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5 Solid Reasons to Factory Reset Your Smart Device

Reading Time: 4 min

Let’s admit it. Nobody wants to reset their smart devices because setting them up again is a pain! I bought my current smartphone in 2020 and had never performed a factory reset on it until recently. The device was underperforming, but I was not ready to set up 20+ Google Accounts, reinstall and configure 25 third-party apps, pair 4 Bluetooth devices, set up two WiFi connections, customize the operating system, and restore my files from backup after the reset was complete. Unfortunately, my Google accounts stopped syncing after installing the latest Android update on June 4th, and hours of troubleshooting could not fix the issue. Performing a hard reset was the final solution, which worked. After the factory reset, I noticed several improvements. This post was inspired by them. Keep reading to see if you find anything useful. [This post focuses only on Android devices.]

The Device is Short of Storage Space

My smartphone has 32GB of internal memory. The operating system and built-in apps take around 13GB, leaving me with 19GB. Before the factory reset, I had less than 3GB of free space, and Android kept nagging me to uninstall apps to free up space every time I rebooted the phone. After the reset, even after updating Android and reinstalling all my apps, I still have 12GB of free space! So, what happened? Over time, our smartphones accumulate temporary files, leftover app data, and other unnecessary data. A factory reset is like a major clean-up, removing all that extra stuff and freeing up storage space. (Just like having a clean room gives you more floor space.) Also, after the reset, the operating system reinstalls itself clean, and optimised, which can be more efficient with storage compared to updates applied over time. Thanks to the factory reset, I now have more space to install more apps.

Note: Some space may still be occupied by necessary system updates and pre-installed apps even after a factory reset.

The Battery Lasts Longer than Before

Shortly after factory resetting my smartphone, I made a call lasting 2 hours and 49 minutes. Even after that lengthy call, my battery had drained by only 18%. Even using battery-heavy apps like Microsoft Edge Web Browser, Instagram, and Facebook, and games like “Call of Duty” and “PUBG” doesn’t drain the battery as much as it used to. What happened here? As mentioned before, a factory reset removes temporary files, leftover app data, and other background processes. This can significantly reduce battery drain. Similar to the storage benefit, a clean install of the operating system can be more efficient than updates layered on top of each other over time, leading to improved battery performance. Additionally, a factory reset removes all downloaded apps, potentially eliminating battery-draining apps that you may have installed sometime back but never used in the first place.

Note: While a factory reset can improve battery life, it’s important to note that the initial improvement may be due to fewer apps running. As you reinstall and use more apps, battery performance could decrease again. Also, battery health degrades over time regardless of software optimisations, and the reset might not affect an old battery significantly.

The Smartphone is Underperforming

I have secured my device with encryption that requires a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition to unlock the screen and decrypt the device. (Yes, I’m paranoid!) Using fingerprint authentication is easy, but typing the PIN is mandatory once every 72 hours and after rebooting the phone. This was a pain because the device was lagging. The problem went away after factory resetting the device. Overall, the phone performs better.

Factory resetting your device is a powerful way to ensure it runs smoothly and securely.

Google Support

The operating system loads faster, and third-party apps open without delay. So, what happened here? If you’re familiar with Windows PCs, you know they can slow down over time due to a bloated registry and leftover processes running at startup. Likewise, Over time, apps can accumulate data and run in the background even when you’re not using them. A factory reset wipes away all this background clutter, giving your phone a fresh start and allowing it to run smoother.

Note: Performance improvements are partially due to the removal of cached data. Resetting should be considered after other troubleshooting methods have failed.

Eliminates all the Unknown Glitches

I noticed a weird issue while reinstalling my apps after the factory reset. Alt-C, the app I use for sharing clipboards between my smartphone and MacBook Air, wouldn’t install because, according to the Google Play Store, it was outdated and incompatible with my operating system. It was strange because the phone was using the latest version of the operating system even before the factory reset, and the app worked without any issues. (I later managed to download the APK file and install it manually, and it worked without any issues.) This could be a rare case where the update itself might not have been installed completely. A factory reset ensures a clean and complete installation, which might have revealed the incompatibility that the previous incomplete update missed. It’s fair to conclude that a factory reset eliminates unknown glitches.

Note: While a factory reset can solve many software issues, it’s not a guaranteed fix for all hardware-related problems.

Possible Presence of Phone Malware

The open-source architecture, lack of security updates, popularity, powerful hardware, affordability, market share, and widespread user base have painted a target on Android-driven smart devices. Such malware could hijack your camera and microphone, intercept calls and messages, and turn it into a zombie device, causing the battery to drain quickly and consume data, leading to carrier charges going through the roof. (In the year 2020 alone 15.8 million smartphones around the world were part of some botnet. Source: VARINDIA) Although I didn’t detect any malware on my smartphone before the factory reset if you suspect malware, a factory reset is guaranteed to eliminate it unless the malware is deeply embedded in the device. (I once had a Bauhn HDC-08 tablet with malware embedded in the firmware, making it impossible to remove.)

Note: While a factory reset can eliminate most malware, it may not remove deeply embedded malware or rootkits. In some cases, specialized tools or professional help may be needed.

Wrap Up

I performed the factory reset on my smartphone on the 26th and completed setting it up only today. It took me four days to customize it fully. The effort and time spent were worthwhile. My smartphone is as good as brand new, and I am happy with the transformation. A word of advice: don’t forget to back up your precious data (photos, videos, music, etc.) if you are planning a factory reset because a factory reset restores the device to its original factory settings, including the pre-installed operating system and apps, destroying all data on the device permanently. Also, ensure you have written down all usernames and passwords somewhere before proceeding with the factory reset. Most of us forget passwords quickly because smartphone and device apps are designed to remember them, while we are wired to forget them fast.

If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it on social media would also be greatly appreciated. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.

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