How to reset an iPad: Soft reset, force restart, and factory reset

For all the tech packed into your Apple iPad, it still has a tendency to misbehave and slow down if you install too many apps or run too many processes at the same time. Fortunately, Apple lets users reset their devices to their original factory settings, allowing you to wipe your tablet and enjoy it as if it were a new iPad.

Whether you opt for a soft reset, or a factory reset, both processes are simpler than you might think. Below, we outline how to reset your Apple iPad — after backing up your personal files with iCloud, of course. If you own an iPhone, you can also check our guide on how to reset an iPhone.

How to reset your iPad (soft reset)

If you find that your iPad is running a bit slower than usual — perhaps it’s stuttering or lagging a little, or you’re having trouble loading a specific app or game, but it’s still responsive to your touches — then you should try a soft reset. A soft reset is simply turning your iPad off and on again, and it can fix a multitude of issues. You won’t lose any data or settings and nothing will be deleted from your iPad when you do a soft reset, so it’s the first thing you should try when you have an issue with your Apple tablet. Here’s how to reset an iPad:

Step 1: Press and hold the Power button until the slider appears on the screen. For most iPads, it will be on the top edge when you hold it in portrait orientation, as with the 2021 iPad Mini. In some older models, you’ll find it on the side.

Step 2: Drag the slider from left to right to turn your iPad off.

Step 3: Once the iPad is completely off, press and hold the Power button again until it starts up and you see the Apple logo on the screen.

How to force restart your iPad

If your iPad screen freezes up, or you find that it’s not responding to taps in the usual way, then you may not be able to perform a soft reset. It’s time to try a force restart instead. This is just an alternative method of turning your iPad off and on again, so, just like the soft reset, it won’t delete anything, and no data will be lost. It’s the first thing to try if your iPad is unresponsive.

If you have any iPad with a Home button, such as the iPad Air, then here’s how to force restart your iPad:

Hold down the Power button and the Home button together until the iPad turns off and reboots. You can let go when you see the Apple logo on the screen.

If you have an iPad without a Home button, such as the 2020 iPad Pro, you need to:

Step 1: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.

Step 2: Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.

Step 3: Then press and hold the Power button until the device restarts.

How to factory reset your iPad

Performing a factory reset on your iPad can help you solve any issues that linger even after you’ve tried a soft restart or force restart. You’ll always want to factory reset your iPad before you sell it or give it to someone else to use so they can’t access your data. A factory reset will completely wipe everything on your iPad. It will delete all of your music, photos, messages, and everything else permanently. Be sure to back up all of the files on your iPad before you start the factory reset, or they’ll be gone for good. You can back up using iTunes or iCloud, and we have a backup guide for the iPhone, which will work just fine for your iPad. Once you’ve backed up, you can follow these steps to factory reset your iPad:

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Reset and tap Erase All Content and Settings.

Step 2: Tap Erase iPad and confirm.

Step 3: After the iPad has been restored, you’ll see the original setup screen you saw when you first bought your iPad. You can choose whether to set it up as new or restore your backup.

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