7 Important Things To Do Before Updating or Factory Resetting a Phone

Android Logo on Smartphone

I have seen many people face different problems when they don’t do updates or factory reset correctly. Sometimes they lose all the data, sometimes they brick the device, and sometimes the phone is stuck in a boot loop. Usually, issues don’t come up for everyone. However, there may be some mishaps that can cause problems. So all I want to do is share a few important things to do before updating or factory resetting smartphones and tablets. These tips can help you save from a lot of stress and problems. Most of the tips that I discuss are applicable for both Android and iOS devices. So all users can follow them. These are also applicable for other laptops and computers because smartphones are small computing devices.

There are many things to take care of before updating your phone or gadget. Whether it is a smartphone or a bar phone, whether it is an Android or iOS-based phone or tablet, we must always create a backup. A plan is very necessary before moving forward because there may not be a way back. In today’s world where data is very important and taken as the new gold, we must protect it. When a device is bricked or wiped, the biggest loss is data because some information files are not replaceable. So the primary target of this article is saving data on your phone.

We have made a list of few important things to take care of before moving on with the new OTA update or performing a factory reset. These important things are here so that you will always remember the measures before anything wrong happens. This is a checklist of the top 7 things to take care of before your update your phone, sell, update or do a hard reset.


1) Properly Charge your device

When an OTA update comes, people need to apply it or install it. Many people may also want to reset their phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Some people even might want to flash a new firmware to do experiments. Similarly, some people may also want to clean everything and sell or give their devices. In a hurry, we might forget some important things. Among all other things, having a sufficient battery is the most important thing. It is very important to charge your device well before performing any action such as factory reset, Android update, or iOS update.

Make sure you have at least a 75% charge on your device. Never perform critical operations when the battery is below 40%. It is because the device can brick when power is finished during critical operations such as firmware updates. These days the OS doesn’t allow to reset or apply firmware updates when the battery is low. However, if the operation is performed from the recovery mode then it can be bypassed. So be very careful about battery percentage. It is best to fully charge your smartphone, tablet, and laptop before updating and resetting.

Related: 7 Tips on Increasing Laptop Battery Life

2) Make Backup of Contacts

It is one of the most important things because these days we don’t remember people’s phone numbers and we don’t have physical diaries. We hate it when we lose necessary contact information and have to ask everyone by recalling manually. Some contacts are either recovered or lost. So it is very important to create a contact backup. Even if we have a physical diary it is hard to create them again and set details for all. So always make sure to have contacts backup.

Contact Backup Option in Android
Contact Backup Option in Android

This feature is available on almost all phones. Even bar phones have a contact export feature. First of all always save your contacts in cloud services such as Google Account, Apple, or Microsoft account. Keep them in sync using the internet. This ensures all contacts are synchronized on all devices. Even if the phone is cleaned or reset, the contacts are intact. They come back once we log in with the account and start the contact sync.

To make double sure, go to the settings of your contact and create a backup file. Then export or save the file in a safe place like a memory card or computer. Virtual Card Format (.VCF) is a very popular contact information file extension used in Android. Most phones export in .vcf format which can also be read in Microsoft Windows.

In the case of a feature phone, you can move the contacts to a SIM card before the reset procedure. Move the contacts back to the phone memory from the SIM card when the process is completed.

Read More: Galaxy A5 Android Lollipop Upgrade Guide


3) Create Backup of Files, Photos and Videos

We have seen people making mistakes like deleting contacts, photos, settings, documents, apps, and then regretting a lot. This happens when people are in hurry to erase their phones. Sometimes it might happen when there is a buggy software update as well. There has been news in the past of phones getting stuck in bootloop after a faulty OTA update. These sometimes require performing a factory reset and cleaning cache partitions. In such situations, it is always better to have a solid backup of all necessary files.

Data backup is a very important part and also a common practice. These days some of the most important files on people’s phones are photos and videos. It is highly recommended to create a secure backup of all your photos and videos. If possible store the photos on an SD card and also keep a copy on a computer or portable hard disk. If possible, keep a backup on cloud storage such as Google Photos, Microsoft One Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud as well.

