The Android operating system has always made it easy for users to restart their phones or format them if they run into an issue. From the classic battery pull to newer methods, there has always been a way to bring a malfunctioning device back to life, but factory resets should be the last step. If you’re at that point and want to know how to factory reset Android smartphones, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re going to walk you through the process of performing a factory reset on Android smartphones whether it was manufactured by Samsung, OnePlus, or another company. We’ve also put together a list of tips to try before resorting to formatting a phone, along with a pre-format checklist.
What Is Factory Reset on Android?
Most devices that have an operating system allow you to reset them, whether it’s a PC, gaming console, smart TV, or smartphone. The “reset” feature is common on all types of tech, but a factory reset takes things to a different level.
Doing a soft reboot on a TV or tablet won’t wipe any data and you don’t lose settings. When you perform a factory reset, it returns the device to its factory state. That means it wipes everything you’ve installed since you purchased the device, and you’ll lose anything that hasn’t been backed up.
That could mean re-entering your password in some cases, but with a smartphone or PC, it can result in a complete wipe. While it can clear up some serious issues with Android smartphones, it can also take a considerable amount of time to set your phone back up again.
Performing a factory reset on Android should be the last step if you’re having problems, but it’s something everyone needs to do when they plan to sell a smartphone. Whether you’re going to list your old tablet on eBay or gift it to a friend, a factory reset ensures none of your personal data is left behind.
If your phone is inoperable, skip ahead to our section on how to factory reset Android. Otherwise, you’ll want to check out the next section which may be able to solve issues on Android without a full reset.
Tips to Fix Common Android Problems
If your phone is having issues with connectivity or charging, you may think that a factory reset could solve the problem. That could certainly do the trick, but there are plenty of common problems that are easy to solve without wiping all the data from your phone.
Is the software sluggish on your smartphone and do apps take forever to load? That’s where optimization comes into play. Check and see how much free space you have on your phone, and make sure it’s up to date with the latest software from your carrier and manufacturer. Removing unwanted apps can speed up a phone, and doing so can also help solve problems with battery drain.
Battery life varies in smartphones, but it’s not uncommon to see a significant drop as they age. The biggest problem is connected to apps that run in the background, however. If you feel like your battery life has taken a hit, don’t reset your phone just yet. Instead, you can check to see what’s running in the background and stop processes or remove them completely.
To do this, you’ll need to go to Settings > System> Developer Options on your Android smartphone. If you don’t see this section, you can access it by going to “About Phone” and tapping on the build number until you see the option unlocked. Apps can run in the background without you knowing, which means they can also cause connectivity issues.
These apps can hog your mobile data or Wi-Fi signal along with system resources. This is also an area where the router in your home, or the device you’re trying to connect to, could be an issue. Always make sure firmware is current on your smartphone, routers, and other smart devices. If all else fails, go to the Reset section on your smartphone.
From here, you can perform a reset of your network settings or wipe all settings from your device. This will remove Wi-Fi networks, Google accounts, and other personal data, but will not delete apps, photos, or other info. It can solve a lot of Android problems, and you won’t have to completely reset your smartphone.
How to Factory Reset Android Smartphones
When you’re ready to factory reset Android on your smartphone or tablet, the first thing you’ll want to do is back up any important data.
You can always download apps and games again, but you will want to back up photos and other data if you’ve not saved it in the cloud. When you’re satisfied you’ve saved everything you want to keep, make sure your device has a full charge and follow these steps.
Step 1: Open the Settings App
Take your smartphone or tablet and locate the Settings app. You can find the icon on your app screen, pull-down menu, or through the search bar.
Step 2: Factory Reset
What you see on this screen can vary by manufacturer, but look for a section with a Reset function. On Samsung devices, you can find it under General Management, but you can also use the search function from within the Settings menu.
Step 3: Factory Data Reset
There should be a few reset options on this screen, but to factory reset Android, you’ll want to choose that section and carefully read the information. This will tell you exactly what will be removed from your device, including all connected accounts.
Step 4: Reset Your Phone
Once you tap on Reset, you’ll need to confirm your selection to erase all data from your smartphone. Enter your PIN code and password, or use your fingerprint to proceed. Once the process begins, it can take up to an hour to complete.
The steps above should clear up any confusion on factory resetting your Android phone. However, if you’re more of a visual learner, we found the perfect tutorial on YouTube to walk you through the process, step by step.
How to Factory Reset Android with Recovery Mode
The ability to perform a factory reset can save you from a lot of headaches. It’s also something that can prove impossible to do on some smartphones. If your phone is a complete brick with no power, this method won’t work.
If you can’t access the settings menu to reset your phone, there’s another solution. You can factory reset almost any Android smartphone as long as it has a few buttons.
Step 1: Enter Recovery Mode
With your smartphone off, press and hold the Volume up and Power until you feel your smartphone vibrate and you see the Android recovery screen. Release the buttons at that time to access this menu. This works on devices from Samsung and other manufacturers, but the key combination can vary somewhat.
Step 2: Wipe Data/Factory Reset
Using the volume buttons on your phone, navigate until you see the section marked Wipe data/factory reset. Press the power or side button to confirm your selection.
Step 3: Begin Formatting
From this menu, you’re given the option to proceed with the reset or cancel. If your data is backed up and you’re ready, choose Factory data reset and allow the process to start. When finished, you can select Reboot system now.
Manufacturers may have made battery pulls a thing of the past, but Android makes rebooting and resetting smartphones easy. An Android factory reset is also the first thing you’ll want to do before trading in a device or selling it online.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©MeSSrro/Shutterstock.com.