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How to erase an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

For those times when you need to start from scratch, CNET's Donald Bell shows you how to erase an iPad and restore it to factory settings.

Now playing: Watch this: Erase and restore an iPad

For most people, the idea of having their iPad erased sounds like a nightmare. There are times, however, when it can be handy to wipe all your personal data from an iPad and restore it back to its factory settings.

I know my situation is unique, but as a CNET reviewer, I've had to erase my personal data from our shared test iPad on a weekly basis. It's not to say I don't trust my coworkers, but I feel a little funny having a device floating around the office with my personal e-mail account and Twitter login--not to mention an iTunes store tied to my credit card. Needless to say, I've grown comfortable with the idea of erasing and restoring the CNET iPad, so I thought I'd demonstrate the process as a How To.

Maybe you're managing your own fleet of company iPads, or returning one to a store, or selling your old iPad on eBay--whatever the circumstance, you're going to want to know how to wipe the memory and return the iPad to its original state.

So without further ado, here's a video demonstrating two methods for erasing and restoring an iPad. This same technique also works on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and can be used to move a grown man to tears if executed on someone's device without warning. Proceed with caution, and be sure to double-check that all your data is backed up to your computer.