How to Backup and Reset an Android Phone

Having problems with your Android smartphone? A factory data reset can fix most issues that can occur on an Android phone. This process will clear the entire phone and revert it back to how it was when it came off the assembly line. Any incorrect settings, glitches, bugs, viruses, or software problems on the device will be wiped clean. The phone is going to think its brand new right out of the box.

Since the factory data reset erases the content and information on the device this article also covers how to backup your important data such as pictures, contacts, text messages, etc. that way when you reset the phone you won’t lose any of your important information.

If you’re looking for instructions on how to fully backup and reset your Android smartphone then this step by step guide is exactly what you’re looking for.

Step 1: Software vs Hardware

The instructions found on this page will only fix software related issues (how the phone thinks, its brains), NOT hardware (its body and parts). If your phone is suffering from a hardware or physical issue then read Tips on how to fix a broken phone. If your phones not responsive or you are unable to navigate at all then click here for specialized instructions. Otherwise proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Saving your Information

The first thing that you are going to want to do before resetting your Android phone is to make sure that the important information that’s currently saved on the phone is backed up to a place other than the phone. That way, once you reset the unit, you can put your information back onto your phone and you won’t lose anything. If you have already saved everything on your mobile or don’t need anything to be saved then proceed to step 7.

If you have a Memory Card go to step 3, if you don’t have a memory card go to step 4.

If you’re not sure if you have a memory card, here is how you can check.

  1. Go to your home page, the main screen when you turn on your phone (tap the home key, it’s one of the 4 physical buttons on the bottom underneath the phones display, usually looks like a house)
  2. Tap on your menu key, (it’s one of the four buttons too, usually on the far left.)
  3. Tap settings, (once you tap on the menu key, the phone should show a few options on its screen, one of those options is settings, select settings.)
  4. Scroll to and select Storage, (It should give you a list of options to choose from. Scroll down and select the option that has the word storage in it. This option will be different depending on what type of phone you have; it will say either “Storage” or “SD and Phone Storage”, etc. click on that storage option.
  5. Look for an option that says “Mount SD card” or “Unmount SD card”, if the phone is reading a memory card then it will say “Unmount SD card”, the phones basically saying I see a memory card in me, do you want me to unmount it so you can take it out without having to power me off first? If it says “mount”, then the phone is not reading a memory card and it will probably be grayed out not even letting you click it.
  6. Don’t click it! If you clicked it, don’t worry it won’t hurt it, just click it again. It needs to read unmount if you want to save stuff to your memory card.

Mount SD = No Memory card

Unmount SD = You have a Memory Card

If that’s too complicated, didn’t make sense, or the issue on your phone won’t let you do that than just look for a physical chip that plugs into your phone, different phones have them in different places, sometimes you have to pull the battery out of the phone to get to it, sometimes it plugs into the side or the bottom, it just depends on the phone. Remember it’s NOT your SIM card that you’re looking for.  SD or Memory cards usually say SanDisk on them and often a size like 2GB (two gigabytes) 4GB, 6GB, 8GB, 16GB etc. Some phones come with them some don’t. If you got one proceed to step 3, if not step 4.

Step 3: Saving Information to SD Card

Good you have a memory card! Great investment, you never know if and when your phone is going to stop powering on or give you a white screen of death and you won’t be able to save or transfer your info then.

Saving your information to your memory card is going to be different depending on who made your phone. Select the manufacturer below, it will take you to those instructions. Once you backup your photos, videos, music, etc. come back to this page and proceed to step 5. If you want to back up your information to other places other than your SD card you can go to step 4.

Step 4: Other Ways to Save Information

No Memory card? Bummer, you should get one after we fix your phone, they make your life so much easier and help your phone run smoother too. Do some shopping online for some good deals on memory cards, or read this page on what memory card is right for you. It’s never a bad investment and if you get another phone it will make transferring your information to that other phone a lot easier on you. But I digress; here are a few ways that you can backup your info.

Method 1 - Computer Backup

Your best bet is to backup your information to a computer. I’m going to briefly outline how to do that below.

Connect your phone to the computer – your charging cable that came with the mobile and your data cable are one in the same. Simply, gently, pull on the cable part and the part that actually plugs into the wall outlet.  It should separate into 2 different pieces. If your cable was damaged or no longer available you’re going to need to get another one, click here to get the best deal on one. I recommend you have one, one way or the other, so that you can get into the good habit of backing up your phone on a regular basis.

Once you plug the phone into the computer, the computer should recognize the phone and a pop-up will show on your computer screen giving you some options. You want to select the last option. You want to select the option that says something like “open folders to view files”. If nothing pops up on your computer then look at your phone. If you have an option that says “mass storage” you want to click that, it might also have“transfer information”, “connect to computer”, etc. mass storage is most common, once you click on that then wait a min and the “open folder to view files” option should pop up.

Once you click on the “open folder to view files” on the computer, it’s going to show you a few manila envelope looking folders. Look for the one that says “DCIM”. That DCIM folder is where all the pictures and videos that were taken and are saved onto your phone are located. If you want, you can click on that DCIM then click on Camera and you should see all your pictures.

What you need to do is right click that DCIM folder (right click on your mouse not left click) then select “copy” (left click the mouse on copy). After you click copy, you need to minimize (not close) that window on the computer (look in the upper right hand corner, click on the box that looks like a minus sign “_” not the close “X”.

Once that screen is minimized, right click on an empty spot on your desktop (the screen you see when you first turn on your computer), then tap on “Paste”. That will paste a copy of all your pictures/videos from your phone onto your computer. You should see a new file/folder on your desktop that says DCIM, go ahead and open it, make sure all your pictures are there.

