Factory reset

Did the 4.2.2 update for your Verizon Galaxy Nexus cause horrible battery life? You're not alone, and a reset may just fix you up.

Now that the Verizon version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus finally got the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update, there's a number of folks out there with some serious complaints about battery life. If you're one of the unlucky folks affected, you know exactly what I mean. If not, a quick look across the Internet will get you up to speed about the troubles these folks are having. Make no mistake, it's a real issue.

Now you'll need to keep in mind that the Verizon Nexus is one of those early LTE devices that will never have stellar battery life, but plenty of folks have found a way to get back to where they were before the OTA (in regards to battery life). Their secret? A factory reset. It's something that nobody ever likes doing, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just do it. We'll discuss why, and talk about how it's done after the break.

More: Android Central Forums

Why do I need to factory reset?

Old data

Let's pretend that your phone has Android version 1 running on it. This is a hypothetical number, and has nothing to do with any real version, but we're going to use it because it's a simple, easy to read numbering system. You're happily rolling along, running version 1, and your phone is creating data. This data gets saved -- sometimes forever, sometimes it's just cached. The important thing to remember is that you have a bunch of data that Android version 1 uses to operate. 

Monday, you got a notice to update to Android version 2. It's all new and exciting, and you've been waiting for it for a while. So you do it. What you're downloading will overwrite all your system files and Google applications with version 2, but it won't touch the data version 1 created.

When it restarts, you have a brand new system using version 2, using data created by version 1. Most times, this is fine. Other times, it causes issues. This depends on the data itself, what it is doing, and how much the structure has changed from version 1 to version 2. It's not bad coding, or bad apps, though sometimes those happen, too. It's the way things may have been moved in database tables, or new entries that get created incorrectly, or old data that gets moved to the wrong place. It happens.

If you do the whole custom ROM thing, you know about wiping between flashes. If you don't, just know that the more things change in the system files, the higher the chance that your phone is going to act a little wonky using that old data. One of the things usually affected is battery life. As a general rule, the bigger the changes to the OS, the higher the likelihood that things can go wonky.  In this case we're talking Android, but you'll find the same issues on iOS, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and any other advanced operating system. And the bump to 4.2.2 was a pretty big change.

Protip: If you're an advanced user, you can possibly get away with seeing just what is killing your battery and manually clearing that data and cached data. This is hit or miss, but the option is there. 

How to factory reset?

Factory reset

It's pretty straightforward. The first thing you'll want to do is back up anything you want to keep from your internal storage. This includes pictures, movies, music, and any personal documents. Just plug your phone into a computer (or use a wireless transfer application, like Airdroid or Wifi File Transfer) and copy the files you want to keep to a folder on your desktop. Once you're sure you have everything backed up, delete everything else. You don't want any errant data left on the internal storage to influence your newly wiped system when you reboot. Don't worry about the folders, Android will recreate what it needs.

If you have a custom recovery, boot into it and choose the factory reset option. You've likely done this before.

If you phone is stock, go into Settings > Backup & reset. You'll see a menu item that says "Factory data reset; Erase all data on phone". Tap it. That takes you to a warning screen reminding you that you'll lose everything, including all the data you've accumulated for accounts you're logged into. That's exactly what we want to happen. Tap the Reset phone button at the bottom, and wait.

When your phone reboots, go through the sign in process again. Apps may or may not begin to download, depending on your backup and restore settings. That's OK, let them install and let things settle down and get synced. Then copy the files you backed up back to the phone. 

Hopefully, this will fix the battery life issues you've been seeing. As always, if you have questions or want to share your experiences, jump into the forums!


Reader comments

Getting bad battery life from 4.2.2 on your Verizon Nexus? Try a factory reset


Sadly, this is one of the worst purchases I've ever made. Bought this for my girlfriend because I figured a Google phone would be a can't miss. I should have read some reviews and paid the extra $50 for the S3 instead.

When it comes to updates, I trust Google fairly well, but the moment you start adding middlemen, all bets are off.

I completely agree. There is a big difference between the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and the unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The Verizon GNex version, all of the updates have to go through Verizon first and that takes months to handle if they care too. But for the GNex that you order through the Google Play Store, those same updates comes rather quickly in weeks. With the unlocked GNex, there is no middleman or no carrier to get involved. I wish Google would make an unlocked Verizon Nexus Smartphone that can be used on CDMA and GSM networks like the Verizon iPhone 5 can. Of course that's why I have the GNex that you buy from the Play Store.

