[2024 Guide] What Is A Hard Reset on iPhone 15/14/13/12

Thinking of hard resetting your iPhone? Read this guide to learn what is a hard reset on iPhone and what happens when you do a hard reset.


By Lena / Updated on December 28, 2023

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What happens if I do a hard reset on my iPhone?

My iPhone has become very slow and I heard that resetting my iPhone can solve this problem. But what is a hard reset on iPhone? Will hard reset delete everything on my iPhone? Kindly respond. Thanks!

- Question from Apple Community

iPhone has been very popular since its launch because of its simple and stable operating system. However, just like other electronic devices, iPhone can also go wrong due to hardware and software problems. When you look for a solution, you will find that you will be advised to hard reset iPhone.

Hard reset is a common way to solve iPhone problems. But if you have never performed this operation before, you may be confused. Here in this guide, I will explain what is a hard reset on iPhone and what happens when you do a hard reset. If you find that you do need to do a hard reset, you can also learn the detailed steps in the latter part of the article.

Part 1. What is a hard reset on iPhone?

A hard reset, also known as factory reset, is an operation that restores your iPhone to its original system state. It is often done to fix issues or before the sale. To completely figure out what is a hard reset on iPhone, we can compare the methods associated with it.

Usually, there are 3 ways that can help us “reset” an iPhone, that’s soft reset, force restart, and hard reset.

● Soft Reset means turning the device off and then it on again. This is usually the first thing we can try when we encounter a problem.
● Force Restart means restarting the iPhone by pressing specific buttons to refresh the memory in which the apps run. This is usually done when a soft reset does not work.
● Hard Reset means restoring iPhone to factory settings. It will effectively destroy software errors and all data stored on the device. This is usually done when both soft and hard reset do not work.

Part 2. What happens when you do a hard reset on iPhone?

The iPhone stores almost all of your data, it is necessary to be careful before doing any operation. You definitely want to know what happens when you do a hard reset on iPhone. Does a hard reset erase everything on iPhone? Well, the answer is Yes.

As mentioned before, a hard reset will restore iPhone to the factory settings. It will erase all content and settings on your iPhone. That’s to say, after the hard reset, it will look like a brand new phone, just like when you first turn it on.

Generally, when you find iPhone not working well, you can choose to perform a soft reset to try to fix the problem. If it does not work, then you can force restart your iPhone. If the problem persists, then you have no choice but to perform a hard reset.

Here is a comparison of soft reset, force restart, hard reset. In short, soft reset and force restart will not erase any data on iPhone but a hard reset will.


Soft Reset iPhone

 Force Restart iPhone

Hard Reset iPhone


Turn off iPhone and turn it on

Press the special button to refresh iPhone memory

Put iPhone back to factory settings


Fix minor problems on iPhone

A more powerful option to fix problems than the soft reset

Fix complex software problems or before selling

How to do it

Drag the slide to power off slider

Press special buttons

via Settings app, iTunes, FoneTool

What will happen

No data loss

No data loss

Lose all content and settings

Part 3. How to do a hard reset on iPhone

There are 3 ways that can help you hard reset an iPhone. But before trying a hard reset, you can force start your iPhone. If the force start can solve the problem, then there is no need to risk data loss by doing a hard reset. The steps to perform a force restart depends on the iPhone model you are using.

  • iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the volume+ button > Press and quickly release the volume- button > Press the side button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and volume- button at the same time until you see the Apple logo.
  • iPhone 6s or earlier: Press and hold the power button and the Home button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.

Force Restart iPhone

Preparation: backup your iPhone before doing a hard reset

Since all data on iPhone will go away after the hard reset, it’s necessary to backup iPhone beforehand. You surely don't want to say goodbye to all your data, right? Both iTunes and iCloud provide the backup solution.

Backup iPhone to iCloud

  • To backup iPhone via iTunes: connect iPhone to computer and run iTunes > click the Device tab > go to Summary > select This Computer > click Back Up Now.

Backup iPhone with iTunes

In addition, you can also use a free third-party backup tool, like FoneTool to backup iPhone the way to want. While iTunes and iCloud only support full backup, FoneTool allows you to preview and select the files you want to backup.

If you don't have enough iCloud space or just want to backup specific data, FoneTool is a better choice. You can click the download button below to get the tool.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch FoneTool and connect iPhone to computer via USB.

Step 2. On the home interface, click Custom Backup.

Custom Backup

Step 3. Click the icon to select the files you want to backup.

Select Files

Step 4. Select a path and click Start Backup.

Start Backup

After the hard reset, you can go to the Backup Management page to find the backup and restore needed files to iPhone. It will not erase any existing data on iPhone so you can perform the restoration anytime you want.


Way 1. How to hard reset iPhone via Settings

If you have backed up iPhone via iCloud, you can perform the hard reset on iPhone directly.

  • Go to Settings app > tap General > choose Transfer or Reset iPhone option. (In earlier iOS, you should choose Reset.)
  • Tap Erase All Content and Settings > Enter your Apple ID or passcode to confirm the operation.

Reset iPhone via iCloud

When it’s done, your iPhone will restart.You can set up iPhone as usual and choose to Restore from iCloud Backup to restore data.

Way 2. How to hard reset iPhone via iTunes

If you have backed up your iPhone with iTunes before, then you can simply choose to hard reset iPhone with iTunes.

  • Update iTunes to the latest version.
  • Plug in your iPhone.
  • In iTunes, click the Device tab > go to Summary > select Restore iPhone... option to hard reset iPhone.

Restore iPhone via iTunes

To restore data from iTunes backup, you should choose Restore Backup option.

Way 3. How to hard reset iPhone via FoneTool

If you want to wipe iPhone before selling it, it’s recommended to let the professional data erase tool deeply clear everything from iPhone. The iPhone Erase tool of FoneTool can be a good assistant. It will erase the data multiple times to ensure that the privacy files in iPhone are not at risk of being restored.

  • Download FoneTool and launch it on computer.
  • Plug in your iPhone.
  • Choose Erase iPhone option.

Erase iPhone

  • Tick the options as per your needs.

Erase Options

  • Click Erase iPhone and click Yes to confirm.

Begin Erase

Final words

That’s all about what is a hard reset on iPhone. It is usually done when iPhone goes wrong. However, you’d better make a backup before the hard reset, otherwise, you will say goodbye to all your data on iPhone.

If you want to sell your iPhone, a hard reset may not be enough, you can let the data erase tool help you deeply wipe your iPhone so that no data recovery tool can find your data.

PS: If you’re still hesitant about doing a hard reset, you can contact Apple Support online or go to Apple Store and ask an expert for help. Explain to them what is happening and they should be able to tell you if you should hard reset your phone or take other operations.