Your iPhone comes with a number of reset options that allow you control over exactly what you want to reset. However, do you know what exactly happens when you reset your iPhone? Few do. Most people think they will simply lose data and apps that they can restore. But a lot more than that happens in the background. We reset our iPhone to find out what happens after that.
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Before You Reset Your iPhone
Take a backup. There are two ways to back up your iPhone. You can do it using your Windows via iTunes or macOS using Finder. This will create a local, offline backup.
We recommend creating a cloud backup using Apple’s iCloud. Apple offers 5GB of free storage space, but backups usually take less than 1 GB. For media files, you can consider Google Photos and for files, OneDrive or Google Drive are solid options.
To take a backup:
1. Open Settings and go to Your Name > iCloud.
2. Select iCloud Backup and enable Back Up This iPhone. You can also enable backup over mobile data if you want. Tap on Back Up Now if you want to take a backup right now. We recommend doing it while connected to a Wi-Fi network though.
You can then customize what you want to be backed up to iCloud before you reset your iPhone and find out what happens when you do so.
Note 1: If you have a 2FA app like Google Authenticator or Authy, make sure to transfer all the 2FA codes to another smartphone first. You can also take an offline backup or save recovery codes.
Note 2: If Find My app option is enabled, it will ask for a password before you can reset the iPhone.
How to Reset iPhone
Here is how to reset your iPhone:
1. Open Settings and go to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
2. Tap on Reset at the bottom of the screen to reveal a menu with a number of reset options.
3. You will need to enter the passcode to confirm the reset. If you are using the Erase All Content and Settings option, you will also need your Apple ID details.
This can be overwhelming. You will be greeted with a screen with 5 reset options. Depending on which option you select, some or all the data or settings will be reset on your iPhone.
Here’s what happens when you choose one of the reset options on your iPhone.
What Happens When You Reset Your iPhone
Since there are a couple of options available in the reset menu, we will take a look at each one of them individually.
What Happens When You Reset All Settings on iPhone
Choosing Reset All Settings option will delete network settings, location and privacy settings, keyboard dictionary, and Apple Pay cards data. What does it mean?
It means you will have to re-enter Wi-Fi passwords, reconnect to Bluetooth devices, and re-enter Apple Pay card data. Since location and privacy settings have been reset, you will have to give permission to apps like Weather, notes, Strava, etc. that depend on your location to function correctly.
Other settings like sound, display, screen time, notifications, etc. will be reset too. Touch id, face id, and passcode will be removed. Accessibility settings will be lost too.
Your data and media files will not be deleted. It only affects settings and not files. Here is a list of settings and what happens to them after reset:
Airplane mode, data roaming, personal hotspot, VPN, and location services for all apps will be turned off.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Background app refresh, and Ask to join network options will be turned on.
What Happens When You Reset Network Settings on iPhone
Choosing Reset Network Settings options will remove all Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices from your iPhone. So you will have to reconnect to all of them and yes, you will need to re-enter the password and give necessary permissions all over again.
The device name will change back to iPhone under Settings > General > About > Name. This is the same name that appears when connecting via Bluetooth or transferring files via AirDrop.
When browsing the web via Safari, you may have manually added ‘trusted certificates’ for different websites. They will be changed to ‘untrusted certificates’ again. You should see a pop-up when you revisit that site.
Roaming on mobile data will be turned off which is what the default setting is when you buy a new iPhone. You can re-enable mobile data roaming from Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and enable Data Roaming here.
VPN settings will be removed too unless they were saved using a mobile device management or configuration profile. This will depend on the VPN app you have installed and used.
What Happens When You Reset Keyboard Dictionary on iPhone
This is easy. Your iPhone keyboard or any 3rd party keyboard app that you are using will learn common words and phrases that you use daily. It will then save some words to its dictionary when you reject suggested words. These added words by you will be deleted when you reset dictionary settings.
However, it you are using a third-party app like Gboard or SwiftKey, you don’t have to worry since they sync their data to the cloud. Also, there are other and better ways to remove learned words from keyboard dictionary. The linked article is for Android but since Gboard and SwiftKey work the same on iPhone too, you can follow the same steps.
What Happens When You Reset Home Screen Layout on iPhone
Resetting the home screen layout will return all the default apps that came pre-installed to their original position. For example, you may have placed some of them in a folder to save space. None of your apps will be uninstalled though.
What Happens When You Reset Location & Privacy on iPhone
Your iPhone’s location and privacy settings will be reset to their default settings. Different apps like Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, etc. ask for location, device storage, and other permissions over time.
They need access to other services like GPS, Wi-Fi, and apps like Camera, Phonebook, etc. to function correctly. They will all be reset and you will be asked to give these permissions when you re-open these apps after reset for the first time.
What Happens When You Erase All Content and Settings
This will basically factory reset your iPhone to the way it was when you bought it first. That means all manually installed apps will be uninstalled, all files and data stored locally will be deleted, all settings will be reset to default, networks and devices will be removed and forgotten, and so on. Your files in the cloud like Drive, iCloud will remain intact.
Use this option when you want to either sell or exchange your iPhone or when you are troubleshooting some big error. For example, iPhone is not functioning or is unusable.
Apple offers a number of different reset options and depending on what you are trying to fix or achieve, you can go with one. But make sure you understand what exactly happens to your settings and data when you reset your iPhone. Understanding the consequences of your actions will help you take better decisions.
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