This is a complete guide with some tips for you to perform what is called a "factory reset" if you'll get rid of your Android phone, or just start with a clean slate. No matter you are using an Android smartphone like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony, Huawei, or an iPhone, you can find a solution to do the factory reset.
Part I. What is a factory reset?
Factory reset means that the cell phone is back to original factory default status before it leaves manufactured factory. Performing a factory reset for a cell phone removes all information added to the device and resets all the settings back to factory default. Because the Factory Reset is so thorough in removing everything from the phone, it can be the best method to use when trying to resolve problems and issues on cell phones.
Part II. When do you need a factory reset for a mobile phone?
For an ideal expectation, your mobile phone would run as well as the first moment you got it in your hand. However, in the real life, the phone won’t always work with robust performance as prediction. There are some situations that you want to reset your smartphone to factory setting:
I. After a long time usage, the phone runs more and more slowly, installing many apps and more and more invisible rubbish, then a reminder pops up to tell you that there is no more storage for additional apps or images.
II. When you forget the password pattern and can’t log in and use your phone, you can remove the password pattern by resetting the phone to factory defaults.
III. Before you sell your phone, you need to reset it to factory resetting so that all the privacy data in your phone won’t reveal to others. Tips: to make sure that nobody could recover your data via recovery software or app, you can add something unimportant to overlay your privacy data.
Besides the three most common cases list above, there are some other functional crashes or unknown problems that requires you to do a factory reset. But you have to be careful about what results you will get after doing a factory reset.
Part III. What gets deleted during a factory reset?
As factory reset is to reset cell phone back to original factory default settings, it is absolutely true that you will lost the settings and something added to the cell phone during the usage till now. What gets deleted during a factory reset?
1) Personal contacts. Any contacts information saved to the cell phone will be erased. Luckily Android smartphones create a backup contact list to the primary Gmail account associated with the phone and contacts are often automatically backed up online by default.
2) Text message. All text message threads, both sent and received will be deleted when performing a factory reset.
3) Pictures. All the pictures taken with the cell phone camera or saved to the phone storage will be wiped out after doing a factory reset.
4) Music, video and audio files. Any music that you have downloaded to your phones storage or have uploaded from a computer will be erased from the phones. Videos and audio files that you have downloaded or uploaded from third party apps installed later will be also deleted when doing a factory reset.
5) Apps. It depends. Apps that preinstalled in a cell phone and came with your Android phone will remain on your smartphone as clean and fresh installs with their default settings. But other third party applications that did not originally come on the phone and installed later, such as apps from Google Play Store or Apple App Store, will be erased from the phone.
Although the factory reset will delete a lot of data from a cell phone, it does not affect the software and Operating System (OS), it will not technically reset the software back to original version that it was released with.
So, please do remember to backup your data before you reset the phone to factory defaults. And you can make a backup as below steps show.
Part IV. How to backup user data before a mobile phone factory reset?
Most people use iPhone or an Android smartphone, so this article mainly talk about tips and guide on how to make a backup and factory reset for iPhone and Android phone, Windows phone is not in the list. Let's get to the point.
Case 1: Backup iPhone user data. There are two ways to backup iPhone data: with iCloud or iTunes.
- Backup with iCloud.
i) Step 1, connect your iPhone to a Wifi network
ii) Step 2, for iOS 8 or later, tap Settings > iCloud > Backup; for iOS 7 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
iii) Step 3, Turn on iCloud Backup if you haven’t done this before.
iv) Step 4, tap Back Up Now to start the process. Make sure your iPhone stay connected to the Wifi network before the process complete.
v) Step 5, make sure the backup finished by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, and then select your device. The backup you just made should appear in the details with the time and backup size.
After you’ve turned on iCloud Backup, iCloud can automatically back up your device each day.
- Backup with iTunes.
i) Step 1, Open iTunes and connect your device to your computer.
ii) Step 2, Save content that you downloaded from the iTunes Store or App Store by clicking File > Devices > Transfer Purchases. Then wait for the transfer to finish. If you're using Windows and you don't see a File menu, hold down the Control and B keys.
iii) Step 3, If you want to save Health and Activity data from your iOS device or Apple Watch, you’ll need to encrypt your backup: Select the box called Encrypt [device] backup and make a memorable password.
Write down your password and store it somewhere safe, because there's no way to recover your iTunes backups without this password.
If you don't need to save your Health and Activity data, you can make a backup that isn't encrypted. Just click Back Up Now. If you're using Windows click File > Devices > Back up (if you don't see a File menu, hold down the Control and B keys).
iv) Step 4, after the process ends, you can see if your backup finished successfully in iTunes Preferences > Devices. You should see the name of your device with the date and time that iTunes created the backup. If you encrypted your backup, you should also see beside the name of your device.
Case 2: Backup Android phone user data. Most Android phone manufacturers have built in the backup and reset function in the phones, to allow you to backup user data and reset the phone to factory settings in several steps:
i) Step 1, find the Backup & reset in your phone Settings.
ii) Step 2, after tapping the Backup & reset option, you will see a list of backup & reset options: back up user data, backup account and automatic restore if you turn on this option.
iii) Step 3, at the very bottom of the menu is where you will find the reset option - Factory data reset, which will erases all data on phone.
After making a backup of contacts from phone to an online web cloud or hard copy, you can start a factory reset.
Part V. How to operate a factory reset for your smartphones?
- For iPhone users:
It is easy to perform a factory reset for iPhone users, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
- For Android smartphone users:
It is much easier to restore an Android phone to factory reset, and this function is provided by most Android smartphone manufacturers, come with backup data features so that you can firstly make a backup for your personal data before resetting.