How to factory reset your Android phone or tablet

Resetting your phone or tablet to factory settings erases everything you added to the device, including personal data, text messages, installed apps, and files. It’s necessary if you plan to sell, trade, or recycle your Android smartphone, as it prevents the new owner from accessing your data. If you trade your current phone for one of the best-value Android phones, it’s a required step.

This guide walks you through how to perform a factory reset on any Android device. The instructions are similar between devices, but we include instructions for multiple devices due to the differences between operating systems. If you don’t see yours on this list, follow the Google Pixel steps to perform a factory reset.

A factory reset can fix software issues, but it isn’t always necessary. To perform a soft reset, restart your Android phone (press the volume up and power buttons at the same time), as this may solve your issue.

How to back up your data before a factory reset

Regardless of the reasons for your factory reset, you’ll want to back up your data first, as performing a hard reset wipes it all. There are multiple ways to do this, but we recommend using Google Drive. It’s easy to do, and you can download your data again when you set up a new Android phone. All you need is the Google One app from the Play Store.

  1. Open the Google One app.
  2. You’ll see a card telling you when the last backup was performed. Tap View details.
  3. Tap Backup now.

A factory reset doesn’t clear data stored on an SD card. Instead of backing up data, move it from your phone’s internal storage to the SD card.

When you set up your new Android device, it can download the backup you created. This backup restores your SMS messages, saved Wi-Fi networks, wallpaper, home screen layout, and all apps.

How to disable Factory Reset Protection

Google added Factory Reset Protection (FRP) to Android in 5.1 Lollipop, which prevents someone from using your device if it is stolen. FRP works differently on recent Android versions, but regardless of the age of your device, it’s good practice to make certain FRP is off because there’s no way to remove FRP remotely once you’ve sold a phone. If FRP isn’t properly disabled, the phone asks for your passcode and Google account credentials when it’s restarted. This is why a factory reset is required when trading in your phone.

If you’re the one who will be using the device after the reset, you can skip this step.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and open Passwords & accounts.
  3. Tap your Google account.
  4. Tap Remove account.
  5. On the following pop-up, tap Remove account.
  6. On the last pop-up, tap OK.
  7. Enter your password or scan your fingerprint as prompted.

Now that your Google account has been removed, you’ll need to remove your screen lock.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and open Security.
  3. Scroll down and tap Screen lock. Make sure to tap the words and not the cog next to them.
  4. Tap None.
  5. The device asks if you’re sure you want to delete your screen lock. Tap Delete.

How to factory reset a Google Pixel device

Once you complete the following steps, the data stored on the device is gone, so ensure you’ve backed up everything you want to keep before proceeding.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and open System​​​​​.
  3. Open Reset options.
  4. Tap Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Tap Erase all data in the lower-right corner.
  6. Tap Erase all data in the lower-right corner.

The phone performs a reboot, which may take a few minutes. Upon restart, it loads the first-run experience, allowing the next owner to log in and use it.

How to factory reset a Samsung device

One UI is different from what you’ll experience on a Google Pixel, and the steps for factory resetting a Samsung Galaxy device are not the same. The screenshots included here are from the one UI 5 beta, but the instructions are the same on software versions going back to One UI 1.0. So if you have an older phone, you can still follow these steps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and open General management.
  3. Scroll down and open the Reset menu.
  4. Tap Factory data reset.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Reset.

Your device reboots and begins the factory reset process.

How to factory reset a OnePlus device

Like Samsung, OnePlus tweaked Android to offer its customers unique features, and the steps to factory reset a OnePlus device are slightly different from the others.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and open Additional settings.
  3. Open Backup and reset.
  4. Open Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Tap Erase all data.

This results in a reboot as the process begins.

How to factory reset using Recovery Mode

If you can’t access your phone’s settings app, you can’t perform a factory reset in the usual way. Recovery Mode lets you factory reset your phone without needing any apps.

  1. Turn your phone off.
  2. Press the power and volume down buttons at the same time until the Recovery Mode screen appears.
  3. Press the volume down button until Recovery Mode is highlighted.
  4. Press the power button to restart your phone in Recovery Mode.
  5. Press the power and volume-up buttons to open the Recovery Mode menu.
  6. Tap the volume buttons to highlight Wipe data/factory reset.
  7. Press the power button to perform the factory reset.

Sometimes a factory reset won’t fix a sluggish phone

Factory resets are a useful way to clear out the junk that slows down your phone, but it isn’t a guaranteed fix. If you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade, check out our recommendations for the best Android phones you can buy.

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