How to Format an iPad

by Shawn McClain

Formatting your iPad erases all your stored data, including your applications, and returns your settings to their factory defaults. You might want to format your iPad before selling it or giving it away to prevent the recipient from seeing your personal information. You may also want to format the device for troubleshooting purposes or to clear it out so that you can start from scratch. There are two main ways to format the iPad: one using iTunes on a computer and one using the device itself. The format feature within the device has some additional reset options that you may find more palatable than erasing everything.

Format Using iTunes

Connect your iPad to your computer using the cable that came with the device.

Launch the iTunes program on your computer. When the program comes up, click on your iPad's name, which will be listed on the left side of the screen under Devices.

Click on the "Summary" tab and then click the "Restore" button.

Select "Back Up" to create a backup file of everything on the device. Select "Don't Back Up" if you have already created a backup file or if you do not wish to create one.

Click the "Restore" button. Click "OK" when the format process is complete.

Format Using iPad

Press the "Home" button to go to your iPad's Home screen and tap the "Settings" icon.

Tap "General" from the list of settings and then tap "Reset" at the bottom of the menu. Six reset options appear on the screen.

Select "Erase all Content and Settings" to remove all information from the iPad and return the device's settings to the factory defaults.

Tap "Reset all Settings" to return all settings and preferences to their defaults while leaving your personal data and applications on the device.

Select "Reset Network Settings" to remove the list of previously used networks and any virtual private network settings that were not installed by a configuration file. This process also turns the Wi-Fi off and then back on, which may disconnect you from any currently connected networks.

Tap "Reset the Keyboard Dictionary" to erase any changes you have made to the device's dictionary. Tap "Reset the Home Screen Layout" to return the Home screen to its original layout. Finally, tap "Reset Location Warnings" to have apps that require your device's location services warn you the next time you use them.

Enter your security code on the next screen. If you don't have a security code, this screen is skipped.

Tap "Erase" twice to complete the format.

Photo Credits

  • Cameron Spencer/Getty Images News/Getty Images