How to Do a Master Reset for a Locked Up iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

To do a master reset on a locked-up iPhone, you’ll need to put your device into recovery mode and use iTunes or Finder on your computer to restore it. This will erase all data and settings on the iPhone, but you can restore from a backup during the setup process.

After completing a master reset, your iPhone will be wiped clean, and it’ll be like starting with a brand new device. Any software issues causing the lock-up should be resolved, and you can set up your iPhone as new or restore from a backup.


Have you ever been in a situation where your iPhone just won’t respond? It’s frozen, and no amount of button pressing is bringing it back to life. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten your passcode, and you’re locked out of your device. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. It’s a common predicament, and there’s a solution: doing a master reset.

Master resetting your iPhone is a powerful tool that can solve a variety of issues, from software glitches to forgotten passcodes. It’s a process that wipes your iPhone clean, removing all personal data and rolling the software back to its original state. It’s important for anyone who relies on their iPhone daily, particularly if you’re prone to forgetting your passcode or if you’re selling or passing on your iPhone to someone else. Having the know-how can save you a trip to the Apple Store or a call to tech support. So, whether you’re a tech newbie or a savvy user, read on to learn how to master reset your locked-up iPhone.

Step by Step Tutorial to Do a Master Reset for a Locked Up iPhone

Before we start, please note that a master reset will erase all data on your iPhone. If you have a backup, either on iCloud or your computer, you’ll be able to restore your data later.

Step 1: Prepare Your Computer

First, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes on your computer. If you’re using a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, you’ll use Finder instead.

Having the latest software ensures compatibility with your iPhone and can help prevent any issues during the reset process.

Step 2: Enter Recovery Mode

Next, you need to put your iPhone into recovery mode. This can vary slightly depending on which iPhone model you have, but generally involves holding down specific buttons while connecting your iPhone to your computer.

For example, on an iPhone 8 or later, quickly press and release the Volume Up button, then quickly press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery mode screen.

Step 3: Locate Your iPhone on Your Computer

Once in recovery mode, find your device on your computer. On iTunes, you’ll see a message saying there’s a problem with your iPhone that requires it to be updated or restored. On Finder, you’ll see your iPhone appear in the sidebar under “Locations.”

This is where the magic happens. You’ll be given the option to restore your iPhone, which is what you want for a master reset.

Step 4: Restore Your iPhone

Click ‘Restore’ when prompted. Your computer will then download the software for your iPhone and begin the restore process.

This step will take some time, so be patient. Make sure your computer remains connected to the internet and your iPhone remains connected to your computer throughout the process.


Resolves Software IssuesA master reset can fix persistent software problems that cause your iPhone to freeze or act erratically. It’s like giving your iPhone a fresh start.
Removes Personal DataIf you’re selling or giving away your iPhone, a master reset will ensure all your personal information is wiped from the device.
Can Bypass Forgotten PasscodesForgotten your passcode? A master reset will allow you to access your iPhone again. However, you’ll lose any data not backed up.


Data LossIf you haven’t backed up your iPhone, a master reset will result in the loss of all data stored on the device.
Time-ConsumingThe process can be lengthy, especially if your internet connection is slow or if you have a lot of data on your iPhone.
May Not Fix Hardware IssuesA master reset only addresses software problems. If your iPhone is physically damaged, this process won’t help.

Additional Information

Master resetting a locked-up iPhone is a handy skill, but it’s not without its risks. Before you proceed, ensure you’ve backed up your data. If you haven’t, you’ll lose your photos, messages, apps, and more. It’s a good idea to routinely back up your iPhone to prevent data loss in the event of a required reset.

If you’re unable to put your iPhone into recovery mode, or if your computer doesn’t recognize your device, check your cables and try a different USB port. If problems persist, contact Apple Support for further assistance.

Remember, a master reset should be a last resort. Try simpler solutions first, like a forced restart or checking for iOS updates. And if you’re concerned about data security, know that Apple’s encryption keeps your data safe during the reset process, so you don’t have to worry about your information falling into the wrong hands.

Finally, if you’re planning to sell your iPhone, a master reset is an essential step to protect your privacy. Just make sure to sign out of your Apple ID and turn off Find My iPhone before you begin.


  1. Prepare your computer by updating iTunes or using Finder.
  2. Enter recovery mode on your iPhone.
  3. Locate your iPhone on your computer.
  4. Restore your iPhone through iTunes or Finder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I lose everything on my iPhone after a master reset?

Yes, a master reset erases all content and settings. However, you can restore your data from a backup if you have one.

Can I do a master reset without a computer?

No, you need a computer with iTunes or Finder to complete a master reset.

How long does a master reset take?

The process can vary, but generally, it takes about 15-30 minutes, not including the time it takes to back up and restore your data.

What do I do if my iPhone won’t go into recovery mode?

Double-check the steps for your specific iPhone model, and make sure you’re holding the correct buttons. If it still doesn’t work, try a different cable or USB port.

Can a master reset fix a physically damaged iPhone?

No, a master reset only addresses software issues. If your iPhone is physically damaged, you’ll need to get it repaired.


Master resetting a locked-up iPhone can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it’s a manageable task. Remember, it’s a powerful move that wipes everything from your device and gives you a clean slate. Whether you’re troubleshooting a frozen iPhone, erasing personal data, or bypassing a forgotten passcode, the ability to do a master reset is a valuable tool in your tech arsenal.

Just be sure to back up your data regularly, so you’re prepared should you ever need to perform a master reset. And if you run into trouble, don’t hesitate to seek help from Apple support or a certified technician. Happy resetting!

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