How do I use iTunes restore?

iTunes restore is a useful feature that allows you to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to factory settings. This can be helpful if your device is experiencing software issues, running slowly, or you simply want to wipe it clean and start over. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use iTunes to restore your iOS device.

When to Use iTunes Restore

There are a few common situations when you may want to use iTunes to restore your iOS device:

  • You are experiencing software issues, bugs, or glitches.
  • Your device is running slowly or lagging.
  • You want to wipe your device and start fresh.
  • You need to remove all personal content and reset to factory settings.
  • You are selling or giving away your device and want to completely erase it.

Restoring with iTunes will completely erase your device and install the latest iOS software. This can often resolve many common software issues. It also wipes your device clean if you want to remove all your apps, photos, music, and other personal content.

Back Up Your iOS Device

Before restoring your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, it is essential to back up your data. Restoring will erase everything on your device, so you want to make sure your photos, app data, messages, and other important information are backed up and safe.

There are a couple options for backing up your iOS device:

  • iCloud Backup: You can enable iCloud backups which will automatically backup your device data over WiFi each day. To check that iCloud backup is enabled go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup.
  • iTunes Backup: Connect your device directly to your computer with a Lightning or 30-pin dock cable. Open iTunes, select your device, then click Back Up Now. This will backup to your computer’s hard drive.

Ideally, you should use both iCloud and iTunes backup if possible for redundancy. Also make sure your backups are up to date before restoring.

How to Restore with iTunes

Once you’ve backed up your device, follow these steps to restore using iTunes:

  1. Install the latest version of iTunes on your Mac or Windows computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch directly to your computer using the charging cable.
  3. Open iTunes on your computer. Select your connected iOS device from the menu.
  4. Under Summary, click Restore iPhone/iPad/iPod. This will begin the restore process.
  5. A confirmation prompt will appear, click Restore again to confirm.
  6. The restore process will take several minutes as the latest iOS software gets installed.
  7. When finished, you can set up your device as new or restore from a backup.

That’s it! iTunes will wipe your device and reinstall the latest iOS firmware. Be patient during the process as it may take awhile depending on your computer and connection speed. The device will reboot a couple times during the restore process. When it’s finished you can either set it up as new, or restore your apps and data from a previous iTunes or iCloud backup.

Important Restore Notes

Here are some important things to keep in mind when using iTunes to restore your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:

  • Restoring will erase all content and settings, so backup first!
  • You’ll need to re-download any apps you had installed.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes.
  • Use a Lightning or 30-pin cable to connect your device directly to your computer.
  • Restart both the device and computer before restoring.
  • It can take up to an hour or more for the full restore process.
  • Your device may reboot itself a couple times during the restore.
  • If you encrypted your backup, make sure you have the password.

Overall, iTunes restore is a simple and effective way to wipe your iOS device and start fresh. Just be sure to backup everything first and be patient. Once finished, you can either set up the device as new, or restore your apps and settings from a previous iTunes or iCloud backup.

Troubleshooting iTunes Restore Problems

Although the iTunes restore process typically works smoothly, occasionally you may encounter issues. Here are some common restore problems and their solutions:

iTunes Doesn’t Recognize Your Device

  • Use a different, shorter USB cable.
  • Try connecting to another USB port.
  • Reboot both the iOS device and computer.
  • On Windows, install the latest iTunes and Apple device drivers.

Error Occurred During Restore

  • Check your Internet connection and retry.
  • Use a different Lightning or 30-pin cable.
  • Try restoring on another computer.
  • Update to the latest version of iTunes.
  • On Mac, reboot in Safe Mode then retry.

Stuck on Apple Logo During Restore

  • Hard reset the device by holding Power + Home until powered off.
  • Force restart your computer and reconnect device.
  • Restore using recovery mode. With device off, hold Power + Home until you see recovery screen.

Lost Data After Restore

  • iTunes restore erases all content, you’ll need to re-sync or restore from backup.
  • Be sure you successfully backed up your data before restoring.
  • Double check WiFi and sign in to iCloud after restoring to download backup.

If you continue to have restore issues, you may need to contact Apple support for further troubleshooting assistance. Be sure to keep your device software up to date and always backup before restoring.


Restoring your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using iTunes is an effective way to wipe your device and reinstall the latest iOS firmware. Before restoring, be absolutely sure to back up all your important data, photos, and other content either using iTunes or preferably iCloud. Carefully follow the instructions to restore your device in iTunes on a computer, being patient as it may take awhile. When finished you can choose to set up your device as new or restore an existing backup. Keep in mind the restore process will erase everything from your device, so backup first and be prepared to reinstall any apps you need. With a few simple precautions, you can successfully restore your device using iTunes to refresh your iOS experience.