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How To Video: Erase and restore an iPad
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How To Video: Erase and restore an iPad

2:33 /

Learn how to completely erase everything on an Apple iPad and restore it back to factory settings.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:11 >> Hey, I'm Donald Bell for CNET.com, and today I'm going to show how to erase all the data on an iPad and restore it back to factory conditions or recover it from a backup. When it comes to erasing the iPad, there are two options, slow and safe or quick and reckless. The safe way is to connect to iTunes on your computer. You'll want to make sure that any apps, media, notes, or photos you've acquired are transferred back over. You can also take the extra step of creating a manual backup of your iPad settings by right clicking on the iPad icon and selecting backup. Once you're certain anything you want back on the iPad is backed up to your computer, go into the iPad summary pane in iTunes and select restore. You'll need to click through a few warning messages, but eventually your iPad will show the same "connect to iTunes" screen it had when you first brought it home. Since you're still connected to your computer, iTunes will now ask you if you'd like to restore the iPad from a backup or set it up from scratch. I'll come back to this in a moment, but first let me show the burn after reading approach to erasing your iPad on the go. On the iPad, if you open the settings app and select "general," you'll see a reset option at the bottom. Tap it, and you'll see all sorts of options for resetting your network or screen layout, but the option we're looking for is the "erase all content and settings." It's a feature I like to call the "nuclear option." After tapping through a few warning messages, you'll get to that same "connect to iTunes" screen we saw in the first method. Unlike the first way, though, anything you've downloaded or created on the iPad that isn't backed up to your computer will be permanently lost. At this point, if you wanted to sell or gift the iPad to somebody, you're all set. The iPad is exactly the same way it was when it came from the factory. If you want to restore the iPad from a previous backup, connect to iTunes, and you should see a screen asking if you'd like to set up the iPad as a new device or restore it from a backup. If you have multiple backups, you can even use the dropdown menu to select the preferred version. So that's how to erase and restore an Apple iPad. The same techniques also work for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It's a handy thing to know if you ever want to sell your iPad on eBay or pass it along to a friend or family member. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell. ^M00:02:28 [ Music ]