Will Your Pictures Be Erased if You Reset Your Phone?

By Shea Laverty

The photos and other data stored on your smartphone will be erased during a factory reset.
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Regardless of whether you use a Blackberry, Android, iPhone or Windows phone, any photos or personal data will be irretrievably lost during a factory reset. You can't get it back unless you have it backed up first. That said, the effect of wiping all the data on a phone is sometimes helpful.

Reasons to Reset

Resetting a phone to factory defaults has several uses and benefits. If your phone's software has become glitchy or otherwise malfunctions due to viral infection or attempts to gain root access, a factory reset can restore it to out-of-the-box working order. If you're planning on reselling your phone or giving it to someone else as a gift, resetting it to factory defaults will not only refresh the software but also remove any and all personal information from the device.

Types of Data Lost

Not all data stored on the phone is lost during a factory reset. The device's operating system and other important firmware is typically stored on a partitioned section of the hard drive. When you restore to factory defaults, this information is not deleted; instead it's used to reinstall all necessary software for your device. The only data removed during a factory reset is data you add: apps, contacts, stored messages and multimedia files like photos.

Factory Resetting

The method for restoring your device to factory defaults differs not only from one operating system to the next, but between device manufacturers. This can typically be performed within the operating system from the Settings menu. You can also factory reset the device manually in a process that typically involves powering down your phone and restarting it while holding down a combination of the device's physical buttons. For specific instructions on how to reset your device, consult the owner's guide.


When you factory reset your phone, there are a few things you'll have to do before and afterward. If you want to keep copies of photos and your phone's other data, you'll need to back up the phone's files. Once you've completed the reset, you'll have to reapply any updates your device received during its operational lifespan before the reset. You'll also need to redownload any apps you added to the device.