Has your smartphone suddenly frozen or stopped responding? Most of the time, restarting your phone should fix the problem. However, in some more serious cases, you have to resort to a factory reset. This is also something you should do before selling your device to a new owner. Read on to find out how to do both a soft and a hard reset of your Android phone.
- How to restart your Android smartphone
- What does factory reset mean?
- How to factory reset your Android phone from the Settings menu
- How to factory reset Android in Recovery mode
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 give your phone a fresh start, and in theory, all your photos, apps and settings should be left intact. Here's how to do it:
- If your phone suddenly freezes, just hold down its power button for 30 seconds and it will restart itself.
Soft resetting your Android phone is just that simple! Yet, sometimes phones can continue having problems, so it might be necessary to do a factory reset - a more extreme measure that will wipe out all your data, but will usually fix more stubborn issues.
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.
Warning: this process will erase all the data from your device's internal storage, including personal files like photos. Be sure to back up all your phone's data beforehand. The way to do this differs a bit from device to device, but the most common path is:
- In the Settings menu, find Backup & reset, then tap Factory data reset and Reset phone.
- You'll be prompted to enter your pass code and then to Erase everything.
- Once that is done, select the option to reboot your phone.
- Then, you can restore your phone's data.
On HTCs, Google Pixels and some other devices you can find the factory reset option this way:
- Go to Settings and scroll all the way down to find System.
- Tap on System and find the Reset option.
- From the list, tap on Factory data reset.
- You will see a list of data which will be erased, along with signed in accounts and the Reset phone option on the bottom.
- Tap it and select Erase everything.
On a Samsung phone, the menu path is slightly different. Here is how you can factory reset a Samsung smartphone:
- Go to Settings, then General Management.
- From there, tap on Reset, which you can find at the bottom.
- You will see three options - Reset settings, Reset network settings and Factory data reset.
- Tap Factory Reset. You should then see a long list of accounts, apps, etc. which will be erased from your phone.
- If you've made up your mind, scroll to the bottom and tap Reset.
We must note, however, that if you are experiencing minor issues, the Reset settings or Reset network settings might be better options. The first one will return default settings for all system and manufacturer apps, except the security, language and account settings. However, personal data and settings of downloaded apps won't be affected.
The Reset network settings option will reset all settings for Wi-Fi, mobile data and Bluetooth. We advise you to have your Wi-Fi password saved or written down somewhere else before you do this.
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'.
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.
- Turn your phone off.
- Hold the Volume down button, and while doing so, also hold the Power button until the phone turns on.
- You'll see the word Start, then you should press Volume down until Recovery mode is highlighted.
- Now press the Power button to start recovery mode. You should see an Android robot now.
- 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.
- Press Volume down until Wipe data/factory reset is highlighted, then press the Power button to select it.
- Once that's done, press the Power button to select Reboot system now.
- 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.