How To Erase All Data And Factory Reset The iPad

It looks like the iPad 3 will be announced in just a few weeks and probably available soon after that. So now’s the time to think about reselling your iPad or iPad 2 so you can put that money toward the new model.

Whenever you sell your electronics to a reseller (or even return an item to the store after having used it), you should always be sure to erase the data from it completely. You can’t count on the reseller or the store employees to do it for you.

Erasing data from the iPad is easy, as is backing up that data to transfer to your new tablet.

First, back up the data, even if you’re not going to get a new iPad.

How To Back Up Your iPad

Step 1: Open iTunes, then connect the iPad to your computer with the USB cord. The device will appear in the sidebar on the left.

iTunes iPad in the sidebar

Step 2: Click on the iPad’s name to bring up the information window. Scroll down until you see the Backup section.

iTunes iPad Backup

You can back up your iPad’s data to your computer or to iCloud. I do both just in case something goes wrong with one or the other.

If you back up to your computer you can protect that data with a password. Just don’t forget it!

Backup password

Step 3: Once you choose where to backup, right-click on the iPad’s name in the sidebar and choose Back Up from the menu.

iTunes - iPad Right Click Menu

Step 4: iTunes will begin transferring data including images, videos, apps, purchases, etc.

iTunes Backing Up

When the backup is complete, unplug the tablet. You’re now ready to erase it.

How To Erase Data And Factory Reset The iPad

Step 1: Go to the Settings app. Scroll down to the bottom of the General settings area to find Reset.

iPad General Settings, Reset At The Bottom

Step 2: There are several options in this menu. The one you want is “Erase All Content And Settings.”

iPad Erase and Reset Screen

Step 3: The iPad will ask you to confirm that you want to do this. Tap Erase.

Erase iPad Confirmation

The iPad will delete all of the data on it, restart, and be just as it was out of the box. Be sure to turn it all the way off before shipping or returning it.

When you get your new iPad you can restore the data and apps from your old one by right-clicking and choosing “Restore From Backup.”

iTunes - iPad Right Click Menu


  1. Anonymous

    02/10/2012 at 4:42 pm

  2. Peter

    02/11/2012 at 6:29 pm


    There is NO guarantee that the data has been erased. We would need to know if the reset process actually writes zeros or some other value across ALL memory used for storage.

    A reset could just be as simple as erasing the file allocation table, while leaving all the data in the  memory. (I suspect that this is what happens).

    Someone with knowledge of memory access or suitable software for data recovery may be able to find data.

    If I wanted to sell my iPad (which may happen soon :) ) I would perform the reset as you describe, BUT then I would store unimportant “stuff” like a movie and save multiple copies until the memory was filled. Then repeat the reset process.

    Of course doing something like this on an iPad is “painful” as it has to be done via iTunes. The iPad does not work as well or as easily as Android tablets!

    Kind regards


  3. Anonymous

    02/11/2012 at 6:47 pm

  4. Anonymous

    02/13/2012 at 4:05 am


  5. Anonymous

    02/16/2012 at 8:05 am


    It is always best to backup your device prior to resetting so you have a safe copy in case anything goes wrong. You also have to make sure that the backup is complete before you erase everything. You need to check first if your backup is OK. You can do this using the iPhone Backup Extractor tool: Then you need to make a safe copy of the backup before erasing. Good luck!


  6. frank

    08/20/2012 at 4:11 am

    reset mi ipad 2 3g erase all contet and settings sin estar conectado a itunes aparece un circulo dando vueltas pero lleva ya 7 horas y no responde que tengo que hacer
    dura tanto


  7. FB

    09/25/2012 at 4:49 am describes that the hardware encryption keys are reset when (most) IOS devices are erased.


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