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When purchasing a used iPhone with a completely unknown history (which includes the possibility of multiple previous owners), is it possible to reset it and be sure that all software and firmware on it is 100% identical to the factory image?

Please keep in mind that since the history is unknown, it's possible the device was previously jailbroken/unlocked/rooted/etc.

If the answer varies depending on iPhone model, please indicate to which models your answer pertains.

I'm interested in answers for all iPhone models.


Please note: The question and answers at Is it possible to return the iPhone to its very original factory state? do not help because they do not take in account the possibility of the phone being jailbroken/unlocked/rooted/etc. Also, that question is ambiguous as to whether or not it applies to both the software and firmware.

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  • @nohillside Except I specifically stated that the iPhone may have been "jailbroken/unlocked/rooted/etc", which the other question does not include. This question also requires both software and firmware to be restored, while the other question is ambiguous, as that entire question consists of under 20 words. Furthermore, that ambiguous question is just shy of a decade old and is without an accepted answer. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jan 21 at 9:44
  • We close as duplicate when the answers are the same, even if the question is worded differently. – nohillside Jan 21 at 9:47
  • @nohillside I don't think you're understanding... the question is different in 2 key regards. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jan 21 at 9:50
  • Then please edit the question to make it clear why resetting via iTunes will not solve the problem you have. Right now it only says that the other answers don't help you because you don't have a Mac. – nohillside Jan 21 at 9:56
  • OTOH no reset method can give you a 100% guarantee that everything will be reset. Malware could have found a way to evade a full reset. – nohillside Jan 21 at 9:57
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No, it’s not possible if the phone has received iOS updates, which it probably has. You may be able to reset it to the factory state of a new iPhone, but not to the factory state of your iPhone, because Apple works hard to ensure that you can’t downgrade iOS to the factory version.

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  • Thanks Mike. Can you elaborate on "you may be able to reset it to the factory state of a new iPhone, but not the factory state of your iPhone"? – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jan 20 at 23:08
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    @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket The iPhone 12 was originally distributed with iOS 14.1. New ones being sold now have iOS 14.3. If you have one that was distributed with iOS 14.1 but has been upgraded to 14.3, you can’t reset it to its original factory state with 14.1, but you can reset it to the factory state of a new iPhone 12 with 14.3. – Mike Scott Jan 21 at 6:16
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    Mike, thanks for the details. I was previously unaware of this. Because of this lack of knowledge, my question is not really worded correctly. Resetting the device to a new iPhone 12 with 4.3 (using your example) would be adequate. Would it be better for me to edit my question for additional clarity, or create a new question that would be very similar, but include wording to allow resetting it to the current Apple iOS version? – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jan 21 at 6:44

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