Factory Reset (Hard Reset) Your Android and iPhone – Benefits and Disadvantages

Ever wished you had a reset button in your life? Where one press would take you back to when life was good or you could change certain things. Well, too bad because only smartphones and laptops have this kind of button – factory reset.

A last resort built-in software function for when something goes wrong. Used correctly and you can use factory reset to improve the system performance of your smartphone.

Here’s everything you need to know about factory reset your android or iPhone including the benefits and disadvantages.

What Does Factory Reset Do

Factory reset also known as master reset, hard reset or hardware reset is a built-in feature for electronic devices. And the electronic device of interest is a smartphone. A factory reset erases all data, settings and applications stored on your device.

You can think of it as formatting a pen-drive or external hard drive. It returns your smartphone to the condition it was when you first took it out of the box. Or you could say, straight out of the factory or company.

Factory Reset Samsung Galaxy S10

Hence the reason why it is called factory reset. Factory resetting a smartphone doesn’t erase data on the SD card. Plus, it serves as a last resort when your device is messing up. Though there are other reasons you might want to factory reset which we will look at later.

Benefits of Factory Reset

There are a lot of benefits when it comes to factory reset your android or iPhone.

Improves Smartphone Performance

This is by far the biggest benefit when it comes to factory reset your smartphone. The longer you use your smartphone the more unnecessary data it accumulates. There is also the leftover data from uninstalling apps.

This data eats up a lot of storage and RAM in the background. And tends to slow your device down. By factory resetting, you get rid of the accumulated clutter. Your smartphone then becomes responsive and fast as when it was brand new.

The easiest and fastest way if you want to improve your smartphone’s system performance.

A Handy Function When Looking To Sell Your Smartphone

Want to sell your smartphone? But, don’t know how to get rid of personal data? Do a factory reset. As mentioned earlier, the factory reset gets rid of all user data and more on your smartphone device.

Once done there is no need to worry about the buyer accessing your personal data. Nowadays, privacy and security are important. And you don’t want your precious data to fall in the hands of a hacker.

“Out Of The Box” Experience Again

Remember how you felt when you received your smartphone brand new? A factory reset allows you to re-live the moment again. By basically resetting your smartphone to how it was again.

iphone x unboxing
IPhone X “Out Of Box” Experience

You once again get to experience that “out of the box” moment. A satisfying and exciting experience when you first switch on your smartphone. Moreover, you reinstall apps that you use. Let’s be honest, more often than not we have certain apps that haven’t been touched for a long time.

Serves As A Solution To Most Smartphone Problems

Aside from booting your android smartphone in safe mode or flashing. Factory reset serves as a last resort method in solving certain serious smartphone problems.

It might be that your android is stuck at starting or malicious app you downloaded is causing phones issues (crashes, freezing, poor performance etc.). Most at times these problems make it difficult to use your phone or access it at all.

That’s where factory reset comes in. By resetting it to factory settings you get rid of the problem. Just remember to back up your data. The perfect failsafe if something goes seriously wrong.

Disadvantages of Factory Reset

Factory reset has its benefits but it also has its disadvantages. Let’s take a look.

Slowly Destroys Your Smartphone’s Storage

Your smartphone storage is a flash drive. And by continuously factory resetting your smartphone. You slowly damage it by wearing out the storage device.

But, to be honest, this destruction of your smartphone storage is so slow that it won’t affect you in any way. Unless you are resetting your smartphone 1000 times a day. There is nothing to be worried about. You can do it as many times as you want.

Erases Your Data

As you already know. Factory reset not only resets your smartphone to factory settings. But, also erases your data. That’s mean you lose your precious photos, music, books, apps, etc

That’s why it is important to back up your data before a factory reset. You will lose all your data when you perform a factory reset except for data stored on the SD card.

Risks of Factory Reset and Is It Safe?

There are no risks associated with factory resetting your smartphone. Plus, it is perfectly safe. The reason why people think there is risk associated with a factory risk is that they don’t back up their data.

They forget to backup their data and realise too late that factory resetting their phone has wiped everything. That is the “risk” people talk about when it comes to factory reset. Always remember to perform a backup before a factory reset.

What Does Factory Reset Delete?

Factory resets deletes almost everything on your smartphone. Including contacts stored on it. Yes, it was mentioned earlier that factory reset wipes your smartphone clean. But, there are some data that factory reset can’t wipe fully.

factory reset button
Factory Reset Deletes Almost Everything

A study was performed in 2014 to find out if factory resetting your smartphone wipes all data. Devices used for the study were 9 Apple iPhones, 10 Android devices and 2 Blackberry devices.

They then proceeded to use Cellebrite UME-36 Pro with UFED Physical Analyzer, Bulk extractor open-source tool and their programs for extracting metadata.

Files and data on the smartphone devices were analysed before and after a “factory reset”. At the end of the study, they found out that. On average 42 per cent of the files on a device was deleted by the rest.

That’s means factory reset doesn’t wipe all your data. And this is a serious problem when looking to give or sell your device to another person. Luckily, the study offered solutions on overcome this problem.

  1. Encrypt their data.
  2. Do a software or “factory reset”
  3. Manually delete any remaining user files
  4. Manually delete remaining user data from software directories
  5. Delete remaining cache files, browser history files, cookies and settings files
  6. Delete zero-size files
  7. Overwrite deleted data with zeroes
  8. Remove the SIM card and any other removable storage.

NB Commercial software such as data erasing tools will be generally necessary for steps 3, 4 and 7

What You Should Do Before Factory Resetting Your Smartphone

Before factory resetting your smartphone backup your data. Once that is done follow the steps that were provided by the study above.

This will ensure that you at least have a backup whiles your precious data is encrypted. This will prevent malicious people from having access when you finally decide to sell your smartphone.

How To Factory Reset Your Android or iPhone

Now you are ready to factory reset your smartphone.

For Samsung Smartphones

  1. Go To Settings
  2. General Management
  3. Reset
  4. Factory Data Reset
  5. Tap Reset and Delete All

Other Android Smartphones

  1. Turn off your phone
  2. Once off press Volume Up + Power Button to enter Factory Recovery Mode. Once again this might differ between smartphone brands. Others require you to press Volume Down + Power Button or Volume Up + Volume Down + Power Button. If the first doesn’t work try out the rest.
  3. Once in Factory Recovery Mode use the volume up and down to navigate.
  4. Navigate to Factory Reset and use either the power button or volume buttons to confirm the action.

For iPhones

  1. Go To Settings
  2. Go To General and Reset
  3. Erase All Content and Settings
  4. Type in your passcode and proceed to reset your device
  5. You will also need to enter your Apple ID password to confirm the action

Final Thoughts

A factory reset should only be used as a last resort. Only use it when you are facing a serious smartphone issue, trying to improve system performance or plan to sell your phone.

That’s it about everything you need to know about factory resetting android and iPhone.

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