It’s as easy as that. You’re going to want to open that window that has all your phones folders back up and repeat the process for any other information you’re going to want to save from your phone. That might include a music folder, maybe an app folder, etc the main thing is your pictures. Don’t worry about saving your names and phone numbers. We’ll get to saving your contacts in a minute. Just save any other files from your phone onto your computer.

Once everything is saved onto your computer you can close that window that shows your phones files, and go into my computer, right click on the drive that’s showing your phone, and selecting unmount/safely remove/eject etc. if you don’t see that, or that steps to complicated just unplug your phone from the computer. Once it’s unplugged go into your computer and make sure you can open those files/folders you saved onto your computer, just to double check. Then if everything is saved proceed to step 5 below.

Method 2 - Google Drive

It’s ok if you don’t have a computer or memory card, there are a few other options, just a little more involved. What I would recommend is to (if your phone will allow you) go to the app marketplace and download the app named Google Drive, it’s made by Google Inc. Just go to the marketplace and do a search for Google Drive, it will be the first option that pops up. It’s actually an app written by Google designed to backup info and from what I have seen, it’s pretty slick. What it does is actually allows you to backup up to 5GB worth of information onto Google’s online server. Don’t worry no one else can see your stuff. Best part is that you get 5GB FREE! I don’t know about you but free is always in my price range. 5GB should be more than enough space for the average user.

Once downloaded and installed then go into your pictures, tap the menu key, tap share, then share to Drive. This will upload your pictures online where they will be nice and safe.

Note: this WILL use up data from your data plan if you’re not connected to WiFi (wireless internet). I always recommend that if you can use a wireless internet then use it! It’s usually cheaper and faster.

Method 4 - Text or Email

A little more tedious but doable – is to send your info via text or email. Just open a message, attach file, select a file like a picture, type in person’s cell phone number or better yet email address, and send the file that way. Again, Tedious but doable. I would also check where ever you are sending your information just to make sure that it sent and was received correctly.

Note: when sending pictures through text messaging there is often a loss of quality. It’s not an incredible difference in resolution but just FYI.

Method 5 - Bluetooth Transfer

Bluetooth the information to another device – most of the time when we think of Bluetooth we think of our phone connecting to a headset or the Bluetooth in our car but Bluetooth can be used to transfer your information as well. The simplest way to Bluetooth info is to download an app to help you. Go to the marketplace aka Play Store and search for “Bluetooth File Transfer”. It pretty much streamlines the entire process. Great app and again free.

Step 5: Saving Contacts

I have talked about pictures and videos and thrown around the word information but one of the most important things that are found on a mobile phone is its contacts! Well, when it comes to your address book the android phones got you covered. Your android phone automatically backs up your contacts for you. All you will need to do to get your contacts back after a reset, or if you get another phone, as long as it’s an android phone, is log into your Gmail account again. Gmail not only backs up your contacts and calendar but it’s also your online signature. When you buy an app the marketplace remembers your Gmail account and if you need to download it again then guess what… you won’t have to pay for it again. Another great idea by the all powerful GOOGLE!

Important Note: While a primary Google account can and should provide you with a backup of your phones Contacts (aka it’s Phone Book, Address Book, Telephone numbers, etc.) I highly suggest that you have at least one other backup available should your Google account not re-sync your Contacts as it should. This is uncommon of course but better safe than sorry when it comes to something as important as your Contacts.

Check your Google Account

Checking your Gmail account (the basics) - first let’s make sure you know your Gmail account. Many people set and forget, don’t fret if you don’t know it. To check your Gmail account, go into your settings and open the option that says accounts (it might say “accounts and sync”), under accounts it will show all the accounts that you have associated with your mobile device (like email accounts Facebook accounts etc). Look for the option that has an account that ends in @gmail.com for example it might look something like thisismygmailaccount@gmail.com. That is going to be your Gmail account (unless you have two Gmails, if you have two Gmail accounts then the Gmail that’s synced to your phone is the 1st one you added to the phone).

Note: you can check if it’s your Gmail account by actually clicking on the account and at the bottom it will have a remove account option. If you click it, your phone WILL NOT let you remove your Gmail account, a primary Gmail account is that important. In fact, the only way to remove a primary Gmail, once it’s on your phone, is to erase everything from the phone, which coincidently is what we want to do. --UPDATE: newer Android phones that run on Android Version 4.0 or later may allow you to remove your primary Gmail account without having to factory data reset your device --.

Make sure you know that Gmail account, write it down if you need to, we are going to need it later. After you have it written down then click on your Gmail account (click on that email on your accounts page that you’re still on). Once you open it up it will have a few items that the phone is syncing. This list gets bigger and bigger, but the list should have sync contacts, sync Google, sync calendar, etc. on many phones (HTC can be so user friendly) there is a sync now option. Click on that, once you click “sync now” it’s going to put some spinning circles next to those options letting you know that its syncing. Once those spinning circles disappear it should show the days date next to the options in that list. If the spinning circle stops spinning, especially on the calendar option, just give it a minute or sync it again. Sometimes the calendar ones stubborn, unless you have really important information on your calendar and the date next to it is way off then don’t worry if that circle won’t disappear. It happens and is not a big deal in the slightest.

After your phone is synced to Gmail make sure to actually check and verify that your contacts are saved to your Gmail account properly.

Note: If you don’t have a “sync now” option then just click on the list item itself. So for example click “sync contacts” if it deselects then reselect it and it will manually sync. As long as the date next to sync contacts is showing the days date then you’re address book is synced to your Gmail and you’re good to go.

