Back to the screen that asks for SIM insertion and iTunes connection on background. Is it?

  • Apparently that state is called "Activation Mode"
    – cregox
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 11:49
  • 1
    The other answers explain this rather well but I'd like to make this point explicitly: You can absolutely get the phone back to activation mode, but you CANNOT downgrade the iOS version back to factory. Blanking your phone will put it in a blank state for your current installed iOS version. Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


Settings -> General -> Reset -> 'Erase all Content and Settings'. On some devices (3gs and 4) this will only return the iPhone to factory settings (but not activation mode). For the latter, I'd just plug it in to iTunes and click 'Restore'.


If I understand what you mean is restoring to its original state -

  1. Connect iPhone to the computer.
  2. In iTunes, under the Devices, select your iPhone.
  3. Select the Summary tab across the top.
  4. Click Restore.

Yes assuming you haven't upgraded the firmware or OS past the factory state.

Whether or not you can revert to factory levels, here is how to get it ready for activation:

Remove the SIM and power off the device. Then plug it into iTunes while off and holding the home button all the while until you see the connect to iTunes icon. This is recovery mode but the device still has user data on it.

Your computer then can wipe all content and re-install any OS that is the same or newer than the OS that is currently on the device. You can load iTunes with older images than is current but just not older than is currently on the phone.

You can't go backwards in terms of undoing an update on the phone without modifying/jailbreaking the device - even then it's not a given and rarely successful in reverting back to factory OS or firmware.

Once the restore is complete disconnect the phone from the computer before replacing the SIM card.

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