Sometimes you'll need to restore your iDevice.  There's no two ways about it.  There are many reasons why and many situations that have no other solution.  For example, in my previous post I discussed a situation where you could find your iDevice disabled but with such a long wait time until your next try at entering the passcode that you would possibly be dead before it would give you that chance!

So without going into all the possible reasons why you might need to restore your device, here are the ways to actually do it.  Please be aware that restoring your iDevice will remove ALL your data including contacts, calendars, photos etc. So make sure you have a backup before doing so, if you can.

itunes_restoreThe first option (and the most straight forward) is to restore directly from iTunes.  Simply open iTunes and connect your iDevice so that it appears in iTunes. Click the iDevice to select it.  You will see options to Update if there is a new version of software available, or to Restore to completely restore it to factory settings.  Restoring your device through iTunes will remove all your data and will also update the device to the latest version of the iOS software.  Just click the Restore button and follow the instructions.  If there is a new version of the iOS software available, iTunes will download it before restoring.  Once the restore completes, you will be left with, for all intents and purposes, a new iDevice.  This is perfect if you are selling your iDevice and want it to be like brand new for the new user.

So what happens if you can't get access to your device in iTunes?  For example, if you have the aforementioned problem where the iPhone is disabled, or perhaps it is locked with a passcode that you don't remember?  There is a solution for that and it's pretty straight forward too.

connect_to_itunesFirst, switch off your iDevice.  If you can't switch it off for some reason, hold the Power button and the Home button at the same time for 10 seconds.  This will force the device to reset itself.  The important thing at this stage is that the device must not be connected to the computer using the USB cable.  You must start with the device switched off and not connected to anything.

Once you have the device switched off, simply hold the Home Button (the round button at the bottom of the screen) and at the same time connect the USB-Dock cable to connect the device to the computer.  Don't let go of the home button! You need to continue holding the home button until the Connect To iTunes logo appears on the screen.   At this stage, when you open iTunes, you will see a message saying that iTunes has detected a device in Recovery Mode.  The only option you will have is the Restore option, which is exactly what you want.

Once again, clicking the Restore button will remove all your data and will update the device to the latest version of the iOS software.  If you had a backup of the device, you will be able to use that to Restore From Backup in iTunes once the restore process completes.  Restore from Backup in iTunes is a different process, which restores your own data from an iTunes backup and is not to be confused with the Restore option which restores the actual software of the iDevice.

If your iDevice is disabled for 22 million minutes, you need to use this method instead.