Resetting your smartphone isn’t something you need to do regularly. However, if it has slowed down or won’t respond then resetting it to the original factory settings could get it working properly again. You’ll also want to reset your phone if you are selling it or giving it to someone else, so that you’re not giving someone else your personal information by mistake. If you want to find out how to reset an Android iOS or Windows smartphone, read our guide below.
Resetting your phone means restoring it to how it was when you first bought it. That means all your personal data, including photos, installed apps, and contacts will be deleted. Once erased, you cannot retrieve this data again, so make sure you back up your data first.
It’s also worth trying what is known as a ‘soft reset’ first. To do this, turn your smartphone off and on. You can also try removing the battery and reinserting it. Sometimes doing this is enough to get your smartphone working normally again. If it is still not responding properly you can try doing a ‘hard reset’ to restore the phone to its factory settings.
There are two ways to hard reset an Android phone:
1. Select “Settings”.
2. Open “Privacy”.
3. Enter “Factory Settings” (bear in mind the names could vary depending on your smartphone manufacturer.)
1. When the phone is switched off or unresponsive, press the Volume up and Power buttons at the same time until the phone starts up.
2. When the list appears, select “Recovery mode’. You can use the Volume up button to move through the list and the Volume down button to highlight it.
3. When the Android logo appears, press and hold the Power and Volume up buttons.
4. Select “Wipe data / factory reset” and highlight by pressing the Power button.
5. Select “Yes – erase all user data” and highlight by pressing the Power button
Warning! The exact process for method 2 will vary depending on the phone manufacturer. For example:
• For Samsung smartphones: when the phone is turned off, press the Volume up, Power button, and the Home button simultaneously. You can navigate the menu using the volume buttons, and confirm your selections using the main button.
• For HTC smartphones: with the device turned off, press and hold the Volume down button and briefly press the Power button. Use the down button to navigate options, highlight choices with the Power button, and confirm your selection with the Volume up button.
If you’re resetting your Android phone before selling it, remember to encrypt the phone first. Find out more in our guide on How to remove data from my phone before I sell it.
If you need to reset your Apple iPhone, you have three options: iPhone reset, iTunes, and Recovery Mode.
Method 1 – iPhone reset:
1. Go to “Settings”.
2. Select “General”
3. Click “Reset”
4. Select “Erase contents and settings”.
Method 2 – reset your iPhone with iTunes
1. Connect your phone to your computer with a cable and run iTunes.
2. When a confirmation message appears on your iPhone asking if you trust this computer, tap “yes”.
3. Click the iTunes icon on your phone.
4. At the top in the menu, click the “Open iPhone” button
5. Completing this process will delete the data on your iPhone and reset the system.
Method 3 – reset iPhone from Recovery mode.
If your smartphone is switched off and refuses to start press the launch button and home button at the same time. Hold both buttons down until a message “Connect to iTunes” appears. Follow the instructions to connect the phone to iTunes, clicking the reset settings icon.
You have two options if you want to reset a Windows mobile.
1. Open “Settings”.
2. Select “System”.
3. Got to “Information”.
4. Click “Reset phone”.
5. Confirm “yes” when the warning appears asking if you are sure you want to restore factory settings. Be patient. This process may take some time.
If your phone is powered off and unresponsive:
1. Press and hold the Volume down and Power buttons at the same time. You’ll need to hold them both down for around 10-15 seconds until you feel a vibration.
2. Release the buttons then immediately press and hold the Volume down button. A large exclamation mark will appear on the screen.
3. Press these four buttons in this order:
• Volume up.
• Volume down.
• Volume down.
4. Your smartphone should now reset and restart.