How To Reset Your Phone Properly

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How To Reset Your Phone Properly

April 1, 2014 9:00 AM

By: JR Moore


Have you noticed recently your phone just doesn't feel like your phone anymore? It's acting a little slow. Apps begin closing unexpectedly at the worst possible moment. There are delays when you text and type, or when you try and answer a phone call.

This can become extremely frustrating when your phone is your lifeline. It makes you want to throw your phone against the wall, but you can't because you still have a few more months on your contract. You want a change, want something new. But all you have is your old phone.


Maybe it's time for your phone to get a well-deserved facelift. A full refresh on your phone life, so to speak. But first, you have to properly destroy the beast that you have now. You don't want to have things left on your phone that you will regret losing later on down the line. The better you plan before the reset, the less regret you will have after you pull the trigger. Let's go ahead and show you how to reset your phone properly.

**Disclaimer: I will be using an Android device for this reset. Although some of the suggested apps will be different, the concepts will work on any OSes. Please do more research if you don't have an Android phone.**


1) Back up everything you want to keep

  • Go through your phone and make sure you have everything you want either backed up one way or another. Be it in the cloud, on your computer. Don't use your SD Card. Any pictures that you have on your phone that you want to keep make sure they are there. Any documents that aren't saved anywhere make sure they are somewhere.
  • Make sure that all of your contacts are backed up to your Google account. Most phones will allow you to view your contacts by where they are stored. If they show up on your phone only, then they will be gone after you reset it.
  • Any music that you replace, make sure they are backed up.
  • Some people like to hide files too. If you have hidden files, make sure you unhide them first, then save them. If you save a hidden file in it's hidden state, it may become corrupt and you will lose them.
  • The easiest way to back up everything is to just copy all of the files over to your computer
  • When connecting your phone, connect it in camera mode. This will give you full access to all of your files and you can just copy and paste it over.
  • If there are old apps that aren't around anymore that you want to keep (for example, Flappy Birds), then you can use different programs to back up these appliations. The easiest one that I have used is a part of ASTRO File Manager, it updates the backup when the app gets updated.

2) Write down your passwords

  • This is a nice refresher course for yourself before you're lost and have to play The Forgotten Password game. Write down important passwords for:
    • Your Wi-Fi spots
    • Your apps that require logins
    • Any passwords that you don't really use every day
    • Any password-protected files you have on your device
  • Use something like Google Keep to make everything transferable back to the computer

3) Write down what apps you want to get back

  • Make a list of what you want to re-install on your phone. You will more than likely look through your phone and not even know what apps you have installed. If you can't remember what it does, don't re-install it. If you forget something you can always install it later.

4) Pull your SD card

  • After you have everything you can think of off of your phone, pull out your SD card. It will show you what all is left. Check the gallery, if you see something there that you want, go back to Step 1.
  • If you are formatting everything, put the SD card back in. If you are playing it safe, then keep it pulled.

5) Pull the trigger

  • Time to reset your phone. The typical way to reset your phone is like this:
    • Select 'Menu' and go to 'Settings'
    • Go to 'Backup and Reset' 
    • Click 'Factory Data Reset'
  • This may take a few minutes, so no need to panic. It all depends on what your phone does to reformat itself. 
settings on android, Phone Reset

6) Follow the Setup and check for Updates

  • The phone is completely refreshed now. Go through it like it was brand new. Sign in to your accounts. Get to that very first screen.
  • Let Google update all of the built-in apps before going on an installing spree. This way all of the base apps are up to date.
  • Make sure that your phone's firmware is also up to date:
    • Select 'Menu' and go to 'Settings'
    • Go to 'About Phone'
    • Go to 'Software Update'
    • Check for new updates available
checking for updates on an android phone screenshot

7) Make it your phone again

  • Take the list that you made and head over to the Google Play website ( and start remotely installing the apps. This is the fastest way to put all of your apps back on it.