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How to format Samsung phones

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Are you about to sell your Samsung smartphone – perhaps to buy a newer model – and would like to know how to format it so that the new device owner can’t snoop into your data? Has your Samsung mobile started to “skip”? Applications are crashing all the time and are you looking for a way to reset Android in order to easily fix the problem? I am happy to announce that you have come to the right place at the right time!

With today’s guide, we will see  how to format Samsung phones by  returning Android to factory state. It is a very simple operation to complete, but drastic: all the files on the mobile phone memory are deleted and there is no way to go back. Before proceeding, therefore, create backup copies and make sure that formatting is really the right solution to your problems.

If you are trying to reset Android due to slow or unstable system problems, and not because you have to sell your smartphone, try downloading an antivirus for Android before you go to work. If your mobile has been hit by malware, you may be able to solve the problem without formatting Android and therefore without deleting all the files from the smartphone’s memory. I advise you to try this… if it goes wrong (or you have to sell your cell phone), read on and find out how to format your cell phone by following the instructions below.

Preliminary operations

Before formatting your smartphone, take a few minutes of free time and make a backup of all the files on the device memory. I warmly invite you to adopt a double online / offline solution, in this way you can keep a copy of the data both locally (therefore on your computer or on a microSD card) and in the cloud, using the services offered for free by Google.

Offline data backup

To back up your data locally you can rely on Samsung Smart Switch , the official program of the Korean company that allows you to manage smartphones and tablets from computers. It is completely free, works with all Samsung devices and is available for both Windows and macOS. If you have not yet downloaded Smart Switch on your PC, connected to the official website of the program, click on the Download button for Windows  (if you are using a Windows PC) or the Download button  for MAC OS  (if you are using a Mac) and wait for the download is completed.

When the download is complete, if you are using a Windows PC, open the Smart_Switch_PC_setup.exe file   and click on the Yes button  in the window that opens. Then put the check mark next to the items  I accept the terms of the license agreement to accept the conditions of use of the program, click on  Next and wait for the Smart Switch installation procedure to be completed. Finally, press   Finish to close the setup. 

If you are unable to install Smart Switch due to an error (eg the specified application could not be started. Application side by side configuration is incorrect “), download the Microsoft Visual C ++ 2008 Service MFC Security Update Pack 1 Redistributable Package in its 32 and 64-bit versions ( vcredist_x86.exe  and  vcredist_x64.exe ) and install it on your computer, then repeat the installation of the Smart Switch and everything should work fine.

How to format Samsung phones

If you are using a Mac, to install Smart Switch you have to open the dmg package  that contains the program and launch the executable  SmartSwitchMac.pkg  inside it. In the window that opens, you have to click on the Continue button   three consecutive times, then on Accept  and  Install  and you have to type the  password  of your user account on macOS. To conclude, press Enter , click on the Continue installation button   and accept the restart of the computer by pressing the appropriate button.

How to format Samsung phones

Now all you have to do is start Smart Switch , connect your Samsung smartphone to the computer using the supplied USB cable and wait for the device to be recognized by the PC. If this does not happen, call up the Android notifications menu, select the item relating to the USB connection and select the item Multimedia device (MTP) from the menu that appears.

At this point, click on the Back up button located at the bottom left and wait patiently for a local backup of all the data you have on your smartphone.

How to format Samsung phones

Following the restoration of your smartphone you can restore all the data simply by starting Smart Switch, clicking on the Restore button and selecting the backup you made just now from the window that opens.

If you don’t want to save everything on your PC, but you want to have the freedom to select the items that Smart Switch must include in its backup, go to the More> Preferences menu located at the top right, select the Backup Items tab from the window that opens and leaves the check mark only next to the items to be included in the backup (eg. Pictures , Music or Videos ).

How to format Samsung phones

If, on the other hand, you want to “manually” copy some files from the smartphone memory, open the Windows File  Explorer (the yellow folder located at the bottom left of the taskbar), choose the  Computer  or  This PC  icon from the sidebar of left and select your Samsung smartphone icon  by double clicking on it.

At this point, double-click on the icon relating to the internal memory of the device (eg.  Phone ), locate the items to save on the PC (for example photos and videos, which are located in the folder called  DCIM ) and start transferring them to the computer by making a simple copy-and-paste. If you are using a Mac, you need to use the free Android File Transfer application to access the contents of the phone memory (you cannot use the Finder).

How to format Samsung phones

Would you like to backup apps and data directly from your smartphone? In this case you could rely on  Titanium Backup , a free application (in its basic version) that allows you to save data, apps and settings on the smartphone memory or on a microSD card. It’s extremely easy to use, but sadly it won’t work to its full potential unless you root Android first.

