What Happens When You Format Your Phone

Call it a hard reset, factory reset, or phone formatting – all are scary terms. And they should be. Why? Because the repercussions are serious. What are these repercussions? Find out the answer in this article where we explain what happens when you reset your Android or iPhone to the factory.


The factory reset deletes everything from your phone’s internal memory. Now a lot of things like apps, files, settings, data like contacts, messages, etc. may exist there. What is happening to them?

We intend to clear up your confusion. Let’s see what happens when a phone is reset.

What happens to the system operating system

You must be wondering what will happen to your operating system when you format your phone. Do you need to install it again? The answer is no. Formatting the phone does not delete the current software on your phone. By current we mean the version of software that was active on your phone before resetting it.

For example, if your Android phone came with Android 9.0 Pie and later it was updated to Android 10, formatting will restore the Android 10 version and not Android Pie. The same goes for iOS. If you have installed the latest version, the phone keeps a secure area of ​​your storage on this part and uses it as a backup to restore things to their factory condition.

What happens to apps when you reset your phone

To be clear, most of the preinstalled apps remain and revert to the factory version of the operating system. However, any apps that you install manually from Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (iPhone) are deleted when you format / reset the phone. You will need to reinstall them.

In addition, you will lose the data associated with these applications, unless they provide a backup function and you use them. For example, if the Candy Crush game is installed on your phone, formatting the phone will delete it. But, if you’re signed in with an in-game account, you’ll be at the same level when you install it again.

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If you purchased an app, you don’t need to pay again after formatting the phone. Install it using the same Google account (Android) or the Apple ID (iPhone) that was used to download it in the first place.

On the contrary, the applications preinstalled on your phone automatically reappear when you format the phone. However, data from these apps will also be deleted and it would be a good idea if you made a backup.

What happens to call logs, contacts, and messages

Few of the major concerns when you plan to format or reset your phone are contacts, messages and call logs. When you format the phone, you will lose your call history and messages unless you have made a backup. You can use the native backup feature available on Android and iPhone or download third-party backup apps.

As for contacts, they will also be deleted. But if you use Google or iCloud to sync contacts, you can restore them when you add the same accounts to phones after formatting them.

Pro tip: See our guide for how to back up contacts on any Android phone.

What happens to the data in memory and on the SIM card

Formatting your phone will have no impact on your data stored in your memory or SIM card. Your photos and other data on your SD card and your contacts in SIM are safe. You will need to format them separately. However, we suggest that you delete them from your phone before formatting your phone.

What happens to the settings

Since hard reset removes everything, it also means that all your customizations will revert to their default values. Your Wi-Fi passwords, paired Bluetooth devices, home screen customizations, ringtone selection and other settings will be deleted.

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If you don’t want to reconfigure your device from scratch, you need to back up your phone before formatting it. When you do, the customizations made to the settings are reflected again when you restore the phone. Learn how to back up the phone below.

What happens to the photos

If the photos are stored in your phone’s internal memory, they will be deleted by a hard reset. However, if you’re using photo storage services like Google Photos or iCloud Photos, you don’t have to worry. These applications take a backup of your photos. Your photos will be safe on them even after formatting your phone. Another alternative is to move them to the microSD card, if your phone supports and the expansion location.

What happens to files and other data

Similar to other things, your files such as PDF, audio, etc. will also be deleted after resetting your phone. You must either move them to the SD card, if your phone supports it, or use cloud storage services.

Does factory reset delete Google Drive and iCloud files

The short answer is no. Since both are cloud services, the data they contain is always synchronized with the cloud. So you won’t lose your Google Drive files or data in iCloud when you format your phone. However, you will need to reconnect to these services to view the data.

How to back up your phone

To back up your device settings, call logs, text messages and contacts, you must use the backup function available in Android and iPhone.

To access it on Android, go to Settings> System> Backup. Activate the toggle.


On iPhone, open Settings and tap your name. Then tap iCloud and then tap iCloud Backup. Activate the toggle for iCloud backup.

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How to format your phone

Let’s check out the steps to hard reset your Android and iPhone.

How to reset Android phone

Step 1: Open Settings on your phone and go to System or General Management.


2nd step: Tap Reset. Then tap Factory Reset or Clear All Data. Confirm on the next screen.



How to factory reset iPhone

Step 1: Open Settings on your iPhone. Tap General.


2nd step: Tap on Reset. Tap Clear all content and settings.



Pro tip: Find out what the other reset options on iPhone do.

When to factory reset your phone

Factory reset is like switching to a new phone, at least in terms of software. You should only reset your phone when absolutely necessary. For example, if you sell your phone, we strongly recommend that you reset and format your phone with its microSD card.

If you have a problem with your phone, resetting should be your last resort. Typically, most issues are resolved by following various troubleshooting tips, and a reset is not necessary. Only do this if the problem persists longer. Once you have decided to format the phone, create a backup before proceeding to the difficult step.

Then:

Still wondering if creating a backup is a good choice or not? Know why you should back up your iPhone to iCloud or a computer from the following link.

Last updated on April 19, 2020

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