How to Restore the Firmware on an iPad

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Restoring the firmware on your iPad returns the device to its factory settings and installs the most recent version of the iOS operating system that is compatible with your device. While restoring the iPad can fix a host of problems, it also removes your content and settings. If you want to keep your personal data or settings, back up your iPad using iCloud on the iPad or iTunes on your computer before restoring the firmware.

Backing Up Your IPad

  • If you plan to load a backup after restoring the iPad to its factory firmware, use iCloud to back up the device as it simplifies the restoration process. To back up an iOS 8 device using iCloud, tap the “Settings” app on the iPad’s home screen, select “iCloud” and then tap “Backup.” Toggle the “iCloud Backup” switch to the On position and then tap the “Back Up Now” link. To back up using iTunes 11 on your computer, connect the iPad to your computer and launch iTunes if it does not launch automatically. Click “File” on the main menu in iTunes, select “Devices” and then click “Back up.”

Restoring Firmware Using the iPad

  • To restore your iPad to its factory settings using the iPad itself, tap the “Settings” icon on the home screen and then select “General." Touch “Reset” and then select “Erase all content and settings.” Confirm that you want to proceed and then wait for the iPad to reset. When the reset is complete, you are prompted to set up the iPad in the same way you did when you first purchased the device.

Restoring Firmware Using iTunes

  • Before you restore your iPad to its factory firmware settings in iTunes, disable the Find My iPad feature in iCloud on the iPad itself. This step is essential because it disables the Activation Lock, which can prevent you from setting up the device again after the reset. To disable Find My iPad, tap “iCloud” in the Settings app on the iPad and toggle the virtual switch on your screen to the Off position. When you’re finished, connect the iPad to your computer and launch iTunes. Select your iPad on the list of devices and then click the “Summary” tab. Click the “Restore iPad” button and then click “Restore” again to confirm that you want to reset the device.

Loading a Backup

  • After you restore the iPad, you are prompted to set up the device like you did when you first purchased it. If you created a backup prior to restoring the firmware, load it now. To load a backup using iCloud, tap “Set up your device,” select “Restore from a Backup” and then sign in to your iCloud account. Tap “Choose backup” and select the iCloud backup you want to restore. To load a backup using iTunes, connect your iPad to your computer and launch iTunes if it doesn't launch automatically. Select your device and click the "Summary" tab. Click "Restore Backup" and then choose "Restore." If you encrypted the backup, iTunes prompts you to enter your password before it restores the backup.

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  • Photo Credit Hailshadow/iStock/Getty Images
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