Note: you can check to make sure you know your Gmail accounts password by getting on a computer, going to mail.google.com and signing in. If you can sign in on a computer you can sign in on your phone. You can also reset your password on that website if you need to.

Important Update (June 2014): If you want to know unequivocally that your contacts are synced to your Gmail account and want to try and avoid any re-syncing issues that can occur then you should go to www.google.com/contacts and log into your Google account. It will list all of the contacts that are synced to your Gmail and this list of contacts is what will re-sync to your cell phone once you log back into your Google account after the factory reset. If you visit that webpage and it does not show any of your names or phone numbers from your cell phones address book or the list of telephone numbers that are shown on that webpage is incomplete and doesn’t match the contacts currently saved to your Android cell phone (minus the contacts which your Android may have synced from social media sites such as Facebook) then your contacts are not synced to your Google account properly for whatever reason and you should try to back them up using one of the other contact backup methods listed below.

Saving your contacts on something other than your Gmail

If you have confirmed that your contacts are synced to your Gmail then you shouldn’t NEED to do the following and can proceed to step 6. However it would be a good idea to back your contacts up to a place other than your Gmail. Having a hard copy rather than it stored only in cyberspace can be a real lifesaver, especially if you’re not sure what your Gmail account password is. Better to be safe than sorry, and having multiple copies is a GOOD IDEA.

Saving contacts to your SIM card

Some phones do not have SIM Cards; it depends on what wireless carrier you use. Wireless providers that use phones that run on GSM technology require SIM Cards to function. AT&T and T-Mobile both use SIM Cards in their wireless devices. Verizon and Sprint phones don’t have SIM Cards. If you use a phone that has a SIM Card then backing up your contacts to that SIM can be one of the best choices available.

A SIM card, its official name being subscriber identity module if you ever have to answer a trivia question, will allow you to save 250-300 contacts onto it, usually 250. Sims will usually only hold names and phone numbers, sorry it won’t hold your pictures, and it will not hold fax number street addresses etc. so when you’re saving contacts to your SIM if you get an “Some information might be lost” message, that’s what its letting you know, only names and phone numbers.

The backup process varies depending on the device your using. On some phones you have to back up your contacts one at a time and it’s just torture, I’m having flashes of the ATT HTC Inspire, where to save on the SIM you have to do it one contact at a time, and a business phone can have a thousand contacts and its painful, luckily that phone comes with a memory card and you can import/export the contacts to the SD card from the phone in a matter of seconds. It just saves it as a v-card file. But I digress again.

Typically to back up your contacts from your phone to your SIM card you go into your contacts/people, tap your menu key, tap More, select SIM Management, tap Copy Contacts to SIM, select all, copy/export, tap ok, and your done. If you don’t see a SIM management option then look for an Import/Export option and Export/Copy to SIM.

Now you have a hard copy of your contacts as well as your Gmail. If you don’t have a memory card proceed to step 6, if you do, you’re in luck you can save way more than 250 contacts to your SD card.

Saving contacts to your SD card

This varies depending on the phone as well, so I will list a few of the common methods.

Method 1 (usual HTC method)

Go to your people, press your menu key, select import/export, select export to SD card, it will ask you where you want export from, select Phone, press ok. And you’re done.

Method 2 (usual Samsung method)

Go into your contacts, tap your menu key, tap Import/export, and export to SD card, if it asks you “are you sure you want to copy your contacts to your memory card” you press ok. And then you’re done.

Method 3

The Method 1 and 2 pretty much sum up most phones. You might have to poke around a bit on your phone but you just want to export your contacts to your memory card (also shown as SD Card on most phones).

Note: If you need to pull contacts onto your phone from a memory card then go to import/export again and select Import this time. Then Import the contacts to the phone (not Gmail). It’s as easy as pie.

Note: saving contacts to a memory card is a lot faster than saving them onto a SIM card; it’s probably going to finish very fast and might not show you a “processing” message. Once you go through method 1 or 2 it should take you back to your contact list and be done. You can back them up twice to make sure that it really saved if you worry as I sometimes do. It won’t hurt it or anything and you won’t get duplicate contacts if you need to import them back onto your phone. If/when you import them just don’t chose “import all files” you need to select the file with the most resent date on it.

Step 6: Check your Apps and Texts

Go through your phone and check you’re saved text messages, and check you’re apps. Your applications are going to need to be re-downloaded onto your phone after the reset (most of the time, the newest phones running the 4.x.x Ice Cream Sandwich or higher often sync your apps too, but that’s something you don’t need to worry about). Some people have a lot of apps on their phone and when they do a reset and go to re-download their apps they say to themselves “what apps did I have again?” Just write down the apps you don’t think you will be able to remember so that you can find and re-download them again if you need to.

As for your texts messages, make sure to record those as well. There’s not really any default way to save texts, even if you have a memory card. HOWEVER someone did recognize the need to save texts messages and there is a trick to it. If you absolutely need to save your text messages then you can look into the options mentioned in How to backup and save text messages on an Android phone.

Note: If your phone is capable of taking screenshots (most current Android phones running on Android 4.0 or higher allow you to take screenshots) then instead of writing this information down you can simply take a screenshot of it, move the screenshot(s) from the phones storage to an SD card or computer, and you will have a copy of your message. ~**Suggestion submitted by Ruairí O'Neill on 12/03/2013 click here to read his comment**~

You can also use this screenshot trick to help you remember how you customized your phone after you bought it. If you added or moved icons to or from the phones desktop then when you reset the phone these icons may not appear in the same places that you put them, as they return to their default locations. By taking screenshots of the changes that you made to your desktop, apps, messages, or other parts of your phone you can save yourself the headache of trying to remember where you had everything before you performed the reset. This is just a cool little tip that you should consider when performing a hard reset on an Android phone.

