A Quick Spring Clean to Make a Smartphone Last Longer

How and Why to Factory Reset Android to Make it Last Longer

Mobile phones are devices that have consumed our lives. Having now had a smartphone for a decade, I have come to realise that it is not just time and attention they consume, my phone is also a big consumer of money.

Originally, I’d bought iPhones, first the 3S, then the 4S, followed by the 5S. I was on two-year contracts, usually being offered an early upgrade a couple of months before the contract ended.

Once I reached the end of the iPhone 5S’ contract though, I had had enough.

The iPhone 6, although a different shape did not provide me with new features that I could justify the added cost. So I kept hold of the trusty iPhone 5S, doubling the previous lifespan to 4 years.

Shortly after the 4-year anniversary of my purchase though, it began to slow down and not hold its battery. It required charging multiple times a day to cope with my daily Google Maps powered commute and office music listening.

Making the Jump to Android from iPhone

Having already switched to a SIM only contract two years prior, I was debating whether to get a new iPhone or make the jump to Android. After speaking to a few people and a bit of Googling, I bit the bullet and made the switch.

I opted for the OnePlus 5T. This was a phone with an almost cult-like following. The brand had been a small, underdog start-up in an industry dominated by giants like Apple and Samsung. Although by the time the 5T was launched, OnePlus was a well-established brand.

Choosing Android Because it’s Cheaper

Nonetheless, the phone was fantastic. Fast, easy to use, and practical. Most importantly though, it was about half the price of the latest iPhone (which I think was the iPhone 8 at the time).

My calculation had been that the phone would need to last me at least 2 years to justify switching from Apple. It could not break, have a huge drop in performance, or see the battery life get sucked out of it like juice from a Capri Sun.

This shouldn’t have been a problem at all. I planned to keep it longer than 2 years, I was hoping for at least another 4.

Problem: Phone is Slowing Down Over Time

With 5 months to go before the magic 2-year date though…disaster. Not a sudden disaster like dropping it in a puddle or leaving it on a park bench.

A slow disaster. One that started with the battery draining slightly faster and then with it beginning to slow down. Opening an email in the Gmail app suddenly took several seconds, instead of being instant.

While that is certainly a first world problem, it made it difficult to use as it was hard