You Ask, I Answer: What Happens When I Factory Reset?

Mrs. The Droid Lawyer is afraid to clean off her phone, mostly because she fears losing important pictures, messages, and other collected tidbits. But, as I keep telling her, she shouldn’t be too concerned about cleaning up her device since many times wiping your phone can help get rid of built up junk. Fortunately, you can easily clean up the clutter by performing a factory reset.

Android Erasing

I regularly factory reset my devices — usually about every 6 months — when I notice lag.

Here’s what you should know about factory reset

First, factory reset will wipe everything off of your device. Photos, texts, apps, videos, everything will be erased. Thus, if there’s anything you really want to keep, back it up. Check out this post for information on backing up your Android device. Factory reset only affects your device, so if you store data on an SD card that information will remain unharmed — there might be issues with compatibility after reset. Note: if you factory reset your device the reset will also remove your saved game information; kiss level 30 on Angry Birds goodbye.

The second most common question I get is, “will I have to reinstall all of my apps?” And, “no,” is the quick answer. There’s a caveat though, which requires that you’ve synced  your Android device with your Google account — people who choose not to connect with Google’s servers, you’re S.O.L.

Amazon’s Appstore for Android and Google Play each feature the ability to install any previously downloaded apps. I prefer Google Play since the Play Store functions slightly more automatically than Amazon. You’ll also find that only the apps on your device at the time of reset will return. This is usually what most people want, but there have been times when I’ve needed other apps.

Getting the missing apps

If you need to find your missing apps, simply visit the Play Store from your device and click on My Apps from the left menu.

My apps Menu Google Play Store

The My apps screen will show all of your subscriptions, installed apps, and lastly, all of the apps you’ve every purchased or installed.

Installed Apps in Google Play

You’ll see “Install” next to any apps not currently in the download queue. I suggest you wait 15 or 20 minutes for Amazon or Google to queue up all of your apps, before you start adding apps.

Cleanliness is next to godliness . . .

My policy is to keep my “daily driver” devices as “clean” as possible. That means I get rid of as much junk as possible and try to eliminate unnecessarily stored data.

Factory reset can make your device run better, smoother, and improve its overall quality. Factory reset is regular hygiene for your Android device.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.