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How to factory reset a smartphone (Android, iPhone and Windows Phone tutorial)

Posted: , by Victor H.

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How to factory reset a smartphone (Android, iPhone and Windows Phone tutorial)
Sometimes you just need to get rid of all your personal data before you sell a device.

The easiest way to do this is something called factory reset - an option that allows you to bring your smartphone to the state it was in right out of the factory floor. No personal photos, no sensitive documents, nothing that you may otherwise forget to delete will get in the hands of other people.

So how do you do it?

Disclaimer: Once you do a factory reset, ALL of your personal data - including photos and all other documents - will be deleted off your phone and there will be no way to get it back. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BACKED UP ALL YOUR IMPORTANT DATA FIRST.

On Android


If your phone is fully functional (you haven’t messed up something while playing with custom ROMs, for instance), all it takes is:

Factory reset via fastboot

Factory reset via fastboot

1. Go into Settings -> ‘Backup & Reset’
2. Select ‘Factory data reset’
3. Then tap on ‘Reset phone’
4. Finally, touch ‘Erase everything’ and wait a few minutes until it’s all done. That’s it!

This is the exact steps you should follow on just about any Android smartphone or tablet - you can factory reset the Samsung Galaxy S5 this way, Note 3, the HTC One (M8), the LG G3, Sony Xperia Z2, Moto X, Moto G, and many others.

In case your smartphone is not starting up properly, you’d need some other tactics. Do the following:

1. Power your gadget off.
2. Hold down the Volume Down key and the Power/Lock key simultaneously for a few seconds. (This way you ‘fastboot’ your Android device)
3. After letting go, you’d see a menu with several options. Navigate using ONLY the volume down key. Go to ‘Factory’ and select it by pressing the volume up key. Your phone will do the rest of the magic, and will restore itself to factory settings in just a few minutes.

On iPhone


1. Go into ‘Settings’ and select the ‘General’ tab
2. Next, you’ll see many options, but what we’re looking for here is to ‘Erase All Content and Settings’
3. Tap on it and confirm your intentions to wipe all iPhone data clean.
4. Your iPhone will start doing its magic and in a few minutes it will reboot completely clean and fresh, as if it was just out of the factory floor.

Note that this tutorial will work with the latest versions of iOS with phones like the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, etc.

How to factory reset a smartphone (Android, iPhone and Windows Phone tutorial)

On Windows Phone


1. Go into ‘Settings’ and scroll down to the ‘About’ tab. Select it.
2. There, you’d see a ‘reset your phone’ button.
3. Just tap on it, and confirm that you indeed want to delete all of your data.
4. A short wait of just a few minutes, and you’d have a factory reset phone. That’s it!

Note that this tutorial will work with the latest versions of Windows Phone with phones like the Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 520, etc.

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10 Comments
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posted on 03 Aug 2014, 14:25 3

1. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2962; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


As was covered on PA recently, on most if not all Android devices, a factory reset doesn't clear your data.

So before you perform any sort of factory reset, download two or three well regarded wipe apps and run them on the phone. Then do the factory reset.

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 14:35 6

2. Scott93274 (Posts: 852; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


You talk a lot of crap... but you are correct here, at least for people running Android before jellybean.

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 22:25

8. vincelongman (Posts: 1139; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Easy way is to do an encrypted factory reset
All your data is still technically on the memory, but its encrypted so no one will know what the data is

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 08:16

9. sprockkets (Posts: 1160; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


And unless you obtain root, you won't have any access to any method to even read the memory at a low level.

And flash memory isn't going to yield anything worthwhile on how it stores it.

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 16:15 1

3. javy108 (Posts: 161; Member since: 27 Jul 2014)


On WP there is a way to perfom a Master Reset with hard keys hehe. But this is a nice article.

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 16:28

4. sip1995 (Posts: 804; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


I learned that from Windows phone support...

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 18:21

5. fzacek (Posts: 1615; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


Seriously PA, another snail news article?...

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 19:32 2

6. Finalflash (Posts: 1700; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Yea, it is called sunday, the weekends is when all their editors (who are mainly copying and pasting from other sites and therefore, all their source editors) have time off.

posted on 03 Aug 2014, 20:37 1

7. Planterz (Posts: 751; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Firstly, it's good information. Some of their articles like this aren't all that good, or state the well known or extremely obvious, but this one has good info.

Yes, you can simply google it and find the info, but that's also the point. PA is a high-traffic site. Now, with this article, if someone googles "how to factory reset Android/windows/iphone smartphone", PA will be one of the top hits, which gives them more hits (advertising), and might bring more frequent viewers.

It's not just a "we have nothing better to do and it's a slow news day" article.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 08:23

10. sprockkets (Posts: 1160; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


"Go to ‘Factory’ and select it by pressing the volume up key. Your phone will do the rest of the magic, and will restore itself to factory settings in just a few minutes."

This is not what you think it is - on Moto phones for example, like the one in the picture, it actually activates factory level tools - it does not reset the phone. IF you are on that screen, you have to use fastboot commands to do it.

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