Check the files, photos, and videos once after copying them to a safe location for corruption. Files can be corrupted while transfer so always double-check. Check your download folder of internal storage to see if there are any important files and documents or not. Keep every important file safe and leave the unwanted.

Also Read: AOMEI Backupper Full Review

Android Data Backup
Android Data Backup

4) Keep Application Data safe

This is a bit of hidden data behind the sight for many normal uses. There may be some specific apps that don’t save data on servers or online. In this case, we need to export data or copy the app folder from the phone. Sometimes this includes saved images from Facebook, Twitter, safe files of games, render files, etc. Android app data can sometimes be useful in the future restore process. There can be many things actually. Some apps may also store encrypted songs, videos files offline. All these may also be useful if we create a backup and restore it in the future. So just figure out what is useful and what can be downloaded later before copying everything.

Android Internal Data
Android App Internal Data

5) Save the Settings

Users might have made specific changes, calibrations in the settings of their phone or in different apps. There may be special certificates, configuration files installed and fine-tunings made. It can be tedious and time consuming to do them again or install them again. Network APN settings, PIN, PUK Code, Unlock codes are also some examples. Therefore always store them in a safe place. We prefer to create a backup of such things and export settings files whenever possible in these cases. Else we recommend copying the settings in a text file and saving them on a computer. You can also take a screenshot of such calibrations or settings and then copy those images to a safer place.

6) Keep 2FA Safe

Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator

Two-factor authentication is very important for the security of our online account. These days we have many important accounts online for different services. So we all usually have a code generator app and OTP login for 2FA. Sometimes things get problematic when we forget to keep backup codes for 2FA. In the case of first boot after resetting a phone, there is no option to see SMS before completing setup. So if you have two-factor authentication enabled, in order to log in to your Google account at the time of setting up, you won’t be able to do that. It is because SMS can’t be accessed at setup. However, we can skip adding an account at first and we can surely proceed after the home screen appears and the Message app is available for use.


Things actually get serious, when the phone is reset using recovery mode and not from settings or the phone is formatted by mistake or buggy update. In this case, Factory Reset Protection (FRP) acts and it doesn’t allow to perform setup of the phone without logging in with the previous account. This means at least SMS access is needed for authentication. Actually, the best option is to take out the SIM card and put it on a different phone to receive OTP. In case there is no such option, you have to keep a copy of backup codes or turn off 2FA till the process of resetting and updating is completed.

7) Firmware Level Backup

TWRP System Backup
TWRP System Backup

This is for the enthusiasts who do experiments on their devices. Many such people like to install new custom ROM, overclock the CPU, customize the interface and have root access. This is a very serious level of work and one should be very careful. Most of the time, experts recommend using official firmware flashing tools like Odin, etc. Other times, experts suggest using TWRP for flashing. TWRP is an open source project and it helps to create a backup of the entire Android device. We also highly recommend creating a backup of your phone or tablet before flashing anything. Also, use the only compatible version of TWRP. We learned this the hard way while we bricked our Allwinner tablet.

While working, always find and download the stock or official firmware and flashing tool before doing any firmware level modification. Finding such software can be hard for some devices. But it is better to be safe than sorry. Rooting and flashing processes are risky and if things go wrong we need a stock image. So always create a backup of every possible thing before proceeding to be safe.

In addition wipe cache partition after a factory reset and OTA update to avoid accidental problems. If possible do a full factory reset of the phone after a major OS update. This one trick has actually been shown to prevent many problems. There are no disadvantages of factory reset so you can be safe if you perform it correctly. Overall we should be careful and create backup regularly. These things are tips so do keep them in mind each time you perform critical operations.


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About the Author: Abhishek Chand

Structural Engineer by profession. Computer and smartphone enthusiast. Tech-savvy blogger and former Gadget reviewer of AP1 HD TV and TechnoNepal.

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