Factory Reset

A factory reset restores an electronic device's software to a fresh state, similar to when it left the factory. It removes all user data, and the software operates as a new device.

Many devices have a factory reset option, including computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, AVRs, and smart appliances. The top two reasons for performing a factory reset are:

  1. Fixing a persistent software issue
  2. Clearing a device before transferring it to another user
Performing a factory reset will erase all your data. Make sure you have a recent backup or have transferred your data to another device before selecting this action.

The factory reset command is usually found within the Settings → General menu of a device's user interface. In most cases, the command is not labeled "factory reset," but something similar. Below are examples of verbiage used by popular operating systems.

  1. Windows: Reset PC
  2. macOS: Erase All Content and Settings
  3. Chrome OS: Powerwash
  4. Android: Erase all data (factory reset)
  5. iOS: Erase all Content and Settings

Factory Reset vs. System Restore

The terms "factory reset" and "system restore" are often used interchangeably and may refer to the same operation. However, a system restore may reference a backup or system snapshot to restore user data instead of resetting a device to factory settings. Therefore, a factory reset is best when discarding or transferring a device to another user.

NOTE: Usually, a factory reset maintains the most recently installed version of the operating system. However, if the device is restored from firmware, performing a factory reset may revert the system software to the original operating system.

Updated July 6, 2022

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