Hard reset and soft reset: how to do it on Android and iPhone

Has your cell phone hung up and no longer reacts to your inputs on the screen? So you don’t have to throw it away right away, but you should try a soft reset and then a hard reset. You can find out how to hard reset your iPhone or Android device in the following instructions.

It is always necessary to restart your smartphone if there is a problem with the operating system. As a general rule, a system app or app causes so much trouble that the cell phone doesn’t even react to its screen inputs anymore. It usually freezes on the last screen you viewed.

When you perform a hard reset on your Android phone or iPhone, it forces your phone to turn off by itself. Unsaved scores or messages already written in a messenger are usually lost. If possible, you should always try a soft reset first.

Reboot options on Android and iOS

There are these different resets!

soft reset hard rest Factory reset
Possible without accessories Possible without accessories On iOS, a PC with iTunes is required
  • just turn off the phone
  • No loss of data that has already been saved
  • “Hard reset” usually means a factory reset
  • Hard reset actually meant removing the battery for a few seconds, but that’s almost not possible anymore
  • Reset the phone to factory settings or a backup
  • Very likely data loss

If you are aware of these differences, you are good to go! Below we have summarized the respective reset options for you and also listed the most common key combinations.

This is how you restart your cell phone with a soft reset

iPhone: Perform a soft reset with a combination of keys

Even if Apple fans don’t like to admit it, iPhones can get stuck too! Since the battery, of course, hasn’t been removable for a few generations, Apple has basically come up with two key combinations for iPhones with and without a home button that turn off the cell phone.

iPhones without a home button

To perform the soft reset on iPhone X, iPhone Xs, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models, the first thing you have to do is press and release the volume up button. Then press and release the volume down button and then press and hold the side button on the right. The iPhone will reboot.

IMG20210415130727 tilt 041521 011444 PM

With all newer iPhones, you need to perform this key combination. / © NextPit

iPhones with home button

With the iPhone 8 and the iPhone SE 2, it is done exactly the same way. So, first you press the volume up button, release it, repeat the process with the volume button, and then press and hold the side button. With the iPhone 7, on the other hand, you have to press and hold the volume down button and the sleep button at the same time and with older models you have to press the home button and the sleep button at the same time.

Android: Perform a soft reset with a combination of keys

Of course, there are many more options in Android than in the world of Apple. Since it is difficult to establish a general rule here, I will summarize the most common methods that you can then try for the hard reset little by little. I bet you end up with the result you want!

  1. Press and hold the volume up button and the sleep button for more than 10 seconds
  2. Press and hold the volume down button and the sleep button for more than 10 seconds
  3. Press and hold the power button, volume up button, and sleep button for more than 10 seconds
  4. Long press the standby button for more than 10 seconds

Perform a hard reset or factory reset

If your cell phone won’t boot up properly or gets stuck on booting, also known as a “locked device”, you’ll need to perform a “hard reset” or factory reset for better or worse. In doing so, we come across a distinction between the terms, which is unfortunately quite often misused. Because a hard reset actually just means completely disconnecting the cell phone from the power source for a while by removing the battery.

Of course, this is hardly possible with any device, since most Android mobile phones and all iPhones have a built-in battery. So what you are looking for is called “Factory Reset” and it describes how to reset the cell phone to factory settings using key combinations when rebooting. But let’s go back to distinguishing between Android and Apple iOS!

Perform “hard reset” on Android

So to factory reset an Android device, you have two options. If you can still operate your smartphone, you can use the Android settings. In the linked instructions, we tell you how you can reset the Android smartphone to factory settings through the operating system.

If your smartphone cannot be operated in its normal user interface, the factory reset is carried out through the so-called “Recovery”. The problem here is that you will encounter the reactivation lock during the initial setup later. This lock is intended to stop thieves who cannot use your smartphone without your login details (i.e. your Google, Samsung or Huawei account).

Unfortunately, we now have to distinguish between manufacturers again, since there are hardly any generalities here.

