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Those using Android devices like the HTC Desire EYE (pictured) should encrypt their phone first before wiping it and giving it to someone else. Martyn Landi/PA Wire

Here's why you would want to factory reset your device

It’s there in case you need to bring your phone back to square one, but what situations should you use it in?

SOMETIMES YOU MAY have a problem on your phone that you can’t pinpoint. It can be frustrating as you search through apps and programmes without much luck to figure out why your device is freezing or isn’t responding properly.

If such a problem persists, one handy way is to activate factory reset, which will return your phone or device to its original state.

While resetting it doesn’t harm your phone, it’s worth knowing the reasons why you would decide to use it in the first place.

What is a factory reset? 

A Factory Reset removes all user data from a device and reverts it back to default settings, or to be more exact, returns it to the way it was when you first purchased the device.

Data like contacts, photos, apps, your cache and anything else that you saved onto the device ever since you started using it will be cleared from it.

It will not remove the device’s operating system (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) but will go back to its original set of apps and settings. Also, resetting it doesn’t harm your phone, even if you end up doing it multiple times.

Why you would want to reset your device?

The obvious reason would be if you want to give or sell your device to someone else. Either way, you don’t want any of your personal information to remain on the device, especially if it’s the latter.

Other reasons include if your phone is constantly freezing, to restore settings and configurations to the default and remove files that you’re having trouble getting rid of.

It’s also be handy if you are having small issues with your phone and you feel the problem is data related. If you’re unable to properly pinpoint the problem, it could be worth doing, but only if it can’t be solved by removing an app or service.

If it’s a case that your device is running slow, then it might be worth removing apps from your device first before you do this, or restarting your device to see if it works

A similar service is also available on Find my Phone, but that’s to be used in case your device is stolen or lost.

Like all things, if you’re in any way unsure about whether it’s worth doing or not, then avoid it.

Before you reset it

- Back up all your information. This cannot be stated enough because once you reset it, all your information is gone and can no longer be recovered. Also, it helps to have such data saved so you’re not wasting time repopulating your phone with contacts and such.

- If you have an Android device, it’s could be worth encrypting your data first before you wipe it clean. While the latest versions of Android have security features that will make recovering said information harder, encryption adds an extra layer of security that will always be useful should the device fall into the wrong hands.

Where to find it

For iOS users, go to Settings > General > Reset.

For Android users, go to Settings > Backup and Reset > Factory data reset.

For Windows Phone users, go to Settings > About > Reset your phone.

The process will usually take a couple of minutes to complete. Your device might take a little bit longer than usual to boot up but it will revert to normal.

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