When you have your texts and apps recorded proceed to step 7.

Step 7: Proceed with Reset

Your phone is completely backed up and we are ready to proceed with the reset. What we need to do is find the option to do a Factory Data Reset. This too depends on the make, model and software currently on your phone. Here are two of the most common methods on how to perform a factory data reset through the settings of an android phone. IMORTANT NOTE: if there is an option to erase your memory card, make sure that that option is NOT selected, you do NOT want to erase/format your memory card.

Method 1

Home key > Menu key > Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset, when on the reset page you’re going to get a big warning that you’re about to erase the information on your phone and that you should know your Gmail account and backup your phone (pretty much what we went over and have already done in these instructions). Click on Reset phone, and then click Erase Everything. The phone will power itself off all by its self and then power itself back on all by itself. It can take a few minutes to boot back up. Once it does proceed to step 8.

Method 2

Home key > Menu key > Settings > SD and Phone Storage > Factory Data Reset >you’ll see the same warning showed in method 1 > Reset Phone > Erase Everything. After it reboots go to step 8.

Method 3

If you’re on the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Operating System or later then try this method.

Drag down the Notification Bar (the black bar on the top of the screen where the signal strength bars, battery life, and clock is located), and then tap the settings icon (the icon that looks like a little white gear). Or to get to the settings you can go to the home page, press the Menu key, and then tap Settings.

Once in the Settings scroll down and tap the “Back up and reset” option.

Tap Factory data reset > Reset device > Delete all. After it reboots go to step 8.

Step 8: Setup the Phone

Congratulations, you made it through my lengthy instruction manual on how to backup, reset, and hopefully more importantly, fix your android phone. Now what you need to do is setup your android phone like you did when you first purchased it. Go through those settings and when it asks or prompts you to log into your Gmail account make sure you, add a Gmail account, and then Sign in, NOT sign up. You want to sign into an existing account (the one we checked earlier in step 5) you don’t want to create a new account.

Log into your Gmail account, if it doesn’t ask you to log into one during the phone setup then go to Settings > Accounts (or Accounts and Sync) > Add Account > Sign In. If you’re Mobile asks if you want to sync your phone to your Gmail then select yes, you’re going to want to sync your phone with your Gmail account.

Step 9: Enjoy your Working Phone

Your phone should now be working correctly, so enjoy.

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading this guide on how to backup and reset an Android cell phone. If you found this article helpful, or informative and would like to show your gratitude then please don’t forget to show me you liked it by pressing the Facebook Like and Google + buttons or by sharing it through any of the social sites shown at the bottom of this guide. I’d really appreciate it. If you would like then don’t hesitate to also leave a friendly remark, suggestion, or comment below.

Thanks again for reading and visiting the site don’t be afraid to visit some of the other articles, guides and post on this website to learn even more about your Android smartphone. Enjoy.

Step 10: Additional Suggestions/Advice

I recommend that you try your phone without any apps on it, and as a clean installation for a couple days, just to make sure everything is working correctly. After a couple days, if your phones still working fine, then start re-downloading your applications, one at a time. Download an app try it out for a day or two, download another app try it out. If you download an app and your phone starts acting funny, then it’s probably that app and you should uninstall it and not use it any more.

Step 11: Still Having Problems

If for some reason this troubleshooting didn’t fix your issues, I can’t fix my phone, now what should I do? might be of some use.

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129 Comments

Resetting the pattern lock on the Huawei Ascend Y300

Hello Nazna,

That password option is there for a reason. If you could still access a password protected phone without using the password then there wouldn’t be much point in a password in the first place…

You can check out How to unlock an Android phone when its password has been forgotten BUT all in all I think that you’re most likely in the right place as a hard reset will erase the current password or pattern lock from the phone BUT it’s also going to erase those “important files” as well.

Try, try, and try again to bypass it with your Google Account info. I know that you mentioned that you “don’t know” your Gmail information but go online to https://accounts.google.com click the “Need help?” link and Google will provide you with some account recovery options. It even has an “I don’t know my username” option incase that’s one of the problems. Hopefully you can gain access to your Gmail account again and then the phone itself.

App/Game Settings

Just want to clarify something before I do this. First off, thank you for this post and such detailed instructions. If a game is stored on my SD card, all the info about current scores, levels, etc should be retained after the factory reset, correct?

That is correct. It should be safe from a factory reset

Yes, that is correct Jeremy. If the applications information is saved to the phones memory card then a factory reset should not affect that information.

The actual application(s) or game(s) that you currently have on your device might not restore themselves automatically so don’t panic if the app isn’t on your phone right after the reset. It is common for the app itself to get saved onto the phones storage while its data (such as high score’s, unlocked characters, coins, levels and other information) can be stored on the SD card. If this is the case and the app isn’t automatically restored then you might have to manually re-download the app from the Play Store. Once the app is back on your smartphone it should automatically search your memory card and restore any information that it finds.

So, yes. If the applications data is stored to the memory card it will be safe from the factory reset. Just make sure that you don’t accidently choose to format the SD Card as well.

Good question Jeremy, if you would like to read some additional information about factory resets then you might find Frequently asked Questions about Hard Resetting an Android cell phone helpful as well.  

question about reset and external SD card...

Hi there,

I have a Samsung Galaxy (older model phone...) and want to perform the factory reset. I'm a little afraid to actually push the button because it says at the bottom (under what will be erased): "The key for decrypting files on the SD card. (You cannot use files on the SD card after a factory data reset). I recently bought an external SD card and have saved all my contacts, photos, ringtones, etc to it, as you suggest. Will the external SD card be affected?

