Friday, 22 April 2016

How to Perform a Factory Reset Without Losing Too Much Data

Posted by Ojo Stephen

Sometimes, it is necessary for us to format and totally erase all the data on our smartphones, and really, this could
be very bad for people who accumulate and keep many data on their phones. Personally, it was a very sad experience for me because I used to, and still keep a lot of files and information on my Android phone. The main challenge in this type of situation is how to retain these data we keep on our smartphones somewhere else for us to be able to use it after the formatting. But for most people, the challenge looks unconquerable, and they end up losing their entire data in the process. So today, I have found ways for you to perform a factory reset without losing too much data. For root users, this process is easy as they can make Nandroid back-ups or back-up all apps, data and settings with numerous root backup apps like Titanium Backup. However, for those who don’t want to dabble into the intricacies of rooting, the following steps will ensure you save as much data as you can before you factory reset your phone.

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Categorise your apps and settings: The first step is to separate your apps into different categories like Stock Android Apps (Gallery, Notebook, Music, etc), Chat and Social Apps (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat…), Games (Candy Crush, Temple Run, Subway Surf, etc), and Other Apps. This way you’ll be able to know which apps are important and which app data you wish to keep. For example, you don’t need to worry about losing data present in the Gallery app as it is data present in the phone or external storage that will determine what is contained in it. Therefore, for:
Stock Android Apps; You don’t need to worry about losing data present in these apps because it is data present in your SD card or phone memory that will determine what is present here. However, if you have peculiar settings or data that you don’t want to lose, like all your phone settings in the Settings app, you can take a screenshot of them. When a screenshot is made, all things present on the screen at that time will be saved in form of a picture which you can view in your memory card after formatting your phone in order to restore the settings. To take a screenshot, press and hold the power button and the volume down button for 3 seconds.
Social and Chat Apps: For social and chat apps, you don’t have to worry about your data being lost as all your data is synced and saved to the cloud service(s) of the respective apps. So all you have to do is login to the social/chat app, and linger a little while in the app so that your data would be synced into the cloud servers of the app. However, for Whatsapp, you can make a backup of your current chats, groups and messages in your memory card, which will then be used to restore them (optionally) when you login to your account after the data wipe.
Games: Most modern games have options where you can login with your social account in order to gain certain benefits or to engage in online multiplayer gaming. However, these are not the only benefits. When you login with an account in a game, your current level, stats, achievements, and every data contained in the game are synced and saved to their servers and connected to your account, so that when you sign in with the same account in the game on another device, your own data will be loaded and you can continue from where you stopped in the game. So before performing a factory reset on your device check if your gamers have any online feature, and try using this online feature where available. Therefore, after wiping your device, you can reinstall the game and then sign in with your account and all your data from the last time you logged in will be restored, and then you can continue from where you stopped.
Other Apps: For other apps that you consider useful and don’t want to lose the data contained in them, check if these apps have an online feature like that which I mentioned above. If they have an online feature, try using it so that your data will be synced to the cloud servers of the app and you would be able to restore the data using the online feature after a wipe. Most apps also have an option in their settings menu, which you can use to backup the data contained in your memory card, and to restore the data from previous backups made. If your other apps don’t have these two features mentioned, then you can take screenshots of the relevant data and save it to your external storage device, from which you can manually restore the data after a wipe.
Move all files and documents in phone storage to an external storage device. During a factory reset, all data present in the phone’s storage will be deleted. So it is advisable to move all files and documents present in the device storage to an external storage device, like an SD card or a flash drive. After moving them, this external storage device can then be kept aside before beginning the factory reset.
To backup all contacts, sms and call history, use TrustGo App. The TrustGo app is available in the Google Play Store and is used for many things, among which is backing up of all contacts, sms and call history to the cloud. For this, you will need to create a TrustGo account with your email address and a password. Then after backing up your data, you can come back and restore it after a wipe by logging in to your account in the app and choosing Backup/Restore. You can even choose which of the three data types you want to back up and restore, and you can make backups for multiple devices. Download TrustGo android app from the Google Play Store or from alternative server.
To save current configurations of widgets in your Launcher’s homepage and list of apps in your app drawer, take screenshots. If you are the type of person that can’t do without homescreen widgets, and you’ll like to know which apps you have currently installed and how they are arranged in your app drawer, simply take screenshots of them. Make sure to save these screenshots in an external storage device so that they won’t be wiped along with the data on the phone during the format process.
READ ALSO: What Is Rooting?
With all the above steps, you should have been able to save most, if not all of the data present in your smartphone. If there’s still some data you would wish to keep and have not been covered by the above steps, let me know in the comments section below. There are various reasons a person will want to wipe his device, either due to laggy performance of the device, or the owner may want to sell off the device or upgrade to a better one, etc. Whatever the reason may be, if you follow the above steps before performing the factory reset, then you will not be too much pained by it because little or no data will be lost. After wiping the device, just go through the above steps to restore the data back to your device. And if this post is not available for you to view on your phone due to the wipe, you can always view it from a friend’s phone.

Did the above instructions help you? Or do you know of any additional methods to backup data without root before a factory reset? Do let me know in the comments section.
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