How do I factory reset my Android phone?

There are a number of reasons why you might need to factory reset your Android phone. Maybe your phone is overloaded with apps and running slow, or you've downloaded a recent update and it's causing problems with your phone's functionality. Or maybe you want to reset to the factory settings because you're selling your phone (you should always do this when selling an old device, by the way).

Whatever the reason, here's how to factory reset your Android phone through the phone settings or from the bootloader if your phone is not properly booting up at all. Given how many different makes and models of Android devices there are, we'll be using the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Nexus 6P as our examples, though the process should be fairly similar across the board.

WARNING: Performing a factory reset will completely erase all your data off the phone. If you haven't backed up your contacts, pictures, videos, documents and anything else (preferably in the cloud, but absolutely somewhere else), you will be sorry you didn't do so. Consider yourself warned.

How to factory reset your phone from the settings menu

The easiest way to factory reset your phone is through the settings menu. The location of the factory reset option might vary slightly based on the exact phone you're using, but once you've found the "back up and reset" menu, you should be in the clear.

On a Nexus 6P

  1. Tap the Settings icon from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Swipe up to scroll down to the bottom of the settings menu.
  3. Tap Backup & reset.

    Tap the Settings icon from your home screen or app drawer. Swipe up to scroll down to the bottom of the settings menu. Tap Backup & reset.

  4. Tap Factory data reset.

  5. Tap Reset phone.
  6. Tap Erase everything.

    Tap Factory data reset. Tap Reset phone. Tap Erase everything.

Your phone will reboot and you'll have to go through the initial start up again before you're able to restore your data from wherever you backed it up.

On a Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. Tap the Settings icon from your home screen or app drawer
  2. Swipe up to scroll down to the bottom of the settings menu.
  3. Tap Backup and reset.
  4. Swipe up to scroll down

    In Settings, swipe up to scroll down to the bottom of the settings menu. Tap Backup and reset. Swipe up to **scroll down.

  5. Tap Factory data reset.

  6. Tap Reset phone.
  7. Tap Erase everything.

Tap Factory data reset. Tap Reset phone. Tap Erase everything.

Your phone will reboot and you'll have to go through the initial start up again before you're able to restore your data.

How to factory reset your phone with hardware buttons

If your phone is running into some issues and you're unable to boot it up properly, you're going to need to go into Android recovery mode. To do so, you'll typically need to start up your phone while holding down a Volume button and the Power button. The exact button combination will depend on the brand of phone you're using. From there, it's simply a matter of using the Volume buttons to scroll through the menu to find the factory reset option, then press the Power button to select.

On a Nexus 6P

  1. If your phone is on, power it off.
  2. Hold down the Power button and Volume down button. Instead of booting up normally, you'll see "Start" in an arrow pointed at the power button. Here you use the Volume buttons to scroll and the Power button to select an option
  3. Press the Volume down button until you've highlighted Recovery mode.
  4. Press the Power Button to start recovery mode.
  5. When your phone reloads, you should see a screen that says "No command" with an android robot in distress. Press and hold the power button, then press the volume up button once to load up the reboot menu.
  6. Using the Volume buttons to scroll through the menu, highlight Wipe data/factory reset.
  7. Press the Power button to select.
  8. Highlight and select Yes to confirm the reset.
  9. Once the reset is complete, you will be bounced back to the same recovery mode menu. Press the Power button to select Reboot system now.

Your phone will power on and be reset to its factory settings. The next time you turn the phone on, you will go through the initial setup process as if it were a brand new phone. Once set up, you can go about restoring your data from wherever you had it backed up.

On a Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. If your phone is on, power it off.
  2. Hold down the Power button, Volume up button, and Home button simultaneously. The phone will boot into recovery mode.
  3. Use the Volume buttons to scroll through the menu.
  4. Highlight Wipe data/factory reset.
  5. Press the Power button to select.
  6. Highlight and select Yes to confirm the reset.
  7. Once the reset is complete, you will be bounced back to the same recovery mode menu. Press the Power button to select Reboot system now.

Your phone will power on and be reset to its factory settings. The next time you turn the phone on, you will go through the initial setup process as if it were a brand new phone. Once set up, you can go about restoring your data from wherever you had it backed up.