How To Hard Reset an Android Phone

android2-logoIf you have an Android phone you may at some point want to hard reset, or completely wipe out the phone to start from scratch.

Why would you want to reset? Well, you may want to start again with a fresh install or are having a problem with an installed app. You may have bought the phone from someone or all selling it. Sometimes it’s just nice to start all over. :)

When I got this LG Eve phone for review it had already been used by another writer who didn’t bother to (or didn’t know how to) reset the phone. As a result, I could have read her email, chatted with her friend, used her twitter account and so much more. Doh! Well, I didn’t do any of that, just set out to find out how to reset it to start fresh.

Those that have been Windows Mobile users may be looking for some kind of hardware key combination to hard reset the device, but it’s actually built into the OS. It’s just a little bit buried and took me a bit to find it.

Steps to hard reset Android:

1. Go to “Setting”.
2. Select “SD card & phone storage”.
3. Select “Factory data reset” which should be the last option.
4. Press the “Reset Phone” button.

Now you just wait for the phone to restart and you are all set to go. Ta da!

BTW, in case there is any confusion about this; this will wipe out everything from your phone. You should back up all information before going ahead with this. It won’t wipe out the information you have on services such as Gmail, or Google Calendar, contacts and such. As soon as you log in with your freshly reset phone you will have all your information back on your phone.

Post any questions in the comments here and we will help you out.

About Darren Humphries

Darren Humphries has written 78 posts on Mobile Jaw..

Editor, Microsoft MVP (Windows Mobile)

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  • ashley

    I go to the SD and phone storage setting and I don’t have the option To format factor reset option? Any ideas

  • Darren Humphries

    What phone do you have?

  • Adam

    I have the same problem. I tried to reset my phone after the initial playing with period and there is no option for a factory reset. I have formatted my memory card. I have a Samsung Epic 4G running 2.1-update1 from Sprint. I was able to do a factory reset once before. I had to reset because I installed some application that was very malicious… Now there is no option for a factory data reset.

  • Adam

    I was looking in the wrong place. It is not where you listed in my phone. The reset option is under “Settings/Privacy”

  • Darren Humphries

    Ya, changes have happened in each new version of Android. Glad you figured it out! :)

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  • kelly

    Isn’t what you’re refering to above as a “Hard Reset,” truely a, “Factory Data Reset?”
    I was told a Hard Rest was when you turn the phone off, then while off, you hold down the volume while simultaniosuly turning the phone back on, and then you’re given a menu.
    Kind of like when reformatting a computer. Much different.
    I wouldn’t know. My good friend does it on his droid all the time and claims it’s just like getting it out of the box (he’s one of those people who builds PC’s, etc.). Me on the other hand, I cannot get mine to do it, no matter what variation I try on my droid.
    I’ve also Done the reset you described 10 times now!
    Alas, I still get old applications I uninstalled, info I recycled off onto my pc, my sd card still has trash on it when I view it on the pc, new thumbnails are back,
    get this

    • Lorna

      You are correct on that assumption Kelly. The hard reset is where you hold the buttons you mention down until phone restarts. That is what you can do when you install an application that won’t let you start your phone back up as the reader below you lol. The other is the factory data reset.

  • Agrima

    Owhhh my God
    how to hard reset my android??
    whereas, my android has been locked and I can’t unlocked again..!!!!!!

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    Wow! i was looking for this information and i got your blog post. thanks a lot for the post. please keep blogging :)

  • jmlcarthewbay

    I have to do a factory reset each time I get an error code. The error code is a circle with a line through it. and it means that there is no connectivity to make or receive a call. This is terrible, what can I do to restore connectivity without doing a factory reset? Exactly what part of the firmware is being reset?

  • copeland lee

    Great for this. However, it is incredibly easy to get personal information from an android phone even had a factory reset.

    So if you want to sell your android phone, you must erase everything on it permanently to keep your personal data safety.

  • tman

    I have a GTel A7000 dual sim card,its say “too many patterns attempts” and I have to enter ma gmail account credentials and I have forgotten ma gmail account…how do I reset it…plz help anyone…