Are you locked out of your Samsung Galaxy S8? Or are you planning on getting rid of it, and need to wipe all your personal data? Whatever the reason, a factory reset is quite easy to do once you know how – follow our instructions and your phone will be reset in no time!
Performing a factory reset – also known as a 'hard reset' – will remove all of the personal data from your device, including photos, contacts, text messages, apps and pretty much everything else you've added to the phone.
There are quite a few reasons why you might want to factory reset your Samsung Galaxy S8 – and quite a few different ways to do it. In this article we'll explain what they are, help you decide which method is best for your circumstances, and then show you, step-by-step, how to get the factory reset done.
There are two main ways to make a backup: either via an online 'cloud' service or through your laptop or desktop computer.
For cloud services, you can use either a Google account or Samsung account to back up your device. If you've already added a Google or Samsung account (or both) to your phone, then there's a good chance it's already being backed up to a cloud service.
Check this page from Samsung for a bit more info on how this works – but essentially, you just need to go in to your 'Backup & Reset' settings and check that you have either your Google account or Samsung account set to back up automatically.
If you want to back up your Galaxy S8 to a Windows PC or Mac instead, you'll first need to download and install Samsung's Smart Switch software, which you can find here for both Windows PCs and Macs.
Once it's installed, it is simply a case of opening the software, plugging in your phone and pressing the Backup button!
Like many newer Android devices, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a security feature called 'Android Device Protection'.
This function makes it impossible to use the phone after a factory reset, unless you know the Google email address and password you used originally. You'll be prompted to enter both once the factory reset is complete – and if you don't know them, you can be permanently locked out of the phone.
You should remove the Google account from the phone before you reset it – and if you plan on selling the phone, then you definitely need to remove your Google account before doing the reset.
You can remove the Google account by following these steps:
From any screen of your phone, swipe your finger down from the top of the display to view your Notification panel.
Find and tap on the cog icon in the top-right corner of your notifications. This will open your Settings menu.
Once in Settings, scroll down and tap on Cloud and accounts.
On the next page, tap on Accounts to view all the accounts currently added to your Samsung S8.
Tap on Google.
Now you can see the details of your Google account, and which features are set to sync. Press the three dots in the top-right corner to make a new menu appear.
Press Remove account from the menu.
Confirm you want to continue by pressing Remove account.
If you can't remove the Google account from the phone – if you're locked out, for example – then you'll need to ensure you know your Google password first, otherwise you may not be able to use the phone at all.
Depending on your current situation, there are actually a variety of methods you can use to reset your Galaxy S8 – so look through the listed methods below and decide which best suits your needs.
If your phone is behaving normally, then carrying out the reset through the settings menu is fast and easy.
Start off by going into Settings.
Tap on Backup and reset.
Tap on Factory data reset at the bottom. You will be told at this point if you're still signed in to a Google account – if so, remove this first following section 2 above.
Next tap Reset device.
Press Erase everything to get the reset started.
Wait for a few minutes while the reset is performed.
This method is particularly useful if you've forgotten your passcode or are locked out of the phone.
To factory reset your S8 using the phone's Recovery Menu, simply follow these steps:
Start with the phone turned off.
Now, hold the Volume up, Bixby and Power buttons at the same time.
Keep all three buttons held down until you see the Samsung logo.
Wait about 30 seconds and you should be taken to the 'Android Recovery Menu'. If your phone starts up as normal, you'll need to go back to step one and try again.
Press the Volume down button four times to highlight the wipe data/factory reset option.
Use the Power button to select it.
Now press the the Volume down button seven times until Yes - delete all user data is highlighted.
Use the Power button to start the wipe.
Wait a minute while the reset is carried out.
Once it has finished, press the Power button to select reboot system now.
Your Galaxy S8 will now begin to load up in its factory-reset state. It will take a few minutes for this first startup to go through, so you may need to wait a while before the setup screen appears.
If you don't have any access to your phone – if it's been lost or stolen, for example – then you can try doing a remote wipe using either your Google account or Samsung account.
In order for these methods to work, you must have added at least one of these accounts to the phone. Also, your phone must have a mobile data or Wi-Fi connection, as these methods will not work until the phone can connect to the internet.
Both methods are broadly similar, but a Google account will use the Android Device Manager, while the Samsung account uses their Find My Mobile service.
Go to the Android Device Manager site.
Log in with your Google account.
Once you see your phone, press the Erase button.
Confirm you want to erase all your data by pressing Erase once more.
Go to Samsung's Find My Mobile website.
Log in with your Samsung account.
Check the S8 is selected in the top-left (you may see previously owned phones here as well).
On the right-hand side of the screen, choose Wipe My Device.
With either of these methods, the wipe will be carried out as soon as your phone connects to the internet.
If you can't use any of the methods above, then resetting your phone through a PC is still a viable option. This procedure will download the latest firmware for your phone and then wipe your personal data.
You'll need your microUSB charging cable for connecting your phone to your PC, and you'll also need Samsung's Smart Switch software, which you can download from Samsung's website here. Once that's installed, follow these steps:
Plug your Galaxy S8 into your PC.
Wait while any necessary driver software is installed.
Open up the Samsung Smart Switch software.
Wait for your phone to show up in Smart Switch.
Click on more in the top-right corner of the software.
Click on Emergency Software Recovery and Initialisation.
Click the Device Initialisation tab.
Click OK to proceed.
Click OK again to confirm the initialisation.
Read through the precautions and click OK again to accept.
Choose whether you want to try creating a backup. Note that if the phone is locked, or not loading correctly, you will not be able to do a backup – click Skip backup in this case.
Wait while the initialisation loads.
Click Yes on the User Account Control prompt if you get one.
Wait while the software downloads and is installed to your Galaxy S8.
Once it's done, press OK.
Your phone should now begin to turn on. Give it a moment and then check if it's working.
Rebooting your phone – often referred to as a 'soft reset' – should be the first thing you try if your device is frozen or has stopped responding, or if it doesn't appear to be turning on.
A soft reset does not remove any data from your device – it simply shuts the phone down then starts it up again.
Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons at the same time.
Keep holding them down for around 15 seconds.
Your Galaxy S8 should now begin to turn back on.
Give it a minute or so to load.
Check the phone is back to normal.
If you don't get any response, plug the phone into a charger to and let it charge for at least an hour – then try the soft reset again.
If you've reset your phone and now want to continue to use it, then you'll need to go through the process of setting the phone up as if it were new. If you need any help with this, be sure to check out our full Setup and User Guide for the Samsung Galaxy S8.
If you've reset your handset because you want to sell it or trade it in, then now you should be all set! Your phone no longer contains any of your personal information, and it's safe to hand over to a new owner.
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