How to factory reset Android smartphones

How to factory reset Android smartphones

It is not uncommon for Android smartphones to slow down over time and become sluggish and laggy. While a simple restart could fix most issues, it is not a lasting solution. In more serious cases, you might have to resort to a factory reset. Another occasion where you would need to factory reset your phone is before selling your phone to a new owner. In this guide, we tell you how to safely reset your phone to factory settings. You will also learn some of the things you should take care of before going ahead with this step.

Before we start: The steps mentioned in this guide is a generic guide on how to reset Android smartphones. Depending on the smartphone model you own and the Android version you are on, the menu structure and button combinations could slightly vary.

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How to restart your Android smartphone

Sometimes, phones freeze up for no apparent reason. While it's annoying, it can usually be fixed quickly and easily by restarting - also known as "rebooting" or doing a "soft reset" of your phone. This will not only give your phone a fresh start, all your photos, apps and settings will be left intact. Here's how to do it:

  1. Hold down its power button for 30 seconds and it will restart itself.
  2. You can perform this step even when the screen is on but the phone has completely stopped responding to your inputs.

In case a soft reset doesn't solve your issue, it's time we take more drastic steps. Depending on the issue you face, there is an option to perform either a setting reset or a go for a full-fledged factory reset. Let's learn the difference between the two first.

Choosing between settings reset and factory reset

Factory resetting an Android smartphone is an extreme step and it will essentially take your phone back to how it was when it was brand new. If you are worried about the trouble of having to set everything up again, it is advisable to first try settings reset on your phone.

On the stock version of Android 11, Google gives you two options for a settings reset. Let's check how to do this.

  1. Go to 'Settings'
  2. Scroll to 'System'
  3. Expand the 'Advanced' option and select 'Reset Options'
  4. You will now see three options here 'Reset WiFi, mobile & Bluetooth', 'Reset app preferences', and 'Erase all data.'

Resetting the Wi-Fi, Mobile and Bluetooth settings might not be useful in all circumstances - but the second option 'Reset app preferences' could be helpful in some scenarios – especially if the problems on your phone is caused by an errant app. If this step also fails to resolve your issue, its time we take things to the next level.

Warning: Factory resetting an Android phone involves loss of all data stored on the phone. Make sure you back up everything before you proceed further.

How to factory reset your Android smartphone

AndroidPIT google play not working 7
Sometimes you just have to go for the last resort. / © NextPit

If restarting your device doesn't help and your phone is still acting up, you might want to try a factory reset. This will restore your smartphone to its original manufacturer settings. This means that all apps will be erased, along with files, settings and manufacturer app updates. However, you don't have to worry about your phone being rolled back to an earlier version of the Android OS. Your smartphone does not keep an original image of the operating system - once updated, you can't revert to an older version.

The process is also sometimes referred to as formatting or doing a "hard reset". However, hard resetting your Android smartphone isn't actually that difficult. The quickest and most painless way to do a factory reset is through the Settings menu. If that isn't possible, you can also reset in Recovery Mode. Here are the instructions for both.

Factory reset your Android phone from the Settings menu

The way to do this differs a bit from device to device. On devices running stock Android 11, the path is the same as before

  1. Go to 'Settings' and scroll all the way down to find 'System.'
  2. Tap on System and find the 'Reset' option.
  3. From the list, tap on 'Erase all data' (factory reset).
  4. You will see a list of data that will be erased, along with signed-in accounts and the 'Reset phone' option on the bottom.
  5. Tap it and select 'Delete all data.'
android 10 reset phone2
How to factory reset on most Pixel phones on Android 10. / © NextPit

On a Samsung phone, the menu path is slightly different.

How to factory reset a Samsung smartphone

  1. Go to Settings, then General Management.
  2. From there, tap on Reset, which you can find at the bottom.
  3. You will see three options - Reset settings, Reset network settings and Factory data reset.
  4. Tap Factory Reset. You should then see a long list of accounts, apps, etc. which will be erased from your phone.
  5. If you've made up your mind, scroll to the bottom, and tap Reset.
  6. You might be also asked to login to a Samsung Account in case you have one before resetting the phone. If yes, make sure you know your Samsung Account password before you proceed. In case you have forgotten the password, you can tap the 'Forgot my password' option and follow the on-screen steps.
reset phone samsung
Factory reset path on a Samsung S20 with Android 10 and Samsung One UI. / © NextPit

Finally, if you're still having trouble finding the factory reset option on your phone, simply use the search tool and type in 'factory reset'.

Factory reset Android in Recovery Mode

If your phone is so messed up that you can't access your Settings menu, there's still hope. You can reset in Recovery mode, using just the buttons of your phone.

If possible, back up your phone's data first, as this process will remove all data from your phone's internal storage.

