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How to Factory Reset Android with Buttons: A Step-by-Step Guide

If your Android phone is on the fritz and you need to factory reset it but your screen is out of action, fear not: you can reset Android phones using their hardware buttons – here’s how it’s done…



Key Takeaways

  • Factory resetting your Android phone using buttons is a straightforward process
  • This method is useful when your phone is unresponsive or locked.
  • Always remember to back up your data before proceeding.
  • Follow the steps carefully to avoid any issues.

Last year, in the space of two months I had two Android phones go completely unresponsive on me: one was a Pixel phone, of course, and the other was the OnePlus 11. 

I have no idea why this happened. But I do know one thing: it wasn’t much fun. Nothing worked. Not even the screen. 

Mercifully, this ain’t my first rodeo. When you use as many Android phones as I do, you’ll know that plenty of them do this from time to time. 

And this is when you know it’s time to enact a button-based factory reset. Think of it as the nuclear option when your Android phone completely craps out.

Factory resetting your Android phone is like giving your device a fresh start. And below, you’ll learn exactly how to do it. Also: this method works on ALL Android phones too. Winner, winner.

Why Factory Reset Using Buttons?

  • Quick Solution: Sometimes your phone freezes. The touch screen won’t respond. In such cases, using buttons is a quick fix.
  • Bypass Locks: Forgot your password? You can still reset your phone using this method.
  • No Need for Software: You don’t need a computer or any software. Just your phone and its buttons.

Precautions Before You Begin

  • Backup Your Data: Factory reset will erase everything. Make sure to back up your data. Not sure how to do that? Here’s a guide on how to backup an Android phone.
  • Charge Your Phone: Ensure your phone has at least 50% battery. You don’t want it dying midway through as this will create all kinds of headaches you do not want.

Steps to Factory Reset Android Using Buttons

Steps to Factory Reset Android Using ButtonsPin
  • Step 1: Turn Off Your Phone: First, switch off your device. Hold down the power button and select “Power Off.”
  • Step 2: Enter Recovery Mode: Hold down the volume up and power buttons simultaneously. This will take you to the recovery mode.
  • Step 3: Navigate to “Wipe Data/Factory Reset”: Use the volume buttons to navigate. Select “Wipe Data/Factory Reset.”
  • Step 4: Confirm the Reset: Use the power button to select “Yes.” This will initiate the factory reset.
  • Step 5: Reboot
  • Once the reset is complete, select “Reboot System Now.”

Troubleshooting Tips 🔫

error message when factory resetting android phonePin

Stuck in Recovery Mode?

At times, our smartphones can act unpredictably, causing frustration and confusion. One of the most straightforward and effective solutions to address minor glitches and hiccups is to restart your Android device.

Here’s how and why:

Why Restarting Helps:

  • Memory Clearing: Restarting your phone can clear out the RAM (Random Access Memory), which might be clogged with background processes that are no longer needed.
  • System Refresh: A restart can refresh the system and close any apps that might be causing issues.
  • Connection Reset: If you’re facing connectivity issues, a restart can help re-establish connections to Wi-Fi or cellular networks.

How to Restart Your Phone:

  1. Locate the Power Button: This is typically found on the side or top of most smartphones.
  2. Press and Hold: Hold down the power button for approximately 10 seconds. This action will usually trigger the phone to shut down and then power back up.
  3. Wait: Once you’ve initiated the restart, give your phone a minute or two to complete the process. You’ll know it’s done when you see the phone’s startup logo or home screen.

Note: The exact method and duration might vary depending on your phone’s make and model. Always refer to your device’s user manual for specific instructions.

Error Messages?

Error messages on Android phones, especially after a factory reset, are not good. I had a OnePlus 6T a few years ago that got stuck in a boot-loop and, despite my best efforts, neither I nor OnePlus could fix it. 

Does this mean your phone is completely ruined? No. But you will need to contact the manufacturer or a phone repair service to potentially solve the problem. 

One nuclear option, if you’ve got the stones for it, would be to install a custom ROM, something like LineageOS, and run the phone on completely fresh software. Again, though, there’s no guarantees this will work – the error could be hardware related. 

Even Google is slightly terrified of this guide of error. Here’s an expert from its help forums discussing the dreaded “error after factory reset” issue:

You could try resetting the phone once again to see if that helps or you could leave it alone for a few days and then try entering the email and password again but if that doesn’t work then there is no workaround we can offer as Factory Reset Protection was set up to prevent an unauthorised person from taking a phone, factory resetting from Recovery Mode and making it his/her own.  

Wrapping Up…

Factory resetting your Android phone using buttons is a lifesaver. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it gets the job done. Just remember to back up your data and follow the steps carefully. Remember, this method is a last resort. Use it wisely. And if you do run into issues, like error messages, it could indicate a more serious problem with your phone’s hardware and/or software. In this context, you’ll need to reach out to your phone’s manufacturer for guidance.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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