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Resetting Samsung Galaxy phone / tablet to factory settings

Author: Vlad Brown

Data recovery specialist, guest author, journalist.

Updated on 02/29/2020

Contents:

What is factory reset?

A factory reset wipes out recorded data from your phone. Every single message, contact number, photo, music file, audio recording and mail setting will be deleted. Your tablet/phone will be "rolled back" to its factory (i.e. default) state.

When do you need to reset Samsung to factory settings?

It is very helpful when problems with your device can't be fixed in other ways. For example:

  • if you can't install any app from Google Play,
  • if your device doesn't operate correctly,
  • if errors occur during the operation of your Android after it's been flashed.

It's also worth performing a hard reset before selling or giving a device to another user. Doing so makes certain all sensitive data on the device is erased.

Preparations before performing a hard reset

Before you perform a hard reset on your Samsung Galaxy, you'd better create a backup copy of every single piece of important data since it will be erased.

Make sure to delete your Google user profile before resetting; otherwise your device will ask for a login and password. If you or a new owner fail in entering the correct information, Android will not load. 

Follow this link for instructions on how to Delete your Google profile.

In the worst case scenario, you can unlock the device using Samsung customer  service, but you need to have documents confirming that you're its buyer.

How to reset a Samsung device: step-by-step guide

There are several ways you can perform a hard reset on a Samsung Galaxy S3-S10, Tab / Note.

Option 1: Resetting the device via main menu

1. Go to Android Settings > General management.

2. Tap on the "Backup", "Reset" or "Privacy" menu item. (The names can differ depending on the version of your Android.)

3. In the "Factory data reset" section, tap "Reset".

4. Your tablet / phone will reboot automatically.

5. Once the device reboots, the hard reset is completed and your data is deleted.

Option 2: Hard reset using Recovery menu

This method is useful if your Samsung device won't turn on at all or its screen is locked. To perform Samsung phone factory reset in this case:

  1. Press the "Power" hardware button.
  2. Turn off your device by tapping the "Power off" option from the menu.
  1. Hold the Power, Home, and Volume Up buttons at the same time. If there is no Home button, just hold the other two. If you have the Bixby button, you should also use it.
  2. Release the Power button as soon as the "Samsung Galaxy" logo appears on the screen of your device; hold the other buttons for 15 seconds more until "Recovery" pops up. 
  3. If “Recovery” doesn't appear, go through the previous steps again while holding the buttons for a longer period of time.
  4. Once “Recovery” appears, hold the Volume Down button in order to navigate through the menu to find  "Factory Reset." Once found, select it by pressing the Power button.
  5. Press the Volume Down button, if you want to confirm the deletion (“Yes”).
  6. By pressing on Power you can reboot the device.
  7. After these steps are completed, the hard reset will be performed on Samsung phone.

What to do if a Samsung phone is blocked after a Hard Reset

Starting with Android 5.1 on Samsung mobile devices, theft protection called Factory Reset Protection is generated. It works in the following way: when you perform the operation and don't delete your Google account in advance, your device is locked.

Imagine you've rolled back your phone to the default settings but you forgot to delete the account data. When you turn on the phone, it will prompt you to specify the login information you provided before the reset. There are two solutions in such case:

  1. Enter the correct login / password in order to log in to your account;
  2. Contact customer service and provide the documents confirming that you're the person who bought the device.

If you don't have a certificate, a receipt or a contract, you will be denied the ability to unlock the device. This is why it's better to be extremely careful and follow the instructions.

Questions related to the topic

I've reset the data on Samsung Galaxy S10 and its SD card was encrypted. Is it possible to recover the data in order to decrypt the SD card?

To decrypt an SD card, you need to add a Google account to the device. Then go to settings (Settings Lock screen and security) and tap on the Decrypt SD card item. Next, Android will require you to enter a screen lock PIN, pattern or password. Finally, the memory card will be decrypted. Read more here.

I have a Samsung A5 2017 that factory reset itself (long story). I have since tried  any software I can to find the deleted photos and videos. All say I have to root the phone.

Unfortunately, root access does not guarantee successful data recovery on the phone. The task is easier if photos and videos have been saved to the memory card. In this case, unmount the SD card from the phone and scan it through the desktop recovery programs.

Recovery from internal memory is unlikely. Check the Samsung Cloud or Google Photos cloud - maybe the data managed to sync before the hard reset.

I was locked out of my device on Saturday the 31st August, 2019 and had to factory reset it. Unfortunately, my Google Cloud and Samsung Cloud didn't not back it up. Please can you assist me in recovering them all?

Data that you did not sync could be stored in internal memory. First of all, connect your Google account to Android, then try to recover data using root and recovery apps.

It is easier to recover files on a memory card: use Recuva or PhotoRec for this.

My wife did a factory reset and neither one of us can remember any of the information to get back in. We didn't have anything backed up, nor do we remember recovery emails or phone numbers.

A few basic tips:

  1. Check out Samsung Cloud, Dropbox, or other services where backup information can be stored.
  2. You can restore contacts after hard reset via Google Contacts.
  3. Photos from internal memory can be restored via DiskDigger. For photos from SD cards  use PhotoRec.

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