Share this Story

How to: Factory Reset Your Phone [Beginners’ Guide]


Whatever the circumstances may be, sometimes we need to wipe our phones of all of their content. Maybe you are getting ready to sell it through eBay or Craigslist, and whoever is buying your phone certainly doesn’t need to see all of your stuff on their new phone. So, how do you factory reset an Android device? This guide will serve as a brief look into how to rid your phone of all of your personal pictures, documents, contacts, and more with the help of the built in reset option that Android offers.

Let’s get to it.


1.  Open the Settings menu on your device.
2.  Under the Personal category, select “Backup & Reset.”
3.  At the bottom, you will see “Factory data reset.”

Note: If you select to factory wipe your device, all info will be wiped including contacts (unless they’re sync’d to your Google account), pictures, documents, and everything else. It returns the device to as it was when you just opened the box.

4.  After selecting Factory data reset, the device asks to make sure this is the task you want to perform. If yes, hit, “Reset phone.”

Once hit, the device boots into recovery and wipes it clean. After it is done, it will reboot and your device will act as if it is brand new with all of its content gone. At this point, you can go ahead and do what you will with the device with no worries of anyone seeing those pictures you took in Vegas.

Factory Reset

It wouldn’t be Android if there wasn’t at least a few ways of doing things. For anyone running a manufacturer’s skin atop their Android OS, things sometimes look different. Also, depending on which version of Android you are running, the Reset option could be under a subcategory in the Settings menu. For example, for users on Gingerbread, the option to factory reset a device is under the “Privacy” settings menu. The above image is how you find this option using Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, which is almost identical to stock Android in terms of location.

Presented by Norton 360™ Multi-Device. Protect your new computers, smartphones, and tablets with Norton 360™  Multi-Device.

  • carlitosf ers ssf

    will this erease my phone number

  • lost

    My playstore doesn’t work afther I reset my galaxy s 3?

  • danofiveo

    In order to be a bit more secure, I encrypt first, then perform a factory data reset. Of course, it should already be encrypted, but I like using the pattern unlock. In order to encrypt you need to use pin or password.

  • zulu208

    so when vzw release 4.2.2 w/ the new radio. I would factory reset my device as mentioned in this article, get back to the default OS, upgrade to 4.2.2. Do I again need to reroot my phone to put on custom roms?

    I like to get rid of all the extra /sdcard/0/0 sub folders. Would like to have just one nice /sdcard/0 instead of /sdcard/0/0

    • benjewman

      This I screwed up my phone and made a partition and the only way to fix it I’d complete factory reset. I thought I did it in recovery but nope so do I have to reunlock and reroot?

  • I’m currently on Bugless Beast’s JRO03C build and I was looking to flash the JDQ39 zip that DL posted yesterday. The instructions said that I need to have the JRO03O build though, so I was planning to flash the factory image this weekend. Would I just be better off doing a factory reset (after backing up my stuff like photos) so I start fresh and then flash the JDQ39 zip?

  • InyRules

    Just had to do this since my Note 2 was getting some funky stuff on the some screen whenever I unlocked the lock screen. All is well now.

  • CaptM

    If you have upgraded the OS, does this revert back to the original version of the OS that the phone shipped with, or will it be the newer version?

    • Justin Kos

      Just wipes the /data and /cache afaik

  • Forgive me for this question, because I have never used the actual Reset option before. Is this essentially the same as wiping data through CWM and TWRP? I’ve never had a non-rooted and unlocked android for more than a few days.

    • JoshGroff

      As far as I know, it’s the same.

  • Does this wipe the SD Card?

    • Mat Collins


    • yodatom10

      yes and no. If the sd card is virtual like a nexus device then it wipes it. If the Sd card is physcial and can be removed like on the gs3 then the sd card wont be touched unless you format it

      • DanSan

        best bet, just remove the SD card which has all your stuff on it and u know u wont have anything to worry about. then factory restore it.

      • Thank you.