  1. Turn your phone off.
  2. Hold the Volume down button, and while doing so, also hold the Power button until the phone turns on.
  3. You'll see the word Start, then you should press Volume down until Recovery mode is highlighted.
  4. Now press the Power button to start recovery mode. You should see an Android robot now.
  5. Once you're in Recovery mode, press and hold the Power button, and while doing so, press the Volume up button once, then let go of the Power button.
  6. Press Volume down until Wipe data/factory reset is highlighted, then press the Power button to select it. 
  7. Once that's done, press the Power button to select Reboot system now.
  8. Then, you can restore your phone's data.

Have you tried doing a soft or hard reset of your Android phone? How did it go? Let us know how it went in the comments.

43 comments

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  • Freyasman 4 months ago Link to comment

    more and people are leaving Facebook I'm going to places lake Rumer and ise. media there's fed up with lies, and being told what to believe!


  • lunani eric 9 months ago Link to comment

    Hello i`m from Kenya and unable to flash my phone which is in Factory mode please help.


  • Michele Roddy Apr 1, 2020 Link to comment

    my android umx has decided to only show chinese letters. not as shown on you tube with the left side symboles but from top to bottom left to right the whole screen is in chinese. I took the battery out several times on for when it was put back in for the same screen to return. the only english is when it is first coming on it shows umx by android then back to the full screen of chinese. Someone please help!! my husband is in the hospital and this phone is our only link . the virus is keeping us from talking and wen to to keep in touch.


  • Steve Mar 24, 2020 Link to comment

    How to bypass or reset the kill switch on Android LG phone


  • Arsedistroyer Jan 30, 2020 Link to comment

    Regarding the factory reset. I know that it's soppuse to remove all personal info on a device. Well I had issue where I thought someone had hacked my phone well it turns out someone I know who was very close to me had my device under some kind of mobile device management had full access to my device . Before I discovered what was going on I figured I would do a factory reset on recover mode and just start fresh without loading anything from my old accounts or phone. I soon discovered that I still was having the same issues with my phone issues being settings being changed as to not alert me of any changes being done to my device or to notify me of certain uses of my phone . I don't much about cellphone programming or coding or whatever it's called but what is one suppose to do when a hard factory reset doesn't remove whatever is programed in your phone that is spying on you. Also if you can't remove it and sell your device does that mean that some unsuspecting person can have there info compromised as well .


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Jan 14, 2020 Link to comment

    Thanks for the clear information. Everybody should know how to do this. The question is not if you will ever need this but when you will need it


  • maggspi Dec 20, 2019 Link to comment

    My Google Board has stopped working, now I can't even got into my phone with my passcode! Help! I have a Sprint LG Tribute

    Peter M


  • Vivienne iles Dec 13, 2019 Link to comment

    In settings factory reset button is greyed out. I Tried the alternative method of power off and holding buttons simultaneously it no 'start' message appears just the Android logo. What can I do?


    • storm Jan 16, 2020 Link to comment

      Search on "recovery boot" for your phone brand and model. Exact method can vary from phone to phone.


  • Robert Pyles Dec 11, 2019 Link to comment

    My Samsung note 3 Hotspot isn't working neither is my screen mirroring what could be the problem and will a factory reset fix this ?


  • ADRIGOGU Oct 28, 2019 Link to comment

    Hi,

    thanks for the post. I have an issue I cant really fix, I landed here expecting to get some help. I just did a factory reset of my Xiaomi Redmi Note 6, and when I started it up, I noticed the android version was an old one. Now I cant go back to the one I had before doing the factory reset. Any tips? Thanks in advance.


    • storm Jan 16, 2020 Link to comment

      Go into your settings and force check for an update.


  • jwayne Oct 16, 2019 Link to comment

    Thanks millions for this valuable information on backing up and factory resetting. I'm 67 years old and wasn't born with a phone in my hand (notice I type using full sentences and punctuation). I just did a reset on my sluggish, crap-filled, pop-up-ad-infected phone. It works like a new one now.


  • Raihan Sep 27, 2019 Link to comment

    Good


  • Steph Hosie Sep 23, 2019 Link to comment

    After factory resetting my Motorola G4 it started the Google activation process which requires Wi-Fi I have home Wi-Fi but the phone just continues to search for a network netw


    although I have home and have several networks in the area but it JUST continually searches for networks. what do I do I can't get through the activation process at all without Wi-Fi how do I fix this?


  • namrta chauhan May 17, 2019 Link to comment

    Unfortunately Google play services has stopped


  • Emmanuel Apr 24, 2019 Link to comment

    My Samsung galaxy note 3 doesn't play music through Bluetooth


  • Eman Mohamed Apr 20, 2019 Link to comment

    Hello, I am from Ethiopia. I recently got a handle down phone of a family member. which I reset and used. only to find out now that it had some very important data on it. I don't mind losing my data but is there any way to get it back?


  • thenext Nov 5, 2018 Link to comment

    thanks work for me


  • harshatecordeon Nov 5, 2018 Link to comment

    Superb information.


  • D. L. Nov 3, 2018 Link to comment

    One of the first things to do, is clear cache for ALL apps. In main phone settings app, open storage, then scroll down to clear cache. But, if that doesn't do it, then this rarely used trick works wonders, especially after a major OS update.

