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Factory reset could permanently disable Google Wallet on your handset

Factory reset could permanently disable Google Wallet on your handset
It seems like there might be a bug in relation to Google Wallet that can prevent users from using their smartphone to make purchases. Apparently, an HTC EVO 4G LTE user was having problems with HTC Sense crashing. The phone's owner was told to factory reset the unit and he did. But that was actually the beginning of the problem he had with Google Wallet. While the factory reset did resolve the force closing of HTC Sense, it also permanently disabled Google Wallet without even giving one bit of warning.

Error message that means Google Wallet is disabled

Error message that means Google Wallet is disabled

The owner of the device called Google and the answer he received was extremely unsatisfying as he was told that he needed to have been covered by a warranty and that he could get the phone repaired as long as he was willing to pay for it. NFC enabled models have a little mechanism inside the NFC component on the phone called the "secure element". If this "secure element" is tampered with, or even in the case of a factory reset, those attempting to pay using Google Wallet will receive a "secure element error" message. And just to be clear, this issue is not limited to the HTC EVO 4G LTE. Any NFC enabled device usingGogle Wallet will find the feature disabled with a factory reset, even the Google Nexus S 4G and the Samsung GALAXY Nexus.

There is a way to prevent this from happening. Before you factory reset your NFC enabled phone, go into the Google Wallet app and head into settings. There, you can click on "Reset Google Wallet" which will delete all payment information and allow you to factory reset your phone without bricking the secure element. If the secure element has been bricked following the flashing of a custom ROM, you do have a chance if you can restore a back up ROM made before the secure element is disabled. If you can get that back up ROM going, enter the settings from the Google Wallet app and reset the app.

For those who like to flash custom ROMs, keep all this in mind, Of course, if your device doesn't support NFC, this is all a moot issue.

source: AndroidForums (1), (2), (3), Xdadevelopersforum via Phandroid

15 Comments
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posted on 29 May 2012, 05:02

1. Mxyzptlk (limited) (Posts: 2846; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


No wonder the carriers went with ISIS. Is there anything Google can get right? This is a major problem even if no one cares about Google Wallet.

posted on 29 May 2012, 05:52 1

3. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 803; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


Just maybe this is also the Carriers fault for telling him to do something that caused him to brick the phone they are liable, because they should have known about this reset issue, and had they known to tell the guy to reset the NFC ship 1st this would never have happened! I will hold the Carrier responsible, and since its less than 15 days get a new one at their expense!

posted on 29 May 2012, 10:40

6. Mxyzptlk (limited) (Posts: 2846; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


No, this is Google's fault for not warning people. No one knew until it happened. It's not the carrier's fault for Google's failure to provide warning and to keep this from happening in the first place.

posted on 29 May 2012, 11:01

9. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Um... I factory reset everytime I install a new ROM and my Google Wallet works perfectly fine...

I don't know what this dude did differently??

posted on 29 May 2012, 12:34

14. Danalvi1981 (Posts: 47; Member since: 02 Jun 2010)


I factory rest mine and it's working just fine!!!! and yes it is and HTC Evo 4g LTE...

posted on 29 May 2012, 05:50

2. surethom (Posts: 184; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)


So does this mean is you are selling your phone on say ebay, you first do a factory reset to clear all your data, this problem will occur.

If so IM SORRY but this NEEDS to be fixed by Google, by choosing Factor reset it should either warn you to reset wallet first or to do it for you.

No one really knows this & really they should not need to know this, all those NFC Wallet phones that will be on Ebay will have this problem if google does not Fix this.

Android needs an update FAST.

posted on 29 May 2012, 07:29

4. animestar (Posts: 10; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)


After having a problem w/ my Virgin Mobile Optimus Elite I called VM and was advised to reset the phone. This did screw up Wallet. Not suprised they didn't know this issue was present. Its up to Google to tell them.

posted on 29 May 2012, 10:22

5. Forsaken77 (Posts: 542; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


What if you don't have Google Wallet installed on your phone, but have an NFC phone and reset it? I have an NFC-capable phone, the Skyrocket, and installed the leaked AT&T 4.0.3 ICS update but kept the phone stock. So is my "secure element" gonna be trashed now, or do you need Wallet installed first and that trashes the element?

posted on 29 May 2012, 10:53

7. Hunt3rj2 (Posts: 396; Member since: 11 Nov 2011)


You need to have Google Wallet installed and activated before you do that.

posted on 29 May 2012, 11:20

10. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


It wont occur unless you reset it without resetting wallet first

posted on 29 May 2012, 10:55

8. moofoodooloo (Posts: 137; Member since: 04 Jan 2011)


We need more evidence of this being a widespread problem rather than "one dude reset his phone and now this happend". There have been a lot of phones with NFC sold and a lot of phones with Google Wallet installed, and this is the first we've heard about it? I'm a little skeptical.

posted on 29 May 2012, 11:26

11. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


this could be a security measure.... think someone steals your hone, its password protected, they manage to acquire your "Google data" but need to factory reset in order to get rid of the lock screen password, now they have a phone they cant use to buy stuff in your name.

I think the only thing they need to do is add a warning message telling you that you must deauthorize wallet before factory reset

posted on 29 May 2012, 11:42

12. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


"oh no, now the world is ending! i have to flip out my credit card instead of whipping out my phone!!! aaah!!" lol

anyways, if this was a major major problem we would have heard about it already.

posted on 29 May 2012, 11:47 1

13. Mxyzptlk (limited) (Posts: 2846; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


We're hearing about it right now.

posted on 29 May 2012, 17:16

15. RandomlyPsychotic (Posts: 36; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


I have a Galaxy Nexus. Have probably reset my Galaxy Nexus three maybe four times since I have owned it. Google Wallet still has always worked for me?

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