How to Erase My Android Phone

by Andrew Tennyson

Your Android 5 smartphone has a Factory Data Reset feature designed to help you erase the contents of the device. This feature is part of the Backup and Reset section of the Settings app. When you perform a factory data reset, all apps and user data are deleted from the phone and the device is returned to its factory settings. Before you proceed with the reset, back up any important data, files and passwords you want to keep.


Connect your phone's power cable or plug it in to a USB port on your computer to avoid accidental data loss during the reset. If your battery dies during the reset process, your phone may become unresponsive.


Touch the “Settings” icon in the app drawer or on the Home screen to launch the Settings app. The Settings icon resembles a mechanical gear or cog. If you can't find this icon in either of these locations, swipe down from the top of your screen to open the Notifications Panel. The Settings icon is also found in the top corner of the Notification Panel.


Select “Backup and Reset” under the User and Backup heading in the Settings app. You may have to scroll down in order to find this section.


Touch “Factory Data Reset” and then touch “Reset Device” to confirm that you want to erase all user data from the phone and return it to its factory settings.


  • check Depending on the version of Android running on your phone, some of the menu items in the Settings app may have slightly different names.
  • check To back up your Android phone, touch the “Settings” icon in the app drawer or on the Home screen to launch the Settings app. Select “Backup and Reset” under the User and Backup heading. Place a check mark in the “Back Up My Data” check box. Touch “Backup Account” and select the email account you want to use to back up your data. Connect your Android phone to your computer using its USB cable and use the Android File Transfer app to back up any additional data and files onto your computer. If you don’t have the Android File Transfer app, download it ( from Google’s website.
  • check If your Android phone won’t turn on, you can still erase the device by performing a hardware reset. How you go about doing this can vary somewhat depending on the make and model of your Android phone. As an example, to reset the Samsung Galaxy S5, remove and then reinsert the battery. Hold down the “Power,” “Home” and “Volume Up” buttons simultaneously until the Samsung logo appears on the screen. Press “Volume Down” to highlight “Wipe Data / Factory Reset” and press “Power.” Select “Yes - Delete All User Data” and press “Power” to confirm you want to erase the contents of the device. Consult your phone’s manual for device-specific reset instructions.

About the Author

Andrew Tennyson has been writing about culture, technology, health and a variety of other subjects since 2003. He has been published in The Gazette, DTR and ZCom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Fine Arts in writing.

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