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How to Reset Your Android Phone Without Losing Your Data

by Sagar Naresh Bhavsar on December 01, 2023

Updated on 12/1/2023 with current information about backing up Google Authenticator.

When you operate your phone, it stores bits of data from the apps and features you use to help them run more smoothly. Over time, this data can pile up and cause multiple issues on your phone, including running slowly and becoming unresponsive. Sometimes freeing up space on your phone will help, but often, clearing the data by resetting your phone is the best way to address the problem

There are two types of reset, a soft reset and a hard reset. To perform a soft reset, you power off your phone and turn it back on. Restarting your phone closes all the processes and apps running on your phone and loads all the system files from scratch. A soft reset does not come with the risk of losing your data.

Read More: The Power of Restarting: Why Turning Devices On and Off Fixes Them

The second type of reset is a hard reset, also known as a factory reset. A factory reset removes all the files stored on your Android phone, including your data, and brings the condition of your device back to how it was when it left the factory. But if you follow these steps carefully, you can perform a factory reset on your Android phone without losing your data.

Samsung Galaxy phone held in hand above parquet floor with the Reset menu on the phone showing the options to reset all settings, reset network settings, reset accessibility settings, factory data reset.

1. Back up your authenticator app

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring you to provide a one-time passcode in addition to your password. If you use an authenticator app to generate those one-time passcodes, you need to back it up separately from your phone backup. Most authenticator apps have the option to backup to the cloud, including Microsoft Authenticator (see how), Authy (see how), Duo Mobile (see how), and Google Authenticator. Google Authenticator backs up automatically to the cloud whenever you back up your phone, so your codes will transfer automatically when you sign in to Google Authenticator on a new device.

2. Back up your phone

The only way to keep your data when doing a factory reset is to back it up and restore it when the reset is complete. Google's built-in backup feature is the easiest way to back up your data.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Google.
  3. Select Backup., If you have backed up your phone before, you will see a list of what's backed up. If everything is backed up or if this is the first time you're backing up to Google, proceed to the next step. If you don't see everything being backed up, open the Google One app and select Storage. Then select View details. Now, you can select Manage backup to select the data you want backed up.
  4. Select Back up now. If this is your first backup, you will be able to select what you want backed up.

Note that it can take up to 24 hours to back up your data for the first time. When your data is saved, you'll see the amount of data below all of the data types you selected for backup.

Now that you have created a backup of your data, let us check out the steps to factory reset your smartphone.

3. Perform a factory reset

If you own an Android smartphone running plain Android, you can follow the steps below (steps may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and version of Android).

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select System.
  3. Expand the Advanced option. (For some manufacturers, you may see a reset option here. If you see a reset option, select it and go to step 5.)
  4. Select Reset options.
  5. Select Erase all data for some manufacturers, you may see Factory reset).
  6. On the confirmation page, select Reset phone.
  7. Another confirmation screen will show up, and you need to select Erase everything.
  8. You will be asked to confirm your pattern.
  9. That's it.

If you own a Samsung phone, follow the steps below. If you have encrypted the microSD card, you must decrypt it before resetting the phone. Otherwise, your phone will not be able to read the data on the card. From Settings, search for and select “Decrypt SD card,” and then follow the on-screen prompts.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General management.
  3. Scroll down and select Reset.
  4. Select Factory data reset. You will see a list of the data and accounts that will be removed from your phone after the reset.
  5. Select Reset.
  6. If your phone is protected by a pattern or PIN code, you will be asked to re-enter it.
  7. Select Delete All. Your phone will start the reset process and will boot up once the process is completed.

Now that you have factory reset your phone, the next step is to set up your phone and restore your data.

4. Restore your data

When you set up your device again, you'll be able to restore your data from the backup you just created.

  1. Select Copy apps & data.
  2. Connect to your WiFi network.
  3. On the Bring your data from screen, select A Backup from an Android phone.
  4. When prompted, log into the Google account you used to create your backup.
  5. Select the backup you just created to restore your data.
  6. Select the apps you want to restore.
  7. Follow the prompts to finish setting up your phone. The apps and data will be restored in the background.

[Image credit: Techlicious]

Sagar Naresh Bhavsar has been writing about technology for more than two years. Previously, he was a staff writer at Guiding Tech and TechWiser. He loves working out, having a cup of coffee, and playing guitar.


Topics

Tips & How-Tos, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Android Apps


Discussion loading

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From John Ostrowski on August 27, 2022 :: 12:26 pm


I’m surprised that no mention was made of fully charging your battery before beginning this process and/or having your phone connected to a charger while the process is running. A dead battery halfway through either data transfer phase might be problematic.

