Resetting your iPhone can be a handy way to wipe the slate clean if your device is acting up or you’re passing it on to someone else. However, doing so also deletes all of your personal data, contacts, photos, and other important information.
The good news is that there are a few methods you can use to try to recover or restore much of your lost data as long as you backed it up beforehand. Here’s what you need to know about getting your information back after resetting an iPhone.
Back Up Your iPhone Before Resetting
The easiest way to get your data back after resetting your iPhone is to create a backup before you wipe the device. iTunes and iCloud both allow you to fully back up your iPhone’s contents and settings.
To create a backup in iTunes, connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. Select your iPhone, then go to the Summary tab and click “Back Up Now.” iTunes will save a copy of your device’s data to your computer.
You can also enable iCloud backups to safely store your data in Apple’s cloud servers. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and toggle on iCloud Backup. Your iPhone will automatically backup daily when connected to WiFi.
Restore from Your iCloud Backup
If you used iCloud to back up your iPhone, you can easily restore that data to your device after resetting it. Here’s how:
- On the reset iPhone, choose a language and country.
- Proceed through the activation process until you reach the Apps & Data screen.
- Tap “Restore from iCloud Backup” and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Select the backup you want to restore from. Your iPhone will restore your data and settings from your last iCloud backup.
After the restore completes, your iPhone should have all your old data back on it – including contacts, photos, notes, messages and more. Apps will begin downloading from the App Store.
Restore from Your iTunes Backup
If you use iTunes to back up your iPhone, here’s how to restore that backup after resetting your device:
- Open iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone.
- Select your iPhone under the playback controls.
- Go to the Summary tab and click “Restore Backup.”
- Select the backup you want to restore from the menu.
iTunes will restore your device from the chosen backup. Your iPhone will restart a few times during the process. When it’s done, you can unplug from your computer. Your iPhone should now have your old data and settings.
Restore Deleted Photos from iCloud
If you used iCloud Photos, you can retrieve deleted photos after resetting your iPhone. iCloud saves all your photos and videos from the past 30 days and stores low-resolution versions of your older images.
After resetting your iPhone, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Photos and turn on iCloud Photos. This will sync your iCloud photo library to your device. You can also log into iCloud.com on a computer to view your photo stream and restore lost images.
Restore Contacts Using iCloud
As long as you had iCloud Contacts enabled on your iPhone before resetting it, you can retrieve your lost contacts by turning the feature back on.
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and turn on Contacts.
- Wait a few minutes for your contacts to sync from iCloud.
- Open the Contacts app to view your restored contacts.
You can also login to iCloud.com on a computer and view your contacts under the Contacts app.
Restore Notes from iCloud
To retrieve deleted notes after resetting your iPhone, you can sync notes from your iCloud account. Just log into your iCloud account on the reset device to download all of your synced notes.
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and turn on Notes.
- Open the Notes app after a few minutes to see your synced iCloud notes.
You can also view your iCloud notes by logging into iCloud.com on a web browser.
Retrieve Deleted Messages from iCloud
If you had iCloud backups enabled, you can restore lost text messages and iMessages after resetting your iPhone. Just turn iCloud backups back on to sync your previous messages.
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and turn on iCloud Backup.
- It may take a little while for your messages to sync from iCloud.
- Once finished, open the Messages app to view your restored messages.
Additionally, you can login to iCloud.com and look under the Messages section to view synced conversations from your iPhone.
Use iPhone Data Recovery Software
If you don’t have a backup, your best option for retrieving lost iPhone data is to use third-party data recovery software. These tools dive deep into your iPhone to extract as much recoverable data as possible.
Software like iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery scans your iPhone for residual data left behind even after a reset. It can extract contacts, messages, photos, notes, and more. Simply connect your reset iPhone to your computer and run the data recovery tool.
PhoneRescue for iOS is another highly rated iPhone recovery program capable of restoring up to 31 types of lost data from backups, iCloud, or directly from your iPhone. It provides a user-friendly guided scan to find residual data.
Recovery tools like these provide the most comprehensive way to get back as much of your lost data as possible after resetting your iPhone, even without a backup.
Restore Deleted Apps from App Store
Resetting your iPhone will delete all of your downloaded apps. The good news is you can quickly download them again from the App Store.
Open the App Store on your reset iPhone and tap your profile icon in the top right. Go to the Purchased section to see a list of all apps you’ve ever downloaded. Tap the cloud icon next to an app to re-download it.
You can also visit apps.apple.com on your computer. Go to the Purchased section of your account to queue up your previously downloaded apps for installation on your iPhone.
Retrieve Data from iPhone without Reset
Before resetting your iPhone, it’s a good idea to exhaust other options to retrieve your data first. Resetting and restoring your device should be a last resort.
If certain types of data like contacts, notes or photos are missing from your iPhone, you may be able to extract them without a full reset. For example, you can use iPhone data recovery software to selectively scan and restore individual data types from your iPhone as needed.
Backups are also useful for restoring individual app data that goes missing. You can restore just your messages from an iCloud backup, for instance. So check your iCloud and iTunes backups before taking the more extreme step of resetting your iPhone.
Avoid Data Loss before Resetting iPhone
Going forward, you can take steps to avoid ever having to restore lost data after resetting your iPhone.
Always maintain regular iCloud and iTunes backups of your device. iCloud backups happen automatically when charging overnight on WiFi, or you can manually back up to iTunes regularly.
Also be cautious about which reset option you choose. An Erase All Content and Settings reset will wipe your device. But a soft reset or force restart preserves data. Learn the difference between reset options before acting.
Enable iCloud sync for contacts, photos, notes, messages and other important data. That way your essential iPhone data is securely stored in the cloud automatically.
With proper preparations, you can reset your iPhone without worry knowing you can easily get your data back. Follow best practices for backups and cloud syncing to avoid losing personal information.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I backup my iPhone before resetting?
You should create an iCloud backup and/or an iTunes backup of your iPhone before resetting it. iCloud backups happen daily when charging and on WiFi. Or you can manually back up to iTunes by connecting your iPhone to your computer and clicking “Back Up Now.”
Will resetting delete everything on my iPhone?
Yes, resetting your iPhone using the Erase All Content and Settings option will permanently delete all data and settings on your device and restore it to factory default settings. Be sure to backup your iPhone before resetting.
How long does it take to restore an iPhone from iCloud?
Restoring an iPhone from an iCloud backup usually takes less than half an hour. Smaller backups may only take 5-10 minutes. The time varies depending on your Internet connection speed and the size of your iCloud backup.
Can I get back deleted photos after resetting iPhone without backup?
Without a backup, your best chance for recovering deleted photos after resetting your iPhone is to use data recovery software like iSkysoft or PhoneRescue. These tools can scan your iPhone and extract residual photo data that remains on your device even after a reset.
Is iPhone data gone forever after reset?
An iPhone reset will permanently delete your data and make it seem like it’s gone forever. However, data recovery tools are often still able to find and restore lost data from your device even after a reset, as long as it hasn’t been overwritten by new data.
Resetting your iPhone erases all of your personal data, which can be stressful. However, there are various ways to get back much of your lost data as long as you properly backed up your device beforehand. You can use iTunes or iCloud backups to restore your information after resetting your iPhone. Failing that, data recovery software provides an alternative means to salvage deleted photos, contacts, messages and more from your device.
Going forward, be diligent about maintaining regular, redundant backups and enabling iCloud sync for your most important iPhone data. Following best practices for backing up your device means you’ll always have a copy of your precious personal data, even if you have to reset your iPhone.