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How to factory reset the Galaxy S3 for improved performance

Kris Carlon

Performing a factory or hard reset of any device regularly will improve performance and clear up certain bugs that may have been lingering from dodgy apps, previous firmware update hiccups or just prolonged usage and lag. Considering just how many Galaxy S3 owners have said that they're happy to stay put with their device in the face of the underwhelming Galaxy S5, refreshing the Galaxy S3's performance seems pretty timely. Here's how to do it (it also works on the S4).

It may be two years old, but the Galaxy S3 is still a nicely performing smartphone. / © Samsung

Which reset option to choose?

You have a couple of options when it comes to resetting your device. Firstly you can choose between a basic factory reset, which I consider to be done via the settings menu on the device and a hard reset which is done via a hardware button combination and the recovery menu – it gives you more options for wiping data, cache and partitions. The other thing you need to consider is whether you want your full system reinstalled after the reset or just your apps and personal data.

Always backup first

Before you even consider doing a factory reset or hard reset you really, really need to backup your system, apps and data to whatever level you need. When it comes to backing up data there's never too many backups. I always perform an app and data backup on my device with Titanium Backup, then I do a ClockworkMod ROM Manager backup and then I also copy over my backups along with pictures, music etc to my computer manually with a USB cable, just to be safe. Keep in mind there's a difference between simply backing up your apps and data and making a complete Nandroid system backup. All of this may seem overly cautious but once you've lost important data once you'll soon see multiple backups as a valuable investment of your time and energy.

androidpit factory data reset
Factory reseting via the settings menu is super quick and easy. / © AndroidPIT

Factory reset the Galaxy S3

This is the quick and easy reset option and will wipe your data from the device but not affect your SIM or SD card if you have either of them installed. No reset will affect your SIM contents but some people are a little paranoid regardless, so if you're one of them just take it out first (along with your SD card if you like). Then go to settings, ''backup and reset'' and hit ''factory data reset'', then ''reset device'' and ''delete all''. You can achieve the same result using the Android code *2767*3855# from the dialer.

Hard reset the Galaxy S3

This is basically the same as doing a factory reset, but when you use the hardware button combination you have additional options to manually wipe more of your device. Depending how often you are doing a reset and wipe or flashing custom ROMs this may be a natural or unnecessarily complicated way of doing it, but I like to be in control so this is how I do it. You can just do a factory reset and leave it at that but some people like to do a factory data reset, then wipe the cache partition and then the Dalvik cache separately, and sometimes both before a factory reset and then again afterwards, just to be sure. It's all up to personal preference but if you choose not to do these last two steps and have any issues after rebooting (like getting stuck in a bootloop), wiping the cache partition and Dalvik cache can quite often be all you need to get you back to where you want to be.

galaxy nexus recovery cwm
Depending on what time of recovery you have, you simply need to scroll and select. / © AndroidPIT

The hardware button combination for the Galaxy S3 is Hold Volume Up, Home and Power buttons until the device vibrates or you see the Galaxy screen, then release the Power button while continuing to hold the other two. You'll now be brought to the Android recovery screen (you can let go of the buttons now). Using the Volume keys, scroll down to ''wipe data/factory reset'' and confirm with a tap of the Power button. Scroll down to ''delete all user data'' and again hit the Power button to confirm. You can now reboot the system from the recovery menu. Once your S3 reboots you should have much smoother system performance. It's also a good idea to keep your apps up to date and delete any unused apps to keep things running better too.

Have you ever needed to factory reset your Galaxy S3? Are data wipes part of your Android care strategy?

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  • Subair Angillath 2 months ago Link

    thanks. vry good.
    vry hlp fl for me...

  • man iscus 3 months ago Link

    i jsut bought a used S3 and it still shows the previous owners phone number under...about device....1. should i be concerned about malware....i did a factory reset and it still shows and 2. should i do a hard reset...will that wipe out everything..


    • Herpa Durp 3 months ago Link

      Not malware. Check the SIM card slot, they probably never took theirs out of it. You could take it out but if you don't put one in (I'm guessing you didn't buy cell service?) you will have an annoying "NO SIM CARD" notification.

  • mary 7 months ago Link

    What are the combination buttons for the S4 ? Thanks : )*

    • Moni Mihailov 7 months ago Link

      The same as the S3's :)

    • Sanjai Joseph
      • Mod
      • EXPERT
      7 months ago Link

      Press and hold Volume Up, Home and Power buttons simultaneously.

  • taher ahmed Mar 5, 2014 Link

    Nice post!