If you have not rooted your smartphone and you intend to do so, you could opt for  Easy Backup & Restore , another free application that allows you to save less data than Titanium (SMS / MMS, calendar, bookmarks, call log and address book) but it also works on devices not subjected to the root procedure.

How to format Samsung phones
How to format Samsung phones

Once the backup is complete, connect the smartphone to the computer and transfer all the files you just obtained to it (otherwise, by formatting the smartphone, you will end up losing them).

Online data backup

Now let’s move on to the steps to take to make an online backup of photos, videos, contacts, calendars and other data that can be stored on the cloud thanks to the excellent services offered by Google for free.

Almost certainly you have already associated your Samsung smartphone to a Gmail account, so now all you have to do is go   to the Android settings (by pressing the gear icon located at the top right of the notifications menu) and make sure that the data synchronization functions are all active. To do this, select the Account item   from the Android settings menu, press the Google logo   and choose your  Gmail address  from the screen that opens. Then make sure that the “levers” relating to synchronization of contacts, calendar, etc. they are all active (otherwise you activate them) and that’s it.

How to format Samsung phones

After this step, go back to the Settings menu of your smartphone, go to Backup and restore> Backup personal data and, if necessary, also activate the backup of your smartphone settings via the Samsung home online services (by activating the appropriate levers).

How to format Samsung phones

Now let’s move on to photos and videos. To activate the online backup of all the photos and videos made with your mobile phone, open the Google Photos application  , press the hamburger icon   located at the top left and select the Settings item   from the menu that opens. Now go to  Backup and synchronization , move   the lever located at the top right to ON and set the Upload size option   to  High quality (in this way all the shots with a maximum resolution of 16MP and the videos with a maximum resolution of 1080p, the space is unlimited).

How to format Samsung phones

Finally, take a look at all the messaging applications you have installed on your smartphone (first of all WhatsApp) and make sure you have a recent backup of your conversations. If you need help saving WhatsApp chats online or offline, there is a guide of mine where you will find all the steps to be taken.

Format Samsung mobile

Now you can really take action. You just have to choose which procedure to follow and put it into practice by following the instructions below. Well yes! You read that right: there is no single way to  format Samsung phones .

How to format Samsung phones

Like all terminals equipped with Android, even Samsung smartphones can be restored to their factory state using the standard reset procedure (called  factory reset ) or via the recovery menu. The main difference between these two modes is that the first requires direct access to Android, while the second is implemented through the Recovery, a software loaded before the operating system that allows you to reset the phone even when you are no longer able to access it correctly. Android.

In both cases,  the data on the smartphone memory are deleted , while those on the microSD (for Samsung phones with expandable memory) remain intact. To format the microSD you need to go to the Settings> Memory> Format  Android SD Card menu  and press the Format SD card button  . If you keep very important files on the microSD, as a precaution you could also remove the card from the phone during the formatting procedure, but, again, the data stored inside it is not affected.

Factory data reset

To format your smartphone following the standard procedure, go  to the Android settings menu  , select the Account icon   from the latter and move to  Backup and restore .

How to format Samsung phones

At this point, select the Factory data reset option  , press the Reset device  and  Delete all buttons   and wait for the phone to restart to find yourself with a brand new Android and no files or apps on the memory.

When you restart Android you will have to go through the initial system setup procedure by choosing the language, setting up a Wi-Fi connection and configuring your Google and Samsung accounts.

Restore from Recovery

To restore the phone using Recovery, turn it off, turn it back on by holding down the Volume +Power  and  Home keys   and wait for the Recovery menu to appear with the Android logo in the center. If you are unable to turn off your smartphone, hard reset the device by temporarily removing its battery (if equipped with a removable battery) or by pressing the key combination provided for the forced restart of the Samsung smartphone model in your possession (eg. Volume +Power  and  Home ).

How to format Samsung phones
How to format Samsung phones

At this point, use the Volume key   to highlight the wipe data / factory reset option   and press the Power key   to select it. Then highlight the entry  yes – – delete all user data  and press  Power  to select it, thus starting the formatting of the device. The procedure may take a few minutes.

At the end of the formatting, select the  reboot system now  item from the Recovery menu and wait for the smartphone to restart. When you log in again you will have to go through the initial Android setup procedure in which to choose the language, Wi-Fi connection and set up your Google and Samsung accounts.

In case you encounter difficulties in completing the hard reset procedure of your smartphone, try to take a leap on  YouTube  and look for  video tutorials on the subject , there are galore (both in Italian and in other languages) .

Free space wiping

If you need to sell your smartphone, wiping free space might also be a good idea  . If you do not know what I am talking about, it is an operation by which you write several times on the smartphone memory and the files that were present on it are made completely unrecoverable (even using software for the recovery of deleted files) . To learn more, check out my guide on how to format Android.