You can't make an unlocked CDMA smartphone, CDMA is closed in nature and requires closed-files. GSM was made to be open, solve fragmentation and allow freedom.

The first "Pure Google" phone I tried....and it sucked @ss...Horrible reception. Bought an S3, and it was solved. Loved the Galaxy as far as Android...hated it as far as signal.

Errr...my girlfriend has the unlocked galaxy nexus and she uses it on att. She has never had an issue with it.

IHave the nexus 4 on tmobile and I also have no issues. Ever think it might be Verizon's version of the nexus that just blows?

Ever thought Verizon maybe isn't building the updates and is only testing what Google sends them? Verizon isn't getting a good version of Android and deciding to reduce the battery life before sending us the update.

The problem is the first generation LTE chip plain and simple, trust me I had a thunderbolt and then later a rezound and my friend has the samsung charge. All of those early phones had awful battery life. the GSM galaxy nexus was better because it relied on plain old hspa+ which is a much more mature chipset.

You can't believe that when the only thing that changes is the proprietary crap Verizon adds, that it's actually Google's fault for not adding it nicely enough, can you?

I have to agree. I mean, it's all relative; compared to a lot of phones out there it's a great phone, but for what you expect from a nexus phone, it has been pretty ass... I also get terrible reception, terrible battery life, randomly resets since the first update. Camera kind of sucks too...

Will definitely be replacing it this year.

A BB battery pull is a lot easier to do and takes a lot less time to recover from :-)

Tempted to do this on the Nexus 4 to see if it will help with its bad battery life.

I've decided to wait for CyanogenMod 10.1 stable, or the S4, which ever comes first. I love your coverage, Verizon, but your treatment of this phone has led me to never trust you with a Nexus device again.

wow at the negative posts... I've had zero issues with mine or my wife's. Thank you cellphone gods!!

I haven't asked her... but my battery life has been the same AFAIK before the update.

But, thanks for the tip. Will keep it in mind if I do notice anything.

With the 2100 mAh, it's ok -- not good, but acceptable. From what I've read online, nothing can fix that. The difference made by some kernel level magic, or voltage tweaking can't overcome the biggest battery eater of this phone -- the display. Leave the display off, I could tether my Nexus 7 to my GNex for the whole day w/o any problems. Turn it on and read some websites? 30% of battery life would be gone within an hour, even when the brightness is at its lowest level.

Seriously though.. This!
Why have we not gotten to the point of cloud game saves in mobile games? Then you could have the same progress across multiple devices...

Thanks for the post brother! I for one have been having no issues with the battery. I'm constantly using my phone for work, while at work, and sometimes for work, even when I'm home, along with my personal life stuff. So it's a given that the battery will eventually die depending on use. So hopefully those that are having issues, take Jerry's advise cos he's a Jedi, and he knows what he's talking about, instead of being critical of his article or the GN. It's a great phone, for the pure fact that it's 1 year old hardware running the latest from Google, where a large majority of the newer devices don't even run the latest software.

Just my $0.02

I was having serious battery issues on my GNex with 4.2.2. Saw elsewhere that the latest HD Widgets update might be causing it. Sure enough, uninstalled and problem went away. Worth a try before a factory reset...

I got a message to update my phone to 4.2.2 and i clicked ok. The phone turned off and froze. No android with his stomach opened like a door. I had to do a battery pull like 15 minutes latter and it booted up. I am not on 4.2.2 and I havent got the notification again. I've checked for 3 days after this in settings/system updates, but no sign of it. What the hell happened? I hate Verizons update process. How can I fix this?

Probably resetting the system data. Can't remember the exact way to do it, but you can clear data on one of the system apps and force it to return the update.

Or, you can boot into factory recovery and you might be able to run the update. Zip file, but that for could be corrupt.

3rd way, factory reset

Not on Verizons update but I got a Verizon GNexus running CM 10.1 M2. I got the battery problem licked. Try this: JRummy ROM Toolbox. Its got something called Auto Start Manager for just $1.50. Uncheck all useless, non-system receivers in the Boot Complete category. Reboot. Your Golden. My battery life doubled. Got 9 hours 10 min today on heavy usage and 4G. I got a screenshot but how do I attach it here?

ugh. so now instead of lasting 2 hours it will only last an hour? wow. glad i'm on the maxx now.

