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

Is your iPad misbehaving or frozen? Here's how to give it a reset

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The Apple iPad is the finest tablet range around, but no device is perfect. Sometimes your iPad might freeze up on you or begin to act a little strangely. Thankfully, the majority of iPad problems can be solved with a simple reset. In this guide on how to reset an iPad, we’re going to explain how to perform a soft reset, how to perform a force restart, and how to perform a factory reset on your iPad. We’ll also explain what the differences are between these options and when you might want to choose a particular one.

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:

  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 a 2018 iPad Pro or the iPad Mini. In some older models, you’ll find it on the side.
  2. Drag the slider from left to right to turn your iPad off.
  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:

  1. 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 2018 iPad Pro, you need to:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then press and hold the Power button until the device restarts.

How to factory reset your iPad

If you’re still encountering issues with your iPad after trying a soft reset or force restart, or perhaps you’re wiping your iPad before selling it or passing it on, then you’ll want to know how to factory reset your iPad. A factory reset will completely wipe everything on your iPad. That means all of your music, photos, messages, and everything else will be deleted permanently. If you have things you don’t want to lose, then it’s vital that you back them up before performing the factory reset. 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:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset and tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  2. Tap Erase iPad and confirm.
  3. Once it has completed the process you’ll be greeted with the setup screen just like when you first bought it. You can choose whether to set it up as new or restore your backup.
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