How to Reformat Your Apple iPad

Just bought a new Apple iPad 2 and want to prep your old iPad 1 for resale? You might be lucky and sell it to a relative (or be really nice and give it to them, for that matter), in which case it isn’t a crisis if some of your information remains on the device, but if you’re tapping into Craigslist or eBay, you’ll want to know exactly how to reformat the iPad back to its out-of-the-box state for the new user.

There are various ways you can decouple the iPad from your paired computer (e.g., the computer running iTunes that you use for syncing things up), but they’re inferior to the core approach of using iOS itself to wipe its memory clean and ensure that there’s no vestige of your data or personal information left on the device.

Before you start, however, it’s obviously a good idea to sync the iPad and make 110% sure that you have everything you need and want off the device.

When we’re done, well, it’s going to be indistinguishable from a brand new iPad from the Apple Store or Best Buy and for you to do anything with the device at that point will involve actually setting it up again. Not good if you wanted to grab that last photo or video off first…

Synced up? Good.

Now pick up your iPad and go to “Settings” –> “General” and scroll down to the very bottom:

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Once you tap on the “Reset” option, you’ll see that there are a bunch of options from which to choose:

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We want the Big Gun, “Erase all Content and Settings”. Tap on that and if you have a security code set for your iPad as I do, you’ll have to verify your identity to proceed:

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If you don’t have a security code, it’ll simply ask for confirmation that you really want to erase everything and restart the device:

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No, really, are you SURE you want to do this? 🙂 Tap “Erase” and it’ll ask you yet again to confirm your action…

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After you tap “Erase” again, the iPad starts grinding away (not literally!) and after a short period of time will restart with the plug-me-in graphic:

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That’s it. You’ve just wiped, erased, reformatted, and cleaned up your iPad into a like-new state. Now it’s time to enjoy that shiny new toy…

Categorized as iOS, iPad, Mac

By Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs.

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