How to Erase & Reset Android to Factory Settings
If you have an Android phone or tablet that is no longer in use and gathering dust, selling it or giving it to a new owner is often a good idea. Before you do that though, you’ll almost certainly want to erase all personal data on the phone by resetting the Android to the factory default settings. This is frequently encountered by those who use both platforms, but also for those who are moving from Android to an iPhone.
You’ll probably want to copy your pictures, contacts, and other important data from the Android before doing this if you haven’t done so already, particularly if you’re migrating over to an iPhone. Moving contacts to an iPhone from Android is quite simple with this method, though if you’re going to juggle both iOS and Android platforms you may want to use Google Sync instead. Much like resetting an iPhone to factory settings, once the Android is erased and reset, it will boot back into a setup process that is ready for a new owner or fresh configuration.
Clearing all data off an Android phone is quite simple and the process is generally the same regardless of which version of Android software the phone is running, though there an be slight variations in what menu options you’d need to select. This works the same on basically all Android smartphones and tablets, including the Nexus and Galaxy series.
Erasing & Resetting an Android to Factory Default Settings
This will erase everything off the Android phone or tablet. In the newest versions of Android (like a Nexus 5), just do the following:
- Open the Settings app and go to “Backup & Reset”
- Scroll down and choose “Factory data reset” to start the data removal process, you may need to enter your passcode to continue if the Android is protected
- Confirm that you want to erase everything off of the Android by choosing “Erase everything”
The Android will power off and reboot itself, when the screen turns back on you’ll see a little progress bar, and then the phone will restart itself yet again, booting to a freshly formatted Android phone without any personal data stored on the device.
Reset an Older Android Phone to Factory Default Settings
Some Android phones may have the data erase and reset option stored in a different menu item, but otherwise the process is the same. This should be the case with Android 4 for many HTC and Samsung phones that are a bit older:
- Open the Settings app on the Android phone
- Under Device settings, go to “Storage” (as opposed to Backup & Reset)
- Choose “Factory data reset – Erases all data on phone”
- Confirm that you want to erase everything on the Android phone
Whichever method you use to format the Android phone or tablet, the device will boot back up and Android will want to start the setup process immediately, so if you’re going to give the phone to someone else, or sell it, then you may want to avoid starting the setup procedure and just pass it off the new owner at this new setup screen.
Separately, if the Android phone uses external storage through an SD Card, you may want to erase that storage card or even remove it if you have personal data on there.