I'd really like to do a factory reset. My phone is running very slow.

Thank you for your excellent tutorials! Any advice would be appreciated!
Kate <><

Great Question – That Reset warning is little misleading

What a terrific question Kate. You certainly want to be able to “use files on the SD card after a factory data reset”. What would be the point of backing up your files and other information to your memory card if you weren’t able to access them later?

Fortunately that warning message is just a tad misleading. It’s a reminder that if you chose to encrypt the data on your SD card the encryption key that your phone uses to access those encrypted files will be erased after a factory reset.

Typically the average Android smartphone user doesn’t have a need to encrypt the information saved to their SD card. As such you could remove that memory card from your phone, plug it into another compatible smartphone and be able to access all of the information on that memory card. This makes it really easy when you upgrade to a different device, create a backup of your cell phones information, or need to transfer data from one phone to another.

If however you had important information saved to your smartphone (such as documents or files for work) and you didn’t want someone else to have access to those files then you could encrypt them so that only your phone can access them. Heck an unsavory individual might not know your screen unlock pattern so they wouldn’t be able to unlock your phone but what is to keep them from pulling your SD card out of your phone, inserting it into theirs, and opening your files? An encryption, that’s what.

So… if you never personally setup your phone to encrypt the files on your SD card you should have no problem accessing any files saved to your memory card after performing a hard reset on your Android smartphone.

If you want to make absolutely sure that your phones “SD card encryption is turned off” so you won’t have to worry about this being a problem in any way shape or form then you can check this feature by going into your device Settings, find and open the Security option, and there should be an Encrypt external SD card option, tap on that and make sure that SD card encryption is turned off.

If it’s turned off then you have nothing to worry about. You can double check to make sure that your information is backed up to your memory card correctly and then proceed with the factory data reset.

So great question, I hope that helps. If you have any more questions then be sure to ask.

Thank you!

Thank you SO much for taking the time to answer my question! I understand about the encryption now... it really had me worried. :)

I've bookmarked this page in case of future problems. I really appreciate all the detail you put into your explanations.

Thank you so much for an awesome website!

Kate <><

Easy to use instructions

Thanks very much, I could follow these instructions and hope my phone is now working again. Only 24 days old and kept turning itself off. I had to take out the battery to be able to turn it back on.

I have an htc one...

I have an htc one (with orange back cover) from boostmobile. My problem is that I connected my bluetooth to my Toyota tundra and was connected fine but then I was trying to just disconnect the phone part not the audio.and somehow wouldn't work so I unpaired devices now iI try to find or locate by scanning and i can't find them to pair. ?? :( is there anyway to make discoverable again to my truck. I turn on and make my HTC discoverable to all devices but can't find my truck on my cell nor my cell on my truck.. plz help.. plz email so I can get ur answer I don't know how I would be able to acknowledge your response.. and thank u in advance

Trying to re-pair your Bluetooth connection

From the description of your cell phone it sounds like you have the HTC One SV… I have seen similar things like that happen on smartphones before and sometimes it can be a stubborn thing to try and fix and get working properly again. Since it was connected and working originally hopefully it won’t be too much of a chore to get up and running again.

Try to remove the pairing of your HTC One from your Toyota (if possible) then power your phone completely off for a minute, power your cell phone back on, and then try to re-pair the connection. This simple thing can often help to fix a troublesome Bluetooth connection so before doing anything else make sure that you try this suggestion a couple of times.

Did you adjust or change any of the settings through your Toyota Tundra or was it pretty much all through the phone itself? What have you done so far in order to try and fix it yourself? Out of curiosity, since you are posting a comment under a guide on how to backup and reset an Android smartphone, did you try to backup and reset your HTC yet? If there is a lingering setting on the phone then a reset will wipe that setting off the device BUT a hard reset is kind of a last resort as it erases everything else off of the phone as well. So hold off on a factory data reset for now if you haven’t done one already as it’s often a LAST RESORT.

Let me know if you were able to re-pair the Bluetooth connection yourself and if not then let me know what you already tried to fix it and we can go from there. Thanks Jacquelyn I hope to hear back from you soon.

Trying to back up contacts

Thank you for this article which was very helpful and allowed me to finally get photos from my HTC One S to my laptop, by using windows to let me open and view folders and then copying and pasting the DCIM folder. I had downloaded HTC device manager, but even though it launches every time I connect the phone by usb to the laptop, it then tells me it cannot detect my phone, and so I cannot use it to back up. However, I have had no luck backing up my contacts. In my gmail account only 9 contacts are listed. I did "sync now" but got nothing more. There are more than 200 contacts on my phone (listed under "people") and I don't understand why they are not being synced. Is there any other way of getting my contacts from the phone to the computer, apart from copying them out manually? Thanks for all your tips.

Hey thanks a lot!

Hey thanks a lot! The stepwise details are great!

Phone Internet

The advice here saved my phone i was able to get my phone to connect to wifi thanks

Contacts in Gmail

I did everything you say, made sure gmail contacts were synced. But I did the reset and can't get my contacts back. I had also saved them to my computer, but can't get them from the computer back to the device (samsung galaxy 2).

That’s uncommon but it can happen after a reset…

Hello Cara,

It’s rare but I have seen where Google didn’t re-sync contacts like it should have after a factory reset. Even after confirming that the contacts were synced, by date and time, and everything was done as it should have been.

I always recommend having a secondary backup of your contacts just in case your Google doesn’t re-sync properly like it should. Thus the “Important Note” under step 5 which I just made BOLD for emphasis as you are not the first person to contact me about this happening. Luckily you “also saved them to a computer) so there is hope depending on how you saved them.

