First of all, lots of people confuse the word Reset with the word Reboot. If you want to return your device to factory settings, please scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how to do it. If you encountered some significant lag or any other issue that you want to fix without losing all your data, read on.

Sometimes, when your Android device is lagging, if apps are opening slowly or some parts of the OS simply don’t work as you would like them to, a way to fix them is the good ol’ reboot or a reset.

However, a simple reboot might not be enough to reset some of the issues that you have. Let’s first have a brief look at all the options you have.

Difference between Reset and Reboot

Please don’t confuse the terminology here.

A reboot simply restarts your phone. A reset wipes all data to clear bugs.

Difference between Soft and Hard reboot

You might think that the words hard and soft in this context would specify the “reboot intensity”, as ridiculous as this might sound. To some extend you’re right.

The words Soft and Hard come from SOFTware and HARDware. That means that if you are using software to reboot your Android phone, it’s a SOFT reboot (like rebooting the usual way). Pulling the battery would be a HARD reboot, since it involved the device’s hardware.

How to Hard Reboot any Android phone or tablet

As the word already implies, a Hard Reboot requires you to do something with your phone’s hardware. Some devices, like, for example, the Nexus 5 or Samsung Galaxy S6, don’t have removable batteries.

To simulate a battery pull, turn on your phone, press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously until you see the screen shuts down and you see the reboot animation.

Reset to Factory Settings

Android devices make it easy to return your phone to factory settings. To do so, go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset.

If you can’t access your settings for some reason, you will need to reset your device in Recovery mode.

To boot into recovery mode, make sure that the device is powered off, then follow these instructions:

  1. Hold the Volume Up and Power button simultaneously (for Samsung Galaxy devices, hold Volume Up + Home + Power)
  2. Hold the button combination until you see the word Start (on Stock Android). Samsung devices will load straight into recovery – release buttons when you see the Android logo
  3. Use volume buttons to scroll to “Recovery” and press the Power button to select it
  4. If you see “No Command”, hold the Power button and press the Volume Up button once
  5. Use Volume Down to scroll down to “wipe data/factory reset” and press the Power button to select it
  6. Select Yes the same way

What if…

… your device doesn’t turn on at all? Your phone might be soft-bricked. Check out our guide on how to fix soft bricked Android phones.

… you want to make a backup before resetting to factory settings? In most cases you won’t have to worry. Most of your device’s content will be linked to your Google account anyway: apps you dowloaded, contacts, messages, emails, etc. However, if you are rooted (that’s how you root an Android phone), you can make a so-called Nandroid backup, which can be restored so that your phone will look and feel exactly like before the reset.

Daniel Bulygin

Daniel’s passion is optimizing stuff, making it work better and faster. He likes tech, entrepreneurship and the outdoors.

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