    From main phone settings app, open apps, hit the menu (three dot) top right on that page, then you see options to configure apps, system apps, etc. Tap the
    "Reset All App Preferences" and that will erase all app settings. It's one step below a factory reset, without loosing any data or having to backup all data. You'll have to redo all settings manually, or when prompted by each app, but it fixed a major battery drain I had after updating to nougat.

    I also recommend you find ways to keep most of your data backed up, just in case you ever Do Need to Factory Reset & or lost & damaged phones.


  • Goodnews Oct 31, 2018 Link to comment

    I was having problems with the drop down not working, the phone not answering calls, etc. on our old Moto G and finally got it solved by using the procedures above under Factory reset Android in Recovery Mode. Yeah! Thank you Jesus for Google, AndroidPIT and Brittany.

    SorinDeactivated Account


  • Huzaifa Imtiaz Oct 20, 2018 Link to comment

    my samsungA8 is not switching off.plz help


  • Mobile Storey Mar 26, 2018 Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing


  • Albin Foro Mar 24, 2018 Link to comment

    Should note there is a less drastic alternative to full factory reset using the same Recovery Mode (Power/Volume restart) menu - wiping the system cache. The key presses and content of the hidden Menu varies by device - usually the OEM's website will provide steps. Wiping the system cache will often cure problems (especially after a major system upgrade leaving a lot of useless temporary muck) and does NOT wipe personal data and apps / settings, or restore bloatware as a factory reset does. Certainly worth trying before the factory reset "nuclear option".


  • Koketso Pilane May 14, 2017 Link to comment

    My little sister(4yr) was playing with my phone and she mistakenly factory reset my phone so all my apps,games and file were gone but I had backed them in my hard-drive so always remember to back-up your pictures,music and very important files!


  • Greg B. May 11, 2017 Link to comment

    Will preinstalled bloatware be removed with factory reset?


  • Giva Lavinia Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

    thanks you


  • susan osammor Aug 31, 2015 Link to comment

    It works....yay!!!


  • dawn gilbert Aug 30, 2015 Link to comment

    if you take out a SIM card before you sell your phone I don't want to sound stupid but can somebody just buy a SIM card and how much are they?


  • Thomas kieser Aug 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Yes factory reset is nice but I recently had to and reset part is fine it's the other part that really sucks and that's Google, My things are alleged to be back up to Google and I only got a quarter of my contacts back contacted Google and that was not any help at all sent me to web Google contacts and they have this box in the way and of course not all contacts were there now I got some old some brand new ones but non of my most important contacts yes, I have just ran into problems with anything that has to do with Google ,there apps 3rd party apps. I will say one thing Google does not have the users best interest for that I am leaving Google for apple.


  • Deborah Verillo Aug 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Anyone know if my Tune in recordings can be backed up so I can restore them after a reset on my nexus tablet?


    • Thomas kieser Aug 30, 2015 Link to comment

      Hard to say with Google I have nexus 6 Motorola and I this week had to do a factory reset and only gave me a quarter of my contact's so


  • Simao Disilver'telo Aug 29, 2015 Link to comment

    my tablet has from top a home/back button, volume up, volume dwn and power button. i tried all possible ways to get that menu. can anybody pls help me? model .. dixon md9901


  • Kathryn Templin Aug 29, 2015 Link to comment

    Hello. I see all the directions I even read all the directions to factory reset my Android but, I am still really leary to reset it. Is it a trust issue? Haha


  • Suman Saha Aug 29, 2015 Link to comment

    thank u brother.........


  • Mike Aug 29, 2015 Link to comment

    Is this something you would recommend to do once in awhile, just to clear the bugs out?


    • Shankar Prasad Nandi May 11, 2017 Link to comment

      Yes, maybe once in a year, especially if you've been messing with the phone a lot. Installing multiple apps, apks, things like that. But to get the maximum benefit, I'd suggest not taking the usual 'easy' route to back up your data. Like using manufacturer-provided software like Samsung SmartSwitch. The best thing to do is: 1. Use an app like SMS Backup & Restore to back up your messages. 2. Transfer all music, videos, pictures and documents to your pc. 3. Take out your SD card and format it using your pc and a card reader. 4. Factory reset hard using the hardware buttons. 5. Insert the SD card and format it again. 5. Now with your reset phone, restore your contacts using your Google account. 6. Re-download and re-sign in to the apps you use. 7. Restore your messages using the app mentioned above. 8. Scan the folder on your pc where you stored your data with a good antivirus. 9. Transfer the files to your SD card using WiFi transfer.
      If you really wish to get rid of bugs and slowness on your phone with a factory reset, it's better to follow this laborious method.


  •   24
    Deactivated Account Aug 29, 2015 Link to comment

    With the S6/edge it's volume UP. Home, Power buttons that must be pressed simultaneously for recovery mode if I'm not mistaken. Volume down , home, power is for download mode to root.

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