’ and ‘factory reset’ refer to the same process of fully erasing an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and restoring it to default factory settings. Both terms mean wiping the device back to its blank, original state.


In summary:

  • A force or factory reset will erase all personal data and settings from an iPhone, iPad or iPod.
  • It resets the device back to its original blank state when new.
  • Content like photos, messages, contacts, apps etc are all permanently deleted.
  • It can fix issues, remove locks, or wipe devices being sold or given away.
  • You lose all data but can potentially restore from backup.
  • Use with caution as data cannot be recovered after resetting.

So in conclusion, yes – a force reset will delete everything from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Be sure to backup your device before resetting if possible.