This guide shows you how to do a clean install of iOS 13 on your iPhone, and explains why this is a good idea for some users.
If you’ve been using your iPhone for several years, and plan to keep going for another year or two, a clean install can help speed it up — even more than the speed and performance enhancements that are built-in to iOS 13.
With years, your iPhone may start to feel sluggish, but a clean install can give you a fresh start and breathe new life into an old phone. If you plan to buy the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro soon, this isn’t worth your time, but if you are keeping your old iPhone for another year or two, this may be exactly what you’re looking for.
This takes longer than upgrading to iOS 13, but it can help you avoid some problems that come with an update.
How to Do a Clean iOS 13 Install
The best way to do a clean install of iOS 13 is with your Mac or PC, which will erase it, install iOS 13 and then you can set it up as a new device. You can choose to restore a backup to your iPhone after you do a clean install, but the biggest benefit is starting from scratch.
Before you start on a clean iOS 13 install, you need to make sure you have a good backup just in case you need to use it. You’ll also want to make sure that your photos are backed up to iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos or Amazon Photo Storage. Your contacts are likely already backed up to whatever email account you use or to iCloud, but double-check that. We highly recommend making sure you have a good backup, even if you plan to do a completely clean install.
- Turn Off Find My iPhone. Go to Settings -> Your Name -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone -> Off.
- Open iTunes
- Plug your iPhone or iPad in.
- Trust the computer when prompted.
- Click on your iPhone in iTunes
- Choose Restore iPhone…
- Click Restore when it Pops up.
This process downloads iOS 13 to the computer, erases the device and then installs iOS 13 from scratch. The best thing to do when your phone reboots is to set up as a new device. This will require you to manually sign in to your accounts and download apps. If you prefer, this is when you can choose to restore a backup, but keep in mind this won’t be the same as doing a full-on clean install.
It is possible to do this same thing on your phone without a computer. To do this, you will need to erase your iPhone and then once you set it up, you can install iOS 13. This takes a little while longer, but it works nicely.
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on General.
- Tap on Reset.
- Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
- When asked, enter your passcode or Apple ID.
Remember, this erases your iPhone completely, and then you need to restore or set up as a new device. Make sure your photos are backed up.
Install iOS 13.5.1 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing the iOS 13.5.1 update.
iOS 13.5.1 brings one security to iOS 13-powered iPhone models which you can read about on Apple's website. The patch is for an exploit used by jailbreak developers.
If you skipped iOS 13.5, iOS 13.5.1 brings iOS 13.5's 41 new security patches with it. Apple's posted the details on its website and you can dig into the particulars if you're interested.
Among them, patches for the company's Mail app, Wi-Fi, AirDrop, Bluetooth, FaceTime, Messages, and Notifications.
If you skipped the iOS 13.4 update, you'll get iOS 13.4's 28 security patches with your upgrade. You can read about all of them on Apple's website right here.
iOS 13.4 also brought several improvements to Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention. Apple's John Wilander outlined them in a blog post and it's worth checking out.
Reports have outlined a vulnerability in Wi-Fi chips made by Broadcom and Cypress Semiconductor that left billions of devices susceptible to attack.
Dubbed Kr00k, the vulnerability allows nearby attackers to decrypt sensitive information that's relayed over-the-air.
Fortunately, it looks like the issue was patched up with the release of iOS 13.2, an update that arrived all the way back in October.
So if you're running a really old version of iOS 13, you'll really want to move your device up to the newest version of iOS 13.
If you skipped iOS 13.3.1, you get its patches with iOS 13.5.1.
The iOS 13.3.1 update included 21 new security patches that will help protect your device from harm. The company's outlined those patches in detail if you want to dig in.
If you skipped iOS 13.3, you get its patches with iOS 13.5.1. iOS 13.3 brought 12 new security patches to the iPhone and you can read about each one over on Apple's security page.
The iOS 13.3 update also added support for NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compliant security keys in the Safari browser.
If you missed iOS 13.2, it had 16 new security patches on board. You can read about all of them on Apple's website right here.
iOS 13.1.1 brought a security patch for a third-party keyboard issue to your iPhone. If you're interested in the particulars, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
If you passed on installing iOS 13.1, you get an additional patch with your iOS 13.5.1 update. You can learn more right here.
If you're moving up from iOS 12, you'll get iOS 13.0's nine security patches with your upgrade to iOS 13.5.1. Read about those here.
If you skipped iOS 12.4.1 or any older versions of iOS 12, you'll get their security patches with your iOS 13.5.1 update.
iOS 12.4.1 only had one patch on board, but Apple's iOS 12.4 update brought 19 security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the specifics, you can read about them on right here.
In addition to those patches, iOS 13 itself comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improved anti-tracking features in Safari and the ability to get rid of location metadata in your photos.
You also now have the ability to block apps from using Bluetooth and the ability to allow apps to access your location just once.
iOS 13 will also send you reminders about applications that track your data.
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