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From Cecelia morgan on October 19, 2022 :: 7:07 am


I been trying for days now to read ald do the contrast off and color adj. And wow its easy foe tech. People to think how stupid the average house wife is but I only use txt and google recipes. And i LOVE google…im nervous about the back up amd reset , but annoyed that I cant seen to fix it.so ima try and wish me luck even the steps r confusing to me cause im nervous about the process. So ty and we’ll see…

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From patricia on January 22, 2023 :: 11:28 am


I wonder if you can help. On my android phone when i search on the search bar at the bottom,hundreds of unwanted searches come up which are nothing to do with me

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From William Howard on May 20, 2023 :: 6:56 am


if i clear all data from my android phone, will that data also be lost on my i phone?

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From Josh Kirschner on May 22, 2023 :: 2:34 pm


If you delete individual emails, messages, or other data that is synced to your devices across the cloud, then it would delete from your iPhone, as well. However, if you are uninstalling an app or factory resetting your Android phone, that will not remove the associated data from your iPhone.

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From EMMASON on March 30, 2024 :: 4:53 am


Am not getting my files please help me to get that. my phone has that problem

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From Kristi Moniz-Becker on June 24, 2023 :: 8:34 pm


I can not get rcs to turn off and stay off,,,, PLEASE HELP

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From Susana on June 27, 2023 :: 1:22 pm


My daughter forgot her password on her phone but she doesn’t want to do a factory restart what else can she do she has a lot of pictures and school related

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From Josh Kirschner on June 27, 2023 :: 1:47 pm


We have another article dedicated to what to do if you forget your Android password. You can learn more about the options there. But the short answer is that if she doesn’t back up her stuff, she’s going to lose it. For very valid privacy and anti-theft reasons, both Android and Google make it very hard to extract information from a phone if you don’t have access. The upside for your daughter (though she won’t see it this way) is that it’s a good lesson to learn when you’re young.

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From Starr Hodge on September 14, 2023 :: 1:31 pm


I downloaded an app on my phone that total messed up everything on my phone. I deleted the app but nothing went back the way it was. Went to the T Mobile store, a useless trip. They couldn’t help me. I want my phone back the way it was 7 days ago.

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From Josh Kirschner on September 14, 2023 :: 1:54 pm


You didn’t provide any detail on what app you downloaded or what is wrong with your phone. But if you follow the steps above to backup your device and do a factory reset, everything should be largely back to normal (you may have to change a few settings on the device or in individual apps if you had customized those).

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From Annie on October 22, 2023 :: 3:18 am


Help .
Purchased S23Ultra in Feb and camera…main reason for buying….repeatedly fails
Also can’t use camera for Whats App calls or for Zoom
Seems like major fault.
Not getting anywhere with proper help.I think phone needs replacing.They just want to repair.Meanwhile I cannot use main elements of my phone Any ideas?
Annie

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From Anonymous on December 23, 2023 :: 12:58 pm


This information is incorrect. You can reset the phone without wiping apps and data. It is recommended to backup your phone first. Go to settings, System, Restart and Reset, and then Reset Settings. This will reset all the settings but keep apps and data.

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From Josh Kirschner on December 26, 2023 :: 12:53 pm


We’re talking apples and oranges here. The issue the story is addressing is when you’re having problems with your device that may be related to either corrupted data or extraneous/unnecessary data. To fix those problems, you will need to do a full reset.

Resetting app settings won’t remove the corrupted files that are creating phone problems. It’s more just changing things back to their default settings, which probably is best done on an app by app basis, rather than globally.

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From Cynthia Adkins on January 06, 2024 :: 3:43 pm


I had to reset my phone to factory reset yes I backed up everything came back except my contacts what can I do it ask for phone number then it says no contact

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From A on February 23, 2024 :: 1:34 am


What about in-app information? Will it be saved?

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From Josh Kirschner on April 09, 2024 :: 1:43 pm


Some apps save progress to the cloud, while others store it locally. And some give you a choice. So it really depends on the app.

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From Elisa Pretty on April 09, 2024 :: 1:08 pm


If I factory reset my phone do I lose everything

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From Josh Kirschner on April 09, 2024 :: 1:41 pm


Yes, you will lose everything on the device if you do a full factory reset. However, anything that is backed up to Google you will be able to re-sync onto the device.

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From Lori Cook on April 23, 2024 :: 9:48 pm


Hi. My phone freezes up where I have to turn it off and back on almost continuously thru out the days. Now it is very slow and doesn’t stay where I’m at it goes back to home screen. I have so many pictures that I do not want to loose and my contacts neither. Please help. I’ve been to boost stores and called boost and not getting any help. It’s been doing this since a week after I. Ought phone. Year ago I believe. Thank you for your time. Please help

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From Joe Biden on May 10, 2024 :: 7:57 pm


Hello, u can factory reset the phone but save the data and should work perfectly again

Reply

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