Factory reset on:

Samsung Galaxy S7 or Earlier – Factory Reset Using Key Combination

  1. First turn off the smartphone completely
  2. Simultaneously press: volume up, power and home button. After that, the Android logo will appear.
  3. After 20 seconds appears no command
  4. Use the volume up/down button to navigate to the selection wipe data / factory reset.
  5. press the power button
  6. Now confirm with Yesa factory reset is performed on the Samsung Galaxy smartphone
  7. choose reboot system now and confirmed with power.

Samsung Galaxy S8 or Later – Factory Reset Using Key Combination

  1. First turn off the smartphone completely
  2. Simultaneously press: Volume Up + Bixby + Power
  3. After a few seconds, the recovery menu will appear.
  4. Use the volume up/down button to navigate to the selection wipe data / factory reset
  5. press the power button
  6. Now confirm with Yesa factory reset is performed on the Samsung Galaxy smartphone
  7. choose reboot system now and confirmed with the power button

Huawei/Honor: factory reset by key combination

  1. First turn off the smartphone completely
  2. Simultaneously press: Volume Up + Power until the logo appears
  3. After a few seconds, the recovery menu will appear.
  4. Use the volume up/down button to navigate to the selection wipe data / factory reset
  5. press the power button
  6. Now confirm with Yesfactory reset is performed on Huawei/Honor smartphone
  7. choose reboot system now and confirmed with the power button

With newer versions of EMUI, you can also use the touch screen in the recovery menu.

LG: factory reset via key combination

  1. First turn off the smartphone completely
  2. Simultaneously press: Volume Up + Power until the logo appears
  3. Hold down the volume button, release the power button and press it again
  4. Now you land directly on the Factory Reset menu
  5. Use the volume up/down button to navigate to Yes
  6. press the power button
  7. If you confirm now, the factory reset will be done

Google Pixel: factory reset using key combination

  1. Turn off the Google Pixel
  2. Simultaneously press the volume down button and the power button until the phone turns on again
  3. Select in the bootloader menu with the volume button Recovery outside
  4. Press the power button to boot into recovery mode
  5. The Android robot appears with no command,
  6. Now hold down the power button and press the button Volume up button
  7. Use the volume button to dial wipe data / factory reset off and confirmed with the on/off button
  8. confirmed with Yes – delete all user data.
  9. After the reboot, you choose reboot system now turn off and confirm with the power button

OnePlus: factory reset via key combination

  1. Turn off your OnePlus smartphone
  2. Press the “volume down” button and the power button at the same time, also keep them pressed when the OnePlus logo appears
  3. When the following screen with keypad or unlock pattern input appears, touch Have you forgotten your password
  4. confirmed with okay
  5. Your smartphone will perform a factory reset and reboot.

Xiaomi: factory reset by key combination

  1. Turn off your Xiaomi smartphone
  2. Press and hold the power button and volume up button to enter recovery mode
  3. You can use volume up button in home menu recovery mode Select
  4. Select wipe/reset with volume button, confirm with power button
  5. Use the volume button to navigate to Clear all dataconfirm with the on/off button
  6. confirmed with Yes
  7. Your smartphone will perform a factory reset and reboot.

Sony: factory reset via tools

Sony does not have a conventional factory recovery system. Therefore, you are forced to use PC software to perform a factory reset. Xperia Companion is only available for Windows or Mac. It will guide you through the steps to factory reset your Sony Xperia.

iPhone: Perform a Hard Reset

There is no recovery on your iPhone and you won’t get very far with key combinations when starting up the Apple smartphone. Instead, you need to connect your phone to your computer with a cable and launch iTunes there. If you haven’t installed iTunes yet, you can find the macOS version here and the Windows version here.

macOS factory settings

You can reset your iPhone to factory settings through iTunes. / ©Apple

You should now enter recovery mode with the cable connected! Just scroll up briefly and look for the key combination to soft reset your iPhone. The key combinations are the same with the cable connected. Then take a look at the screen.

Because here you should already see a popup suggesting further steps. To prevent data loss, you should first select “Update” and see if an update helps. If that doesn’t help, select “Restore” and install the latest backup you created from your iPhone.

How did you get your smartphone to work again? Was the simple reboot enough or did it have to be the full reboot? Or did you use a completely different method that you want to show us? Then leave a comment!


This article was revised on April 15 to finally include iPhones! I have kept the existing comments.