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How to use Finder to restore iPhone to backup or factory settings in macOS Catalina

How to use Finder to restore iPhone to backup or factory settings in macOS Catalina
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Restoring an iPhone from a previous backup using a Mac is still an easy process, but the way it works has changed since Apple cancelled iTunes with the macOS Catalina update. Now you have to use Finder to backup and restore your iPhone, which may take a while to get used to.

If you use a Windows PC, you will still use iTunes to sync and back up your iPhone, but not in macOS 10.15 and later. As long as you have backed up your device using Finder or iTunes in macOS Mojave and earlier versions of macOS Mojave, you can restore your iPhone with just a few clicks. We will also show you how to turn off Find My iPhone (which is required to restore your iPhone) and how to restore your iPhone to factory settings.

1. Back up your iPhone (it’s too late)

Before restoring your iPhone using a backup, you must first back up your device to your computer. You can check out our other guides that show you how to back up your iPhone using Finder, encrypt and password protect your backups, delete old ones, and archive them.

If you don’t care about restoring the backup and just want to restore to factory settings and erase the data, skip to method 2 under step 3.


2. Disable Find My iPhone on iPhone

Also, you must disable “Find My iPhone” on your iPhone. If you try to restore from a previous backup without turning off the features, the Finder won’t let you restore your device and will tell you to turn it off. When the Finder reminds you, you can take action immediately or delete it beforehand.

To do this, go to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap the name at the top. Next, go to “Find My” and click on the “Find My iPhone” option.

When prompted, close Find My iPhone and enter your Apple ID password. Finally, click “Close” and “Find My iPhone” will be disabled.


3. Restore your iPhone

Now that Find My iPhone is disabled, you can restore your iPhone from a previous backup to the factory default settings.


1. Restore from backup

To restore your iPhone from a previous backup, connect your device to your computer using a Lightning to USB or Lightning to USB-C cable, then open any Finder window. Under “Location” of the device, click the device on the left. In the device’s Summary screen, click Restore Backup.

Select a backup from the options displayed. View the time and date of each backup and select the latest or most relevant one. You may see three different types of backups in the options, including:

  • iCloud: Your latest backup has been saved to iCloud.
  • Local: Your most recent backup has been saved to your computer.
  • Archived: Older backups cannot be overwritten.

In the case of iCloud, local or archive backups, just click “Restore” to begin the process. However, if it is a local (archived or unarchived) backup and it is encrypted, you must enter your encryption password before you click Restore.

Your iPhone will restart and it will take a few minutes to recover. Do not disconnect your device until your iPhone has synced with your computer, as you can see from the circle arrow next to the device name in Finder. Disconnect after synchronization is complete.


2. Restore to default configuration

Using iCloud or a local backup is not the only way to restore your iPhone. You can also choose to restore your iPhone to factory settings from the Finder. Select the “Restore iPhone” option and click “Restore” again when prompted, and your iPhone will be restored to the latest stable iOS software version.

Note: If you are running public or developer Beta software, your iPhone will revert to the latest public software, please note.

After the iPhone is factory reset, it will restart. You can now set your iPhone as new.

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