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How to Factory Reset an Android Smartphone or Tablet

Updated on September 17, 2018
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Kent is a blogger and freelance writer who enjoys sharing her knowledge about consumer tech. She plays mobile games on her free time.

Factory reset, also referred to as hard reset or master reset, restores a device to its factory settings. It's basically bringing it back to the state it was when you first turned it on. People often perform a master reset to wipe personal data and custom settings from a device they wish to dispose or sell. Another reason to do a factory reset is when you are experiencing software issues or when you can no longer unlock a device because of a forgotten and unrecoverable lock-screen password.

Before performing a hard reset on your Android phone or tablet, it is highly recommended that you create a backup copy of your data first. This includes your personal messages, contacts, call logs, photos, videos and other important files. By keeping a copy of your data, you can easily restore it later on.

Keep in mind that you have two options to consider when doing a factory reset. The first option is something that you can easily do via device settings while the second option is ideal for recovery since you can do it even while your phone is locked.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Performing factory reset via device settings

The easiest way to perform a master reset on your Android phone or tablet is via device settings. With your device unlocked, simply go to your device settings and look for the "backup and reset" option. The exact location of this option may vary per device, but you can usually find it at the bottom of the settings page.

Once you've found the "backup and reset" option, tap on it and select "factory data reset." You will be prompted to confirm your action by scrolling on the bottom of the page and hitting the button that says "reset".

It may take a while for your device to reset. It also may take a couple of reboots so be patient. Don't try to interrupt the process and simply wait until it gets done. You'll know if your device has been successfully reset because it will display the welcome screen.

Performing factory reset when phone is locked

You can do a master reset or hard reset of your Android device while your phone is locked. Unlike the first option, this process will require you to switch your device to recovery mode. This option often comes in handy when you can no longer access your device because of a forgotten or unrecoverable lock screen password.

To do this, you must first boot your phone or tablet to recovery mode by simultaneously long-pressing the volume down key and power button for at least three to five seconds. If successful, you should be seeing the recovery menu. Do note that the options presented on the recovery menu will vary per device.

Once you see the recovery menu, use the volume up and down keys to scroll through it. Use the power button to select "wipe data/factory reset". When prompted, select "erase all data" using the volume keys and power button. Doing so will reset your device to its clean state just like when you first took it out of the box.

If during this process your device freezes, hold the power button to restart it. You may need to repeat the entire process if the hard reset fails.

So there you have it! Now that you've learned how to perform a factory reset, you can finally wipe off the data on your device. Once you've restored its factory settings, you can finally do whatever you want with it without worrying that it will compromise your personal information.

© 2018 Kent Peligrino

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