If you want to know unequivocally that your contacts are synced without a doubt to your Gmail account you could go to www.google.com/contacts and then log into your Google account. It will list all of the contacts that are synced to your Gmail and this list of contacts is what will re-sync to your cell phone once you log back into your Google account after a reset. If you visit www.google.com/contacts and it doesn’t show any of your names or phone numbers from your address book and that contact list is empty or incomplete then your contacts are not synced to your Gmail properly for whatever reason and you should secure your contacts by using another backup method, or two, or three before performing the factory data reset.

I am actually going to add that bit of advice to the article as well as its something good to know when confirming your contacts are synced to your Google account properly.

Don’t neglect that second backup guys and gals it can be a real life saver when it comes to restoring your information back to your cell phone. A GOOD Memory Card or a PC is a great place to create a backup of your information just so that you know that you have a hard copy should you ever need it. And try to get into a good habit of periodically backing up your info just in case your phone unexpectedly gets damaged or malfunctions.

All that being said, let’s see if we can’t recover your contacts from that PC backup that you were awesome enough to create … How exactly did you back it up to your computer? I am assuming that you plugged your Samsung Galaxy S2 into your computer, tapped “Open folders to view files” on your PC, looked for a “contacts” option and then copied and then pasted the “Contacts.vcf” from your Samsung to your PC? If that’s what you did then there is hope. As you should be able to copy that “Contacts.vcf” from your computer and paste it back to your phones storage (overriding the current new Contacts.vcf that got created after the hard reset) or even better you could save it to an external SD card aka memory card and then import it onto the phone.

If you have a memory card and that’s something that you have the option of doing then you can reference how to import contacts from a memory card onto a Samsung smartphone for step by step instructions and you won’t have to override any contacts that you may have added after the reset. I used my Samsung Galaxy S4 for the screenshots in that guide but the steps should be pretty similar to the Samsung Galaxy S2 and I doubt you will have too much trouble importing them properly.

I hope that helps Cara. If you need any more help or have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

How to Backup and Reset an Android Phone

James Bond is the greatest, his answer was so easy to understand. After hours and hours of searching on the web I was about to explode! And then his answer came over the Smart Mobile Phone Solutions website. He spent so much time going over step by step instructions of what I needed to do. I thank you so much James. And I recommend you highly to everyone, and especially to the older people who have a hard time understanding all of the computer lingo.

Thank you Lori, I really appreciate it

Thank you Lori for taking the time to post such a friendly and flattering comment simply to express your gratitude, I greatly appreciate it.

I do try to make my guides and articles as user friendly and as easy to follow as I can so when I get positive feedback like this from my readers it makes me very happy.

Thanks again Lori.

Thank you everyone who has shared and commented

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to post similar remarks as well as those who have shared this guide and other articles throughout the site by pressing the Facebook Like and Google + buttons typically found at the bottom of each article. By sharing and linking back to this page it helps it rank higher in the search engines and makes it easier for other people to find and benefit from.

So thanks again everyone, if you have any questions about resetting your smartphone or ever have any more questions regarding your cell phone then don’t hesitate to stop by and ask.

I have successfully reset my phone...

I have successfully reset my phone but my pictures aren't on my phone I always backed up my pictures after taking them how do I retrieve my pictures from back up.

It depends on what type of backup you used

Hi Minchelle,

Restoring your pictures to the phone is going to depend on what type of backup method that you used to save them. Good job in always backing up your pictures after taking them by the way. That’s a very good habit to have, especially if your phone isn’t setup to save pictures directly to a memory card.

It doesn’t sound like you backed up your pictures to an SD card as they should have restored themselves when the phone restarted after the reset. It kind of sounds like you might have used an App to upload them online and store them in “The Cloud”. If that’s true or you used an app to create your backups then make sure to re-download that app and install it to the phone again. If you had an account (like a Google account) associated with that app then make sure that you use that same information again so that it will recover the correct information linked to that account.  

I hope that helps Minchelle. If you have any more questions or need any more help just let me know what phone you are using and as much information as you can to describe your particular circumstances and I will see what I can do to try and help.

Hi.. How can I retrieve my messages?

Hi.. How can I retrieve my messages? Because I updated my phone's software and I forgot to back-up my messages and after I updated it, I wasn't able to receive any text messages but I can send a message. How can I fix this? Should I reset my factory data? Can you help me, ASAP? Thanks! :)

Trying to retrieve your messages

Hi Kate,

That kind of thing can happen from time to time. The next time you update your Androids software try not to forget to create a backup of your phones information first. Just in case something happens. It’s usually uncommon but a backup can help avoid update complications that you won’t have to try and resolve later. Better safe than sorry. But I digress, it’s easy to forget.

Are you using your original messenger or a third party messaging app from the Play Store? Here is what I would try… I would begin by restarting the phone; maybe a soft reset will get it to correct itself and work properly and you won’t have to do anything special. Then I would check for software updates, maybe your messaging app didn’t update like it was supposed to and a quick update will fix it. If that doesn’t help then yes, I personally would perform a hard reset to try and clear up any issues. Before resetting though try to use an App like SMS backup and restore to make a copy of your messages. You might be able to restore them to the phone after the reset. Oh and don’t forget to back up the rest of your important info as well. If you need help with this then the article above will help walk you through it.

I hope that helps Kate, if you have any issues or other questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you so much...

Thank you so much, this really helped !!

