Why should you Factory Reset your smartphone?
We all use smartphones – whether it’s an Android smartphone or an iPhone.
Here is a graph of the number of Android and Apple users in some countries:
Figure 1 Apple or Android Nation – Source: StatCounter (Statista)
For the scope of this article, we will be focusing on Android OS, and particularly Samsung smartphones.
No matter which Android smartphone you have, most people are eagerly waiting to get new updates or OS versions as it adds more features, enhancements, and fixes bugs.
However, many people face a lot of issues after upgrading their phones to a new OS, especially when it is a major OS update. People face issues like app crashes, battery drain, lags, slow performance of the device, etc.
If the phone’s OS is upgraded to a new version, no issues should be present in this new OS, right? But this does not seem to be the case all the time.
That’s when ‘Factory Reset’ comes into the picture.
What is Factory Reset?
Factory Reset is a reset procedure for an electronic device that deletes all the data stored on the phone’s Internal partition and returns the device to its original state as if it is just purchased from a ‘factory’ (hence the name).
After Factory Reset, your phone should function a lot more smoothly and get rid of 99% of bugs.
When to Factory Reset your smartphone?
This is an argument that I would like to dig deep into. Most people suggest that Factory Reset should be seen only as a last resort. Like if your phone stops working normally or you want to hand over the phone to somebody.
While this is true to a certain extent, I think that after every major OS update a Factory Reset should be done.
Let me explain why -
Let us consider that you have received a notification on your phone to upgrade your software from Android OS version 11 to 12. You click on ‘update’, and the software starts downloading and gets installed.
After a few minutes, you check your phone and find that it is functioning normally. You forget about it and start using it as everyone would do.
But within 2-3 days, you find that your phone is behaving strangely. It may be –
a) App crashes.
b) UI is slow and lags often.
c) Network issues.
d) Battery drain.
e) Any other annoying issues.
And you keep thinking, “After the OS update, things should improve but they do not seem so! What is happening to my phone?”
This is where Factory (Hard) Reset can drastically improve performance and fix almost all the issues. I've personally noticed a lot of people asking on forums mentioning the above issues after the OS update.
Why Factory Reset your smartphone? And why is it best to do it after the Major OS update?
Factory Reset erases the complete data from your phone’s internal storage and reverts to the original state. It’s like an internal cleansing operation for your phone. It phases out 99% of issues and makes your phone extremely smooth.
The reason it is best to do this after every major OS update is that any leftover data chunks/cache/feature set of the previous OS is completely wiped, allowing the new OS to function a lot better.
As a result, there would be no chance of any settings or features conflicting with the new OS and the overall experience improves substantially.
Usually, new Major Android OS updates occur every year.
Recommendation – Factory Reset your Android smartphones after every
Major Android OS update.
(Like updating from Android 10 to 11, 11 to 12, so on…)
How to Factory Reset your smartphone?
Now, this is the main part that you all have been waiting for!
There are two ways -> one when the phone is ‘Power ON’ and the other when it is ‘Power OFF’.
The Power ON method is simply going into settings and choosing ‘Erase data and Factory Reset’ but I would not recommend this method because this may still cause issues.
The ‘Recovery Menu’ method is the only proper way to completely Factory Reset your smartphone.
The procedure that I’ve listed below applies to all Samsung smartphones. Scroll down to the Reset links for other brand smartphones.
I had posted the procedure a few days ago on the Samsung Members community, hence grabbing the points from there and tweaking a few of them:
Factory Reset procedure for Samsung smartphones –
**IMPORTANT POINTS (READ BEFORE RESET) –
** Make sure your phone is at least 60-70% charged for the safer side.
** Take necessary backup from Internal Storage, like Contacts, Messages, Apps, Home Screen layout, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth settings, etc. (Samsung Smart Switch app is best for this). Connect your phone to your PC/laptop and take the required backup. Make sure to keep this backup safe.
** After Reset, you’ll need to login into all the apps (great if you have saved login info on Samsung Pass or Google Smart Lock so it will be automatic and faster). Or just log out and log in again BEFORE Factory Reset so that you remember your username/passwords or reset it right away.
** You can also backup WhatsApp chats from WhatsApp settings (chats -> backup) just before Reset so that you have the latest messages till last time. WhatsApp-specific default media (images, videos, audio, documents, etc.) is located in Internal Storage -> Android -> media -> com.whatsapp-> WhatsApp -> Media.
** You can also backup Games data (If it's offline. No issues for online as it will sync from the cloud).
I think Samsung Smart Switch only backs up 'apps', not app data.
For Android apps’ data backup, just keep a copy of all the folders of your favorite installed games from the Android folder (obb, data) and paste it back again in the same folder layout after Reset.
** Also make sure you have Samsung backup codes just in case (you can generate them from Settings -> at the top Samsung profile security settings. You may need these to login into your Samsung account after Reset (if you have forgotten your password).
The actual ‘Reset’ process –
1. Power off your phone.
2. Make sure your phone is charging with a cable connected, otherwise, Recovery Menu won’t show up (this ‘cable mandate’ seems to be integrated after Android 10 as a safety feature.)
Hold Vol. Up and Power button. You can release the Power button when you see the boot screen (but keep holding Vol. Up button).
In case of a dedicated ‘Bixby’ button, you’ll need to press and hold it as well alongside Vol. Up + Power button.
(On Recovery Menu, Use Power button to Select and Vol. Up and Down to Navigate).
3. When Recovery Menu appears, first choose Wipe Cache.
4. Then Wipe Data / Factory Reset.
5. Then again, Wipe Cache.
6. Finally choose Reboot system now and you can remove the cable once the phone boots completely.
Setup initial stuff and let the phone settle down for some time (a lot of app updates will trigger, and the phone may heat, which is fine after Factory Reset.)
Things to do AFTER Factory Reset -
Connect your Samsung smartphone with the cable to your PC/laptop and using Samsung Smart Switch, restore all the data that was previously backed up.
Keep the battery within 15-85% do not let it drain down to 10%, 5%, or 0 as nowadays Li-ion batteries do not require such harsh treatment. Do not judge the battery life in 1st week, let it 'learn' from your usage patterns and put unwanted apps, and games to Deep Sleep from Battery settings.
Yes, this process will take some of your precious time but it is worth it. Hence preferable, to do it over a weekend.
Finally, enjoy a fresh & smooth experience with your new Android OS.
There will be no issues at all if you exactly follow the steps mentioned above but as the tradition goes and rarely things may go wrong IF you perform the wrong steps, here is a disclaimer:
DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Links to the actual process - Factory (Hard) Reset - other brand smartphones (you can of course check YouTube as well for the latest methods as per your phone model) –
The initial steps like backing up important data, remembering passwords, ensuring good battery percentage, etc. still apply before performing any kind of reset. But the actual steps of Reset differ depending on the brand.
Here are the links for Factory Reset of a few brands –
2) Google Pixel
Thus, Factory Reset is an important cleansing process for your Android smartphone of any brand and if done correctly, it can get rid of most bugs and make your phone extremely smooth.
It is recommended to do this process after every Major Android OS update which usually occurs once every year. It can offer you the best experience for a newly updated OS.
Make sure you take a backup of all the important stuff – contacts, messages, WhatsApp, internal phone data before proceeding with Factory Reset.
What are your thoughts on this brief article? When was the last time you Factory Reset your phone?
Please feel free to comment on the same and share any valuable information related to the topic.