Android 2.3: How to Safely Factory Reset a Gingerbread Device

   Posted by David Kirk in Android

All devices running the Gingerbread Android OS can be factory reset (or wiped) using similar steps. This tutorial describes what a factory reset actually does and how to do it safely.

In preparing my Sony Ericsson review unit for return, I needed to remove all my personal data and wipe the device clean. Users frequently contact me with issues and problems in trying to reset these devices. Hopefully, these directions will save you some trouble.

What do the factory reset actually do?

The purpose of the factory reset is to wipe the device of all personal information and return the device as closely as possible to its originally purchased state. The only difference is that during the factory reset, however, the latest stable version of the Android OS will likely be installed. For example, if you are running 2.3.3 and 2.3.4 is available for your device, you will likely be upgraded to 2.3.4 when you perform the factor reset.

During the reset all personal information is removed. Optionally your SD card can be wiped as well. All applications are also removed. Android market will remember your paid applications and can optionally reinstall these applications for you. Your free applications typically will not be remembered. Even if the applications are installed to an SD card, these applications will still need to be reinstalled.

When Should I do a Factory Reset

If you are selling or returning a device, a factory reset will prevent somebody from easily stealing your personal data from the device. A factory reset is often a “last ditch” effort to get a very glitchy phone working well again.

Preparing for the Reset

select back up contacts
1. Connect your phone to AC through some method. Running out of power during the reset could theoretically brick your phone.

2. Be sure you know your Google username and password. Be sure that Google’s backup is enabled via Settings -> Privacy -> Back up my data

3. Export your contacts to your SD memory card if you wish. Select Contacts and then Back up contacts. Then you can select Memory card.

4. You may want to make a list of all the applications you have on your system. You can find the list through Settings -> Applications -> Manage Applications. Several free android applications will help with this process as well if you wish to try a third party option.

Wiping the Device

This process will completely wipe your device. Even if you backup everything as recommended above, you may lose some application data or settings. This is not a process that should be done lightly.

To factory reset, select Settings then Privacy and then Factory data reset.

A warning screen will next appear. From here you can select if you want the SD card in the device erased as well. Press the Erase button. You will have to confirm one last time via the Erase everything button. Your device will reboot and the reset process will be completed.

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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21 Responses to “Android 2.3: How to Safely Factory Reset a Gingerbread Device”

  1. October 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm, Noble said:

    Hi,

    Is there any way to reset a phone when the touch screen does not respond/

    Thanks

    Reply

    • March 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm, asim said:

      Thanks

      Reply

  2. October 29, 2011 at 5:58 am, jgordon5 said:

    Excellent, thank you. The only site I’ve found that gives the correct instructions!! Thank you!

    Reply

  3. January 04, 2012 at 6:41 pm, Ana Milena Araujo said:

    Hi, I’m sorry but my english is really bad. I’m so desperate, my tablet doesn’t start. It is completely die. I’m trying everything but nothing works…Do you know what can I do? IT is charging for almost an hour, i have reset it, i have pressed on buttom + home, on buttom +menu, and it is the same! sorry if you don’t understand me…but i’m really desperate! Thanks anyway

    Reply

  4. January 14, 2012 at 1:49 am, borge said:

    hi i hawe a new super pai iii tryed change language from chinese to english and pressed wrong row not moore start only buzz when press power on

    Reply

  5. April 05, 2012 at 2:57 pm, M3NTA7 said:

    @Noble, try removing the battery and putting it back in first. I know this is an old post.

    Reply

    • December 11, 2013 at 6:35 am, udhaya said:

      Hi,
      I’m using sansui sa40, in that while doing factory default its asking the password,what will be the password.

      Reply

  6. April 15, 2012 at 12:56 am, Stefano said:

    hi I dont know the email or passward and how do I reset to Factory?
    thx

    Reply

  7. May 14, 2012 at 12:20 am, RG said:

    ¬°Gracias! :-)

    Reply

  8. May 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm, Mps said:

    Phone asking password? what will i do?

    Reply

  9. June 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm, Domanik said:

    I dont know lock pattern or email account. When I try to hard reset a OS warning appears. What do I do??

    Reply

  10. June 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm, ankit said:

    after i have upgraded my phone to android ics, i’ve reset my phone via factory settings but i didnt get the original version of os(gingerbread) what should do ow?

    Reply

  11. November 03, 2012 at 12:19 pm, Calvin said:

    my x10 mini pro not downloading i need to flush or restart to its original,thank you

    Reply

  12. December 07, 2012 at 11:07 pm, Teree said:

    My daughter’s tmobile smart phone’s screen was recently smashed and a friend gave her a tmobile htc that he had added gingerbread version of android OS. We have tried everything to reset it so that my daughter can use her google account but nothing will work. We have taken it into tmobile and contacted the friend but no one can help us reset the phone. Any ideas?

    Reply

  13. January 15, 2013 at 7:23 am, pushpendra said:

    tel me what i do my tab. google android 2.3 os i click to menu then menu list open and click any option then close not open any options and install any software and restart my tab.then uninstall all new installed soft.(apk) please help me……….

    Reply

  14. April 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm, Profesor Yeow said:

    Thaks a lot !! Very useful

    Reply

  15. December 02, 2013 at 8:56 pm, Arturo said:

    Great! Very useful! Thank you Dave!

    Reply

  16. December 25, 2013 at 11:39 am, caylah said:

    I just recently changed my password number pin and I can’t seem to get the pin right. I’ve tried taking the battery out and waiting then restarting it and it still says I am wrong. Is there anyway I can reset this setting without having access to the main screen and without having to lose all my data. Please help me out thanks.

    Reply

  17. January 15, 2014 at 11:27 am, vishal said:

    How to 2.3.6verson android make4.0or4.1
    Pls give me answer or

    Reply

  18. February 03, 2014 at 11:24 pm, hardeep said:

    i have a reset my phone bt this time not a working only i hane power on the phone bt phone display shows xperia …….please help me

    Reply

  19. April 13, 2014 at 6:56 am, Tamilarasan said:

    sir i am using MAXX AX353 yesterday my mobile is patten locked many times try is asking email id and password i am try to factory reset in power button + vol+ but is asking
    full phone test
    view phone test result
    iterm test
    BT EUT
    ctp calibrate
    exit
    And another way to try power button + vol- is show ! symbol
    pleas tell to how to unlocked my phone

    Reply

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