The phone automatically restarts

I still need your help to solve the problem with my phone.
1. The cell phone is automatically restarting whenever I go to setting --> application. That's why I cannot remove/ uninstall any applications. I am using Viber but it now cannot be opened whereas the other application like Gmail, Yahoo, Google still work well.
2. All of contacts and messages disappear.
The phone is Sony Xperia.
What should I do with the phone to fix it?
Thank you a lot!

Try to disable third party apps by using the Safe Mode feature

Hi Nguyen,

That is an odd issue my friend, very odd indeed.

If it’s an application that is causing your phone to reboot (very likely) then you should be able to disable it and remove it from the phone completely using Safe Mode. Safe Mode instructs an Android smartphone to run without any third party apps and is a great tool for troubleshooting app related issues.

I am not sure what model of Sony Xperia you are using but there should be a few different ways to access this Safe Mode feature on your phone.

Since your phone is powering on you should be able to access Safe Mode by pressing the power button (with the phone on) which should show you the option to “power off” your Xperia. Instead of briefly tapping that “Power off” option press down on it until a Safe Mode prompt appears; then press OK. The phone should restart into Safe Mode (you should be able to see a Safe Mode label on the screen when the Safe Mode feature is activated). With Safe Mode enabled you should be able to remove applications without any problems.

Once you’re done using Safe Mode simply restart your cell phone and enjoy.

Great! Thank you!

Great! Thank you! Its indeed really helpful!

Is there hope?

I was accidentally tinkering with my phone and held the volume up and power button. When I restarted, all of my data was gone (it was on the sd), I didn't know what a hard reset was then but I searched around and found out what I did. Anyways, is there any hope of getting my data back??

There is always hope

Hi Joe,

There is nothing wrong with tinkering, especially when it comes to Android smartphones.

A strange situation you have there too. If you did in fact accidently press a key combination to perform a hard reset on your cell phone then you should have had to confirm the reset; it should not have just reset (you can read more about performing a hard reset with your cell phones buttons HERE).

So very strange… it might not have performed a hard reset after all, it might just be a glitch in the software. Try to power cycle your cell phone (turn it off and on) and if that doesn’t work then try removing the battery (if your phone is designed to allow you to remove its battery that is) and then leave the battery out for a minute or two. Reboot and see if your information comes back.

Have you downloaded any applications recently or done anything unusual when you were “tinkering”?

Thank you for trying to help me out.

Thank you for trying to help me out. I appreciate it. Although I lost my data, I left my phone alone for about 5 hrs and all of a sudden my data came back. It was a miracle. I really am happy that you decided to help me out. Thanks a lot for responding quickly. It feels good to know that there are people like you out there in the world helping people left and right. Thanks and god bless.

Don’t forget to create a backup

Glad to hear it Joe. Thank you, by the way, for the follow up. Don’t forget to create a backup of the information on your phone now that it’s back again. That way you will be prepared should your phone ever truly malfunction or if something unexpected does end up happening you will have a backup available.

Thank you for visiting the site Joe. Make sure to enjoy your working smartphone and your recently returned data.

I wish i had read your page before i reset my phone

I wish i had read your page before i reset my phone. Fortunately i was able to save all my contacts photos etc . It appears I've deleted the Google Play Store icon and i don't know how to get it back. I can't download my previous apps because they say they are already installed ?? Help please.

Reset and back up

Can i retrieve an app and its data after phone reset if i moved them to sd card?

Recovering App Data after a Factory Reset

Hi Venny,

Yes, the Applications data (so as long as it is stored on the SD card) should not be affected by a hard reset. You will likely need to re-download the app onto your phone again (assuming it’s a third party app that didn’t come pre-installed on the phone) but typically the app should automatically search for any data stored on the memory card and restore or make that information available again.

I hope that helps to answer your question. Don’t hesitate to also check out this Hard Reset FAQs Guide for more information about this particular topic and for answers to many other commonly asked questions concerning factory data resets.

restoring S-Memo on Samung Galaxy S3 I9300

Hi, I read through your very informative article, but didn't find an answer to my problem. I saved ALL the data from Galaxy s3 I9300 my phone's memory before doing a factory reset.
I reinstalled only a handful of the apps I previously had on my phone. The most important one being S-Memo, since I stored very important and sensitive information on that app.
But when copied the files back onto my phone, my memos on S-memo are no where to be found... I don't know what to do, I have the files for S-memo from my phone before I did the factory reset... What can I do??? please help!

Trying to restore backed up data to your Samsung

Hi Gregg,

Even though I have the Samsung Galaxy S4 which comes with S-Memo pre-installed I would like to confess upfront that I have yet to really use it as often as I could :).

How exactly did you backup and “save all of the data from your Samsung Galaxy S3” before doing the factory reset? Did you backup your information to a computer and if so did you use Kies? Or did you backup to an external SD card? I am assuming that you copied the “SMemo” folder from your Samsungs device storage (My Files > Device storage > SMemo) and then after the reset you copied that folder back to your S3s internal storage? Note: you may have to open S-Memo for your cell phone to create a new Folder which you can overwrite with your backup. If you still have your original files then that is where I would start and I would use a COPY option (if available) to Paste those files/folders back to the phone as opposed to using a Cut or Move option which can help you avoid a loss of data if the transfer doesn’t go right for whatever reason.

I hope that helps to answer your question Gregg. If you have any more questions or need any more help then let me know how you backed up your phones data and I will see what I can do to help you try and restore it.

Settings Error

I erased an important file on my phone and after that i could not get into my settings. Whenever trying to go onto the phone settings it said "unfortunately this program has stopped" our something like that. I did a factory reset by turning it off and holding the power and volume button. I performed the reset and turned on my phone. Here's where i don't get it. I was going through the set up phase of the phone, and at one point it requires you to open up settings. But when it attempts to, it give the same error message as before, and i can not bypass it. So now in basically stuck in the setup phase. Any idea on what i can do?

