How to Factory Reset your Android and start over

Don’t you wonder what would life be like if we have a reset option? Well this guide is not about life but it does come close. This article is about how you can factory reset your Android device and make it just like the day it was purchased.

Android’s strongest point is its Google Play app store. There are literally thousands of epic apps and games which you can download and enjoy. The worst thing is that many of the awesome apps are completely free. I recently bought a 64 GB SD card because the 32 GB internal memory was filled to the brim with apps and games.

Unfortunately there comes a time when your Android gets bogged down by some apps. You could use the app killers for Android but those are kind of hard to use, especially if you have a ton of apps to kill. Thankfully Google knows that when such a time arrives, you should be able to wipe the slate clean and start over.

This option of deleting everything from the device and starting fresh is called factory reset. It’s called that because the device is returned to the form when it was freshly baked in the factory.

Naturally when you get a new device there is absolutely nothing on it. Well apart from the ugly bloatware from your manufacturer and essential apps from Google there is nothing else on it. This how to factory reset your Android device guide will completely wipe the traces of usage from your phone. On some phones your pictures and data might also be lost but in most cases it remains on the phone.

I would recommend that you back up important data before embarking on the how to factory reset your Android device guide. I would also suggest keeping the files on your PC for better protection and safekeeping.

Go to Settings

Go to the app drawer and locate the settings icon. Tap on that to enter your device settings. It will look something like this.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

From that screen, click on the General tab. You will be able to see options like these. The options will vary from device to device but generally they are placed at the same place. OEMs (Original Electronic Manufacturers) like to put their own personal skin on top of stock Android so your device might have a slightly different layout.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

The Real Work

Now locate the option called Backup and Reset. Tap on it to access further options.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

Now you can see that Factory Data reset option. You know what to do right? Click on it like usual.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

The device will give you information about what will be deleted from your phone. I highly recommend that you re-read all that data. This way if you are missing something it will be reminded.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

From there you can simply click on the Reset Device button. The device will take a few minutes to sort things out and factory reset your Android operating system. Keep in mind that the device might reboot after the wipe, so do not panic.

Wipe External SD Card

If you want you can go back to the general tab in the settings and locate Storage.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

This feature allows you to see what is on your device and what is taking up all that space. Scroll down to find the Format SD Card option.

How to Factory Reset Your Android

Click on it and everything will be wiped from your SD card as well.


Now you will have a completely fresh Android at your disposal. If the hardware is working perfect, the device will seem just like it was taken out of the box. If you faced crashes or suspicious data usage, it will be gone now. I highly recommend that you use this built-in feature of Android before selling off your Android device. It is highly important that you do not keep any sensitive data on your Android device if you are aiming to sell it soon. If you have any questions or problems about this short guide, feel free to type them in the comments below.


Comments (32)

  1. Ola Ohlson on

    3 months ago I purchased a Sony Xperia X2. I liked it. It came with Android 4.4.4.
    It had a tremendous battery power and speed.
    About two weeks ago the update to Android Lollipop 5.0 arrived.
    I installed it. And I HATE it!!!
    The phone battery lasts 30-40% shorter.
    The phone is slower. The mail program went lousy. I can no longer zoom in the web browser. And so on and on and on…

    I would make a factory reset tomorrow if I would get my Kit Kat 4.4.4 back.
    But everyone says I will only get Lollipop back with a clean phone.
    I don’t want to make a factory reset if I only lose my data.
    I want my original operating system back.
    It’s a shame you don’t mention this in your article.
    So tell me now: Will I get my KitKat back with a factory reset or only this f****ng Lollipop thing? /Very very sad Xperia owner.

    • Billa on

      Ola Ola!

      Sorry for the confusion, the factory reset will not downgrade the OS. Your phone will remain with Android 5.0. However if you are aware of rooting and installing custom ROMs you can get the previous version back but that is a rather long process. Tell me is your phone still in warranty? Sony really messed things up with their version of Lollipop. My dad’s Xperia Z3 also became utterly useless after it so I installed Kit Kat back πŸ™‚

  2. Jay on

    Will this also revert back to the glory days before the lollipop update?

  3. rodney on

    I have a Samsung Galaxy s5 and I got the update to the 5.0 and the update sick big time if I do this factory reset will the update be romoved?

    • Billa on


      No man, you will still be with Android lollipop unfortunately. Judging by the sheer number of people angry about Lollipop, I should make a rooting and installing custom ROM guide soon.