The Razr Maxx's battery is only 1/3 bigger than the Galaxy Nexus. So by your logic, your phone must last 3 hours.

Also, the Galaxy Nexus has a removable battery.

I0I I miss my GNex but at least I have a Nexus 7. The Razr Maxx HD was the best cell phone purchase I have ever made. It is boring but works well and lasts.

About half the phones where I work had issues with the update. All are running Exchange email and deleting the account and re-entering it has fixed a lot of the phones. If you look at the battery section under settings you will probably see "Exchange" at the top eating up the battery. Worth checking if you use an Exchange email account.

I play ingress pretty heavily, so I now have absolutely no idea what kind of battery life my gnex would be getting with normal use...

No problem with the update for me. Battery life doesn't seem noticeably different. It's a lot better than the original Droid Razr I had before the GNex. The building where I work is a cellular signal black hole, and the Razr would try so hard to lock onto a signal that it would kill the battery in <6 hours of mostly standby. The GNex in comparison maybe doesn't hold onto a signal quite as well bt it also doesn't die so damned quickly.

My Verizon GNex got the 4.2.2 OTA late last Friday night and it installed without any problems. The next day I did a factory reset, which is something I'd been planning to do anyway simply because I hadn't reset since getting the phone in December 2011. My battery life with 4.2.2 is noticeably improved. I installed the same set of apps that I used prior to the reset with the exception of some games that I never played anymore. I opted to not restore app settings from the Google backup so that everything would start fresh. With no significant change in my usage pattern I literally have 20%-25% more battery life remaining at the end of the day than I did prior to the update using stock 4.1.1. I'm very pleased with the update. I do wish AT&T had usable coverage at my house so I wouldn't be so reliant on Verizon's network, but it is what it is.

I'm laughing at people who buy a nexus and choose to wait on vzw for any update. I use the OEM extended battery and can go up to 24 hours w/o charge. You don't buy a nexus and not utilize the 3rd party ROM support.


My battery life has only improved with the 4.2.2 update. Not sure why everyone is hating on Verizon. At the time, they were the only ones to take on the "pure Google" phone and their network is rock solid, which should be their focus anyway. Oh yeah, they put out the 4.2.2 update just a couple months after Google released it. It's a huge update so there's bound to be issues regardless of your carrier.

Never had a problem after an update with my Verizon Galaxy Nexus until this last update. I found that Google maps was consuming the battery even though I had not used the app. Unistalled it, turned the phone off and rebooted. Maps was automatically reinstalled to the phone and no problem after this.

In fact the battery life seems to be even better with this update.


Since I have the backup option selected on my phone I think the need to do a factory reset after an upgrade should be taken care of as part of the system upgrade process. If the problem is the app data stored why can't Google clear this space as part of the update process. If the problem is data stored in memory as the app is running clear that out of memory during the update. That way little old laddies and little bitty guys like me wouldn't have to worry about it.

Thanks for making this post Jerry because we need to know how to do a reset. It's just in this time and day Google should be taking care of the problems that cause this need in the first place.

If an FDR after upgrade bothers you or causes you to throw F bombs in the wrong direction, a Nexus just isn't for you. Send it here, I'll take it.

First off. The 4.2.2 radios are amazing. I'm getting stronger LTE signal in places I never have.

Second. To all those salty about vzw updates. Learn how to use your nexus. Don't buy a developer phone and keep it stock. Also, don't complain when the GN is the most updated phone on the network, despite the delays.

Hi, I have a general question, if I ever need to flash my phone with the 4.2.2 image downloaded from the google site do I need to flash the individual Binaries also on the google site or does the Factory images contain them?

I recently received the OTA 4.2.2 update, my phone has always been stock and have also performed a factory reset yesterday and it seems my battery life is much better.

Oh almost forgot I have the Verizon Galaxy Nexus which I purchased the 1st day it was released.

I dont know wether if its the same issue or not...

1) last week my phone suddently switched off and i didnt know how to turn it on again, so i checked a forum and i read i had to press down volume and the ON/OFF button for a while so it would return to life.

2) The whole week my battery drained that quick that it didnt even last 7 / 8 hours a day... even tho i wasnt using it at all...

its very annoying to spend 350 E for a cell phone and finding this out...

What shall I do? Do a Factory reset as described here? Sorry I just dont know much about cell phones