What is the error message?

I have some ideas as to what it might be (and how you might be able to fix it) but to help narrow things down a bit I don’t suppose you remember what the name of that file that you deleted was? How did you delete it by the way? Is your phone unlocked? Do you have super user access? Were you customizing your cell phones software? Which cell phone do you have?

Most importantly… what is the exact error message that your phone is giving you when you try and access your phones Settings?

If you are still having issues with your cell phone then let me know these things and I will do what I can to try and help you fix it.

T-Mobile Alcatel One Touch Fierce Settings Error

First of all, thanks for the speedy reply and sorry that it has taken me a while to get back.

This is an Alcatel one touch fierce. I did have super user access, unlocked phone, and I am not quite sure what file it was. I was deleting some pre-installed software so I'm more then sure that was the reason. I remember uninstalling T-Mobile software like the account and movie software they have on their phones, also deleted a movie viewer. The exact error massage was "Unfortunately, Settings has stopped."

Thanks again for your help and for at least looking into this.

Hum… you might have to start fresh

Hi again Victor,

You might have to start over with a fresh installation. At this point it sounds like something important was accidently lost or changed and you should be able to fix the problem by installing clean and functional software to the device. You can install stock or custom software to the device which should replace the incomplete software and get your Alcatel One Touch Fierce to start up and run properly again.

Awesome Guide

Awesome Instructions. Quite helpful even for those who are not tech savy..

Excellent tutorial

Hurray! I have reset my phone in 30 minutes using your clear, plain language instructions. Thank you.

whatsApp error, unable to open msg history

Please help me fix this problem. My LG optimus p7 phone always reboots itself frequently.Suddenly, i can no longer open my whatsApp. It shows whatsApp error, unable to open message history. Then i unistalled it and installed again after restarting my phone on several times but my "whatsApp has refused to open again. Now it displays the ff msg; WhatsApp has a problem and it need to be installed again. Tap on the button below to go to play store, uninstall whatsApp and install it again" Yet i have followed this instructions many times but still my whatsApp wouldnt open and i kept getting same message above. Please what should i do to solve this problem? Can i reset my phone to factory settings?

Battery removal

Hi, wondering if I will lose everything when I replace a battery in my Galaxy s3 smartphone?

Your phone and its information will be ok

Hi Bette,

Your phone will be fine. Removing the battery won’t cause any loss of data. Although removing the battery from a cell phone can be referred to as a soft reset only a hard reset will result in a loss of information. If you would like to read more about this feel free to review the differences between a hard and soft reset for more information.

So have no fear Bette, removing the current battery and inserting a new one won’t cause your Samsung Galaxy S3 to lose any of its information.

Huawei G700 won't factory reset

Hi folks, I'm from Riyadh K.S.A
I'm new to this site...
I've had my Huawei G700 for just 2 days and all of sudden my phone went into "safe mode". So I removed my phones battery, Sim card & SD card for few minutes and then returned everything back to the phone and rebooted the device but it was still going to safe mode.. I did a factory reset through the phones settings and it was the same so I tried a hard reset by using the power + volume up buttons and selecting "wipe data/fact. reset" but its still in safe mode.. it wont get off of safe mode..

So can anyone please help me out with this issue...

Thanks in advance...

How to fix a cell phone that’s stuck in Safe Mode

Hi Ishaq,

That can happen sometimes and it can be an elusive problem to try and resolve. Luckily there is an article on this very site which covers that exact issue which you can read at How to get an Android cell phone out of Safe Mode.

I think it’s going to be exactly what you are looking for. Your Huawei most likely has a malfunctioning volume button and that’s why you are having so much trouble getting it out of Safe Mode.

Backing up my phone

Hi. I am trying to backup my phone in order to reset it without losing everything. In section 4 of your guide (computer backup method), once I've plugged my phone in and clicked 'open folder to view files' I'm meant to click a DCIM folder. However, I seem to have no such folder. The options I get are - Document, Driver, Autorun and Mobile Partner.. Any idea why that is or what I can do?

That’s unusual…

Hi Toby,

That sounds like a setting on your specific computer that’s causing that window to pop-up instead. Try the Autorun option to see if that gets you to where you need to be. The phone should be “plug and play” and should automatically run as soon as you plug it in (assuming that everything is working properly of course).

If “Autorun” doesn’t work (and I think it will) then try the “Document” option instead and let me know what options are available in that file directory. From your description it sounds computer specific… have you tried a different computer yet, what type of computer are you trying to use and what cell phone are you trying to backup?

If you are still having issues then let me know as much information about your phone and the issue you are having and I will do what I can to try and help. A computer backup is a great idea and I certainly encourage you to create a backup on a computer if you have the opportunity to do so.  

Well I tried the autorun

Well I tried the autorun option and it just brings up a notepad which reads

"[Autorun]
Icon=Mobile Partner.ico
Label=Mobile Partner"

and in the Document folder, I only get a Copyright Notice.pdf, User Guide more languages and a Read Me file explaining how to change the language.

My Phone is a Kestrel from EE model: G535-L11. My laptop is a Dell LBL P/N: HY469 A00. I'm not sure if that's the model number or what. I'm not very good with technology as you can tell.

The reason I want to backup my phone is to reset it. I'm hoping that a reset will resolve my internet problem. I am connected to the internet but when I try to actually use it on my phone I just keep on getting "Network error".

There could just be a problem with my router but I can't see how that could be as the first time I tried it everything worked perfectly.

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