If you’ve got an iPhone, especially a 16GB iPhone, then you’ll have no doubt experienced the joy of having to delete an app to take another photo. Music? NOBODY HAS SPACE FOR MUSIC. Choose three of your favourite photos, one podcast (1), an outdated version of Citymapper and be glad.
We muddle through though, because our iPhones are part of us and we learn to love their quirks. Who needs a photo of their newborn baby nephew when you have that rad Stocks app?
But sometimes an iPhone will slow down to the point of becoming useless, as mine did recently.
Mine is an old-ish iPhone 5 as I skipped the past two upgrade opportunities in favour of a cheaper contract, so I had wondered if maybe my iPhone was just ready for retirement. I do use it a LOT, like it’s always in my hand at any given moment day or night, but I still think that they shouldn’t just die. They’re supposed to be relatively sophisticated things.
Resigned to the fact I’d need to buy an iPhone 6 if I ever wanted to open the camera app again, I thought I may as well do a factory reset of my poorly one. I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose as it had been rendered useless anyway, constantly crashing despite having deleted nearly all my apps and photos. It often wouldn’t turn on/off at all, just to keep me on my toes.
Much to my amazement though, the reset worked beautifully. I have a working iPhone. I CAN TAKE PICTURES AND OPEN APPS AND SEND EMAILS WITHOUT CRYING. Everything is fast, like the adverts! Sure, I still have the Apple Watch app despite the fact I will never ever own one, but I now magically have 5gb of free space on my phone too.
FIVE LOVELY EMPTY GIGABYTES.
It’s a modern day miracle.
All my photos and messages and call history are all there too. It’s ace.
Now I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t superbly stressful at times. When something asks “ARE YOU SURE?” five times before erasing all your content and settings, it’s easy to feel like you’re not sure.
Oh and then once the reset was successful and it came to restoring my backup, my backup was encrypted and I had no idea what password I’d set for it. It wasn’t my iTunes password or my phone password or anything like that so I had to type in a bunch of guesses until luckily I typed the right thing. It was a truly terrifying ten minutes.
AND THEN once I did restore from backup half my apps had disappeared. They were easy enough to recover but I have lost my progress in Two Dots (nooooooooooooooo!) and it was all a bit of a hassle.
But the good news is, my iPhone works now. It’s fresh out of the box fast and I’ve saved myself a pretty penny by not having to upgrade. I may still upgrade soon to get the good camera, but this has saved me in the meantime as I really can’t do my job without my iPhone. (Hello, I don’t even own a watch).
So if your iPhone is sluggish and horrid and saying you have no free space even though you KNOW you should have loads of space because you’ve already deleted 90% of your phone’s content, maybe a reset would help you too.
I’d still suggest taking it to the Apple Store rather than trusting me (a person who doesn’t claim to know much about phones and really doesn’t want to be responsible for you losing everything) but this is what worked for my iPhone, albeit with some tweaks given what went wrong for me…
1. Make sure all your apps are up to date. (Apparently this helps with the known issue of apps disappearing when restoring).
2. If you have any games, make sure they’re linked to Game Centre or Facebook so that your scores aren’t lost.
3. Make sure your iTunes is up to date.
4. If you have space on your iPhone, make sure your iPhone’s software is up to date. (Chances are you can’t do this if you’re in this conundrum of needing to reset. I certainly couldn’t).
5. Manually backup your iPhone to iTunes – if you are encrypting your backup MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR PASSWORD. It is not necessarily your iTunes password. There isn’t a password recovery facility if this goes wrong, as far as I’m aware, so if you’re not sure about the password don’t encrypt your backup. (You can check if you know the password by trying to change the password before you backup).
6. Triple check the backup has worked – looking at the latest backup time and date on iTunes.
7. If all is backed up nicely, open up Settings > General > Reset on your iPhone.
8. Choose “Erase All Content and Settings”.
9. Hold your breath/mildly panic while it asks “ARE YOU SURE?!” repeatedly.
10. Remember to not blame Poppy if it all goes horribly wrong.
11. Let the reset do its thing, it may take a long time.
12. Start the restore backup process via iTunes just as you would if this was a brand new iPhone. You can update your iPhone’s software now too if it wasn’t already up to date.
13. HOPEFULLY all your apps, pics, messages etc are there and your phone is as you remember it….except it now actually works like it should.
14. If apps are missing (a known issue), go to the App Store on your iPhone and click “Updates” then “Purchased” then “Not on this iPhone” and you’ll be able to re-download all the missing ones you want.
15. Revel in your new snazzy FAST iPhone, which probably now magically has a load of free space.
And that’s it!
It can take a bit of time to actually go through all the backing up/restoring, but it’s worth it if you’re tearing your hair out and wanting to throw your iPhone into a wall every five minutes. Plus you’d need to do all the above with a new phone anyway, so you may as well try it with your useless phone in case it breathes a new lease of life into it.
Hopefully this will help some people, but maybe I should just re-iterate one last time that I’d ask Apple if you’re nervous 😉