  4. Daniel on

    I have a Galaxy Note 3. I used odem I believe to unlock my wifi hotspot feature. I know have app that does it with needing to root the phone. I am running 4.3 Android. Sprint has finally giving the software updates for Android, but it will not give it to me because it can tell I do not have factory Android. Please tell me how to get it back to factory or what do you think I should do? Thanks

    • Billa on

      Did you root the smartphone? If yes did you bypass the Knox protection? I’m afraid there is no way to go back to stock Android if you have ignored the protection. However you can flash the new update using ODIN too πŸ™‚ Simply download the new update and flash it like you did before. I will try to write a full guide for this as I also have the same Galaxy Note 3 smartphone (international version) and I flashed Android 5.0 a month back.

  5. Sacristan Torres on

    Related to this, I bought my HTC one m7 from a hong Kong distributor. The language after reset is Chinese, which I don’t speak or read. Any idea what I could do so that I can change to English ideally before or after reset?

    • Billa on


      Usually after a reset, Android will ask you which language you want to set. Its a simple list which you can scroll up and down to select your preferred language. In case the menus are in Chinese, look for a line like this “英语” it means English πŸ™‚

  6. David Schindler on

    I already have Easy Backup, so that was an easy choice to ruin a backup. When I go for the reset process, the n box is checked for ‘Back up My Data’, which it says goes to a Google server. Do I need both, and does the info restore automatically from the Google server?

    • Billa on

      Hi David,

      Its better to have two backups. Google only stores contacts and light information automatically. Although pictures and videos can be saved by using Google+. And yes your information and contacts will automatically restore when you login your account after factory reset.

  7. Denise Tondreault Bizzaro on

    What about the apps I have purchased? Can I reinstall them or will I need to purchase them again?

    • Billa on

      Hi Denise,

      Any apps you purchase are bound to your Google account. Simply login your Google account which you are using right now after factory reset and the apps will automatically start downloading πŸ™‚

  8. razeil on

    U could make the post comprehensive. Also. Doing a reset does not guarantee data will be not recoverable after some one buy a the phone.

  9. George on

    wants to know my confirmation pin number I don’t what that is

    • Billa on

      Do you have custom recovery or installed a ROM? Then I suggest you only factory reset from the settings and not recovery menu (this method is not listed here though). It will not unroot your device πŸ™‚

  10. Luella on

    Uplink is the nextt best hacking simulation game after
    Hacker, with mode variations, tkols and gadgets. Well, if you want tto start playing before the time is up,
    you will find that there are three different jobs that you can chooose from.
    Blizzard is changing quite a bit with Diablo 3, but I believe they’ll be great improvements.

  11. Keith on

    If I reset via phone factory option do I lose my address book?

    • Billa on


      Yes you will lose all contacts in your address book. But if you have enabled contact backup on your Google account, the device will automatically download them once you login after the reset.

  12. sunglasses on

    This really answered my problem, thanks!here on this post. I might be coming back to your blog for more soon.

    • Judy on

      Hi There,
      You are most welcome for the information and I am glad to hear that we were able to help. Please feel free to come back and to share your positive experience in your social media accounts. Thanks for commenting! =-)

  13. Nick Danger on

    Looking for an easy step-by-step guide to update the operating system for my Samsung Galaxy Tab4 Nook, SM-T230NYKAXAR tablet. It is currently KitKat (4.4). I’d like to take it to Marshmallow. Can you help?

    • Judy on

      Hi Nick,
      We don’t have one right now but we will be more than happy to put one together for you. Please stay tuned to see your step by step guide. Thanks for commenting. =-)

    • Judy on

      Hi Celine,
      The first thing you need to do is boot into safe mode and once you in it, go to Settings>Apps>Apps Manager and look for any suspicious looking apps or the apps you installed right before your phone started showing symptoms of malware. Please let me know how this works out for you. =-)

  14. Tim on

    Hi JOA Team,
    I have an LG4 android with an unresponsive screen. All it shows is “LG powered by Android” with a black background. I’ve tried ejecting the battery-no joy, pushing/holding the volume down button + power on/off key and selecting safe-mode- no joy, pushing/holding the volume down button + power on/off key and selecting factory reset- nothing (tried that twice). It just reverts to showing “LG powered by Android” with a black background. Before I thought I had downloaded something bad and decided to add the McAfee app to my phone,, it was working. Yeah, I know I lost everything prior to performing the factory reset as I could not backup ANYTHING. But before I go to a Verizon store and “raise hell”, any thoughts of what might work for somebody else? Thanks

  15. Dave on

    Hi, i forgot my password but i cant factory reset my Android kitkat 4.4 Quadcore please help me.

    • Trevor on

      What have you tried so far? Do you not know what your Google Account password is? You can try these options to reset your password. Some people have had poor luck with the Android Device Manager, though. It sets a new password and some have reported having to master reset their phone.

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