How to Reformat Android Phones

Backing Up Media and Data on Your Device

  1. 1

    Tap ⋮⋮⋮. Doing so opens the Applications Manager.
  2. 2

    Scroll down and tap Photos. It’s an app shaped like a multi-colored pinwheel.
  3. 3

    Tap . It’s in the upper-left corner of the screen.
  4. 4

    Tap Settings. It’s in the middle of the menu.
  5. 5

    Tap Back up & sync. It’s at the top of the menu.
  6. 6

    Slide the “Back up & sync” button to the “On” position. It will turn blue.
  7. 7

    Press the Home button.
  8. 8

    Open your device’s Settings. It’s often a gear-shaped icon (⚙️) or an icon containing a series of slider bars.
  9. 9

    Scroll down and tap Accounts. It’s in the “Personal” section of the menu.
  10. 10

    Tap Google. The accounts are listed alphabetically.
  11. 11

    Slide buttons to the “On” position. Slide the buttons next to the data you want to back up to the “On” position. They will turn blue.

    • Turn on Drive to sync photos.
  12. 12

    Tap the 🔄 buttons. They are next to the buttons you just slid to the “On” position. Tap each one in the menu to start an immediate sync.

    • App purchases will be available for re-download when you sign in to your Google account on the reformatted device.
    • See this guide for details on backing up your device’s settings.
    • See this guide for details on transferring files from your device to your computer.

2

Resetting a Functioning Device

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    1

    Open your device’s Settings. It’s often a gear-shaped icon (⚙️) or an icon containing a series of slider bars.
  2. 2

    Scroll down and tap Backup & reset. It’s in the “Personal” section of the menu.
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    Tap Factory data reset. It’s at the bottom of the menu.
  4. 4

    Tap Reset Phone. Once the reset process is complete, your phone will be formatted as it was when it left the factory.

    • Updates to firmware and Android will also be lost.
    • Power on your phone and follow the on-screen prompts to start adding apps, media, and data to your device.

3

Resetting a Non-Functioning Device

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    Boot your phone in Recovery Mode. If your Android device will not boot normally, you can perform a factory reset from the Recovery boot menu. Press and hold the correct buttons while your phone is powered off. The buttons vary from device to device.[1]

    • Nexus devices – Volume Up, Volume Down, and Power
    • Samsung devices – Volume Up, Home, and Power
    • Moto X – Volume Down, Home, and Power
    • Other devices generally use Volume Down and Power, while other phones with hard UIs can use Power and Home, since Power and Volume Down in devices with true home buttons will make it boot to factory test mode.
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    Scroll to Wipe data/factory reset. Use the volume buttons to scroll through the menu options.
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    Press the Power button. This will select this option.
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    Scroll to Yes. This will confirm your selection.
  5. 5

    Press the Power button. This will start the reset process and reformat your Android device to its factory settings.
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