August 11th, 2021
How to hard reset an iPad
It's a frustrating scenario, and one that happens to plenty of people: You enter the wrong passcode on your iPad® too many times and it locks you out. Now you'll have to hard reset it.
At Asurion, our experts come across issues like this every day, from iPads that fail to update to ones that are unresponsive to touch. And when tech breaks, we fix it. If you're having problems with your iPad, a hard reset might be the only way to get your device working properly. So check out our tips on how to back up and reset an iPad in a few different ways.
Why should I reset my iPad?
Resetting an iPad can fix several common issues, including:
- An iPad that has become disabled after too many incorrect passcode attempts.
- An iPad screen that is unresponsive or frozen.
- An iPad that is running slower than usual or cannot load apps and programs.
- A fully charged iPad that won't turn on.
- An iPad that needs to be cleared of all data before it's sold or traded.
Before you get started, however, make sure you've recently backed up your device.
How to back up your iPad
Unless your device is disabled—and you can't unlock the screen—you can still save photos, videos, and other important files on a computer or to iCloud® before it's too late. For PCs or Macs running MacOS Movaje or earlier, you'll use iTunes; for Macs running macOS Catalina or later, you'll use Finder. The process is simple:
To back up your iPad using iTunes:
- Make sure you've installed or upgraded to the latest version of iTunes.
- Open iTunes®, then click on the iPad icon in the upper-left corner.
- Click Summary > Back Up Now.
To back up your iPad using Finder:
- Open Finder®, then click on the iPad icon under Locations in the left column.
- Click General > Back up all of the data on your iPad to this Mac.
- Click Back Up Now.
To back up your iPad using iCloud:
- Make sure your iPad is connected to Wi-Fi.
- Open Settings and tap on your name at the top.
- Tap iCloud Backup > Back Up Now.
Backing up your data is only the first step in fixing your iPad issues. After it's complete, you will need to reset your device in one of three ways: a soft reset, force restart, or a hard reset (also known as factory data reset). We'll walk you through each method below.
How to soft reset an iPad
A soft reset will help troubleshoot your tablet without the risk of losing data or erasing your iPad's settings. You're basically just turning your iPad on and off. A simple restart can fix more than you think. Give it a try:
For iPads with a Home button: Press and hold the Top button until the power off slider appears onscreen.
For iPads without a Home button:
- Press and hold the Top button and one of the volume buttons until the power off slider appears onscreen.
- Swipe right on the slider to reset your iPad and turn it off.
- Wait a few minutes, then turn your iPad back on.
How to force restart an iPad
Completing a soft reset can be helpful when your iPad is running slowly or having trouble loading apps, but it won't fix every issue. If your tablet is frozen or unresponsive, a force restart of your iPad might do the trick. Here's how it works:
For iPads with a Home button: Press and hold the Top and Home buttons at the same time until the Apple® logo appears.
For iPads without a Home button: Press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the Top button until the Apple logo appears.
How to hard reset your iPad
Still no luck? If you tried everything else and your iPad isn't working like it should, you may have to restore your iPad to factory settings. This will erase any data you haven't saved. So be sure to back up your iPad using our steps above before resetting your device. You'll also want to remove your iPad from the FindMy app. It's easy to do:
- Open Settings, then tap on your name at the top.
- Tap Find My iPad, then tap it again to turn it off.
- Enter your Apple ID and password, then tap Turn Off.
When you're ready, here's how to do a hard reset on an iPad:
- Open Settings, then tap General > Reset.
- Tap Erase All Content and Settings. You may be required to enter your passcode or Apple ID and password.
- If you haven't backed up your iPad, you may see the option to Backup then Erase. If you've already done so, tap Erase Now > Erase.
Again, this process will completely wipe your tablet, so it should always be your last resort.
How to reset an iPad without the passcode
If you never set up a passcode—or entered the wrong one too many times—you'll have to hard reset your iPad from a computer. This will erase your data, settings, and the passcode, allowing you to use your iPad in a Recovery Mode.
- Force restart your iPad using the steps above, then connect it to a computer while holding the top or Home button.
- Locate your iPad on the computer: If you're on a Mac® running macOS® Catalina 10.15 or later, open Finder®, and if you're on a PC or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, open iTunes® (make sure it's updated to the latest version). When prompted, click Restore.
- Leave your iPad connected to the computer. The Finder or iTunes app will download software for your iPad. Once the process is complete, your tablet will erase all its data and restart.
Have questions? Visit your nearest uBreakiFix by Asurion store for some in-person help.
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