Reset preparation & data backups: Android

Available on YouTube for the following devices:

  • HTC One S
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
  • Samsung Note II



A master reset is sometimes called a factory data reset or a hardware reset (hard reset for short).


A master reset restores the phone to its original factory settings, as if it is new again. As part of this process, it deletes the information stored on the device. Information stored on the memory card or synchronized to a Google account is usually saved. However, some devices give the option to erase information from the memory card. You must back up any data that you could lose.

Note: If you have installed a software update, a master reset does not erase it.


Turn off Automatic Backup

Android can automatically back up your settings. However, if you automatically back up and restore your settings when you perform a reset, it can cause any problems to return. T-Mobile recommends that you turn off this feature. To turn it off, follow these steps:


  1. From the Home screen, press the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Privacy.
  4. Tap the Back up my settings check box to clear it.
  5. Tap OK.
  6. Make sure there is no check mark in the Back up my settings check box.


Record & Sync Accounts

Make sure you know the Google account on the device, you remember the password, and that you back up your data.


  1. From the Home screen, press the Menu key.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Accounts & sync.
  4. Look for a Google aaccount that is synchronized here, as well as any other email addresses. Write down these accounts, so that you can use them after the master reset.
    Note: If you do not know your password, go to from a computer.
  5. Touch Sync all button to back up your synchronized data.


After the reset, sync the phone to your accounts to restore contacts and other things stored on them.



Make sure your contacts are backed up, and not just stored in your phone memory:


  1. From the Home screen, tap the All apps button.
  2. Tap Contacts or People.
  3. Press the Menu key.
  4. Tap View or Display options.
  5. View the number next to Phone( ).
    • If it says Phone (0), then you have zero contacts stored on the phone.
      You backed up all your contacts when you synchronized your Google, T-Mobile Contacts Backup, and Exchange ActiveSync accounts. Skip to the next set of steps.

    • If it says Phone (1) or higher, then you have contacts that will be lost unless you back them up. You may use one of the following:
      • Export contacts:
        1. Press the Back key to return to the Contacts list.
        2. Press the Menu key.
        3. Tap Import/Export.
        4. Tap Export to SD card.

          Note: Only Android 2.1 and newer can back up to the SD card. For older versions of Android, you can  select Export to SIM  card, but this may lose contact information. Alternately, you can download a non-T-Mobile application in the Play Store that can back up your contacts. T-Mobile does not support these applications, but you can contact the developer for help. You may try: MyBackup.

        5. After the reset, you can access this menu to import your contacts from the SD card.
      • Move contacts from Phone memory to Gmail or MobileLife.
      • Back up contacts to an app, such as Dropbox or other third-party options.
      • From a computer go to, and enter your contacts.



Calendar items are saved on the servers of Google or your Exchange account. After the sync instructions above, you can check they are backed up:


  1. From a computer, access where your calendar items are stored: or your Micrsoft Outlook calendar.
  2. Make sure all your calendar items appear on Google or Outlook.



Email is stored on the servers of the email provider, not on the device. Downloaded email attachments are stored on the memory card. You do not need to back it up.


Check for any saved drafts of email. Send them before the reset, because they may be erased.


Text Messages (SMS) & Picture Messages (MMS)

Android does not back up your text messages (SMS) and picture messages (MMS).


Note: There are non-T-Mobile applications in the Play Store that can back up your messages. T-Mobile does not support these applications, but you can contact the developer for help. You may try SMS Backup (save messages on your Gmail account) or SMS Backup and Restore (save messages to the memory card).


    It is recommended that you do NOT restore the messages after the reset. Having many messages can cause phone problems.




    Play Store

    Amazon Appstore

    Paid applications are already saved to your Google account. So, you can:


    1. After the reset, open Play Store.
    2. Press the Menu key then tap My Apps.
    3. Tap on Play Store in the upper left corner, then tap on My Apps.
    4. Tap your apps that show as Purchased to install them.


    Note: Older versions of Android that have Android Market instead of Play Store may not show your free apps in My Apps. Write down the names of your apps before resetting

    If you use Amazon Appstore, it saves all your free and paid Amazon downloads on your account. So, you can:


    1. After the reset, install the Amazon Appstore app again.
    2. Log in to your Amazon account.
    3. Follow the prompts to reinstall the apps.


    If the app stored data (save games, high scores, memos, preferences, etc.) on:


    • The memory card, then the data will be saved.
    • The phone memory, then the data will be lost.

      Note: There are non-T-Mobile applications on the Play Store that can back up your app data. T-Mobile does not support these applications, but you can contact the developer for help. You can try: App Backup & Restore.



    Android saves your media (pictures, photos, videos, music) on the memory card. It will be saved.


    Note: The Samsung Vibrant is different and can store media on the internal memory. To move the files to the SD card, tap Applications, Files, tap and hold the file or folder you want to move, tap Move, the folder you want it in, and Move Here.


    The LG G2x also has more internal space to store media, but a master reset does not delete it.


    Memory card

    Some Android devices give you the option to erase the contents of the memory card. In most cases, this is not necessary. We advise you not to erase the memory card unless it is completely necessary, because it contains most of your information.


    You may choose to erase the memory card if you think that an application has stored corrupted information on it. To back up your memory card, follow these steps:


    1. Connect your phone to a computer with a USB cable.
    2. When the computer shows a Removable disk popup, select Open folder to view files.

      Note: If the computer does not show the phone as a drive, then pull down the Notification bar and change the USB connection type to Disk drive.

    3. Copy all the files from your memory card to a folder on your computer.
    4. After the reset, you can do the same thing to move them back. Do not copy any files back to the memory card if you suspect they are corrupted, or the problems will return.


    Thanks to  chris21688 for helping to get this document started.