Factor Reset

A factory reset is the ultimate cleansing of your Android device. It's usually either a last resort to fix a problem, done before you sell it, or because you like to flash ROMs. When you perform a factory reset you're essentially wiping out everything you've ever done to the phone and restoring it back to the basic manufacturer software. As we've mentioned before, it doesn't uninstall any software updates you've received from the folks who made your phone, but it does wipe out any core application updates you've grabbed from the Google Play store. The technical details are as follows:

  • /system is untouched, because it's normally read-only
  • /data is erased
  • /cache is erased
  • /sdcard is untouched

When your phone or tablet reboots, it's like it was when you opened the box as far as apps and user data goes, except for your data on the SD card partition (either a real, physical microSD card or a partition named sdcard). 

Doing a factory reset is easy -- open the settings, do a little digging (different manufacturers put it in different places, but start with privacy or storage), select it and confirm. Your device will reboot into the recovery partition, erase everything, they reboot into the setup again. One thing to note though -- if you've rooted and ROM'd in any way, you should never do a factory reset from settings. Often times it works just fine, but some devices and some ROMs are so different once hacked that you'll end up with a bricked phone. We hate bricked phones around these parts. Follow the instructions from the folks who developed the software you're running instead, and use the reset method they recommend. 

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There are 10 comments

Nice One X in that picture. Did you see what a factory reset has been doing to people's phones with Google Wallet installed? http://phandroid.com/2012/05/28/android-alert-enjoy-using-google-wallet-...

Be careful

joshua.worth says:

It sucks that you have to go back into your sd card and individually erase traces of old apps

can't you wipe the sd card partition?
I know when I sent back a device to Big Red I used Wug's toolkit and it wiped everything including my photos, etc. on the sd card.

cedros#AC says:

if my phone is root and i do a factory restore does i will be un-root?

graymulligan says:

Keep in mind that a factory reset will wipe your "sd card" partition on a G-nex, as it's onboard memory.

Davest says:

Yes...I learned that one the hard way. Doing a wipe in Rom Manager is safe, though...it leaves the sd card partition alone.

DWR_31 says:

Stock Evo 3D did a random reboot and got stuck in a infinite bootloop on Memorial Day. Tried everything to get it to stop. Ended up having to do a factory reset from the H-boot screen.

With the help of the PlayStore and a 50Gb Box account I got all my apps back, but I really really really miss all if those missing in-app-purchases I had.

Wasted money!

(If you were using apps-2-sd, your phone might tell you that your apps-ext is full. Just press OK and try again. Works really well from Setting > Manage Applications > Sdcard.)

cedros#AC says:

but my question is If i do a factory restore on my htc EVO 3D does all the stuff in it are restore like the day i bought the phone in a Rogers Store in canada. because i have a root phone with a custom rom and i forgot to did a backup i want to know if a do the recover does my phone will return to normal

DWR_31 says:

It might reset the rom, but then again depending on the rom, it brick your phone.

Look in the forums to see if anyone posted a backup of a rooted stock rom. I'd flash that and factory reboot from there.

rez1 says:

Hello i need to know, if i do a factory reset my International SGS2, will it return it to Android 2.3 Ginger Bread from my current 4.0.3 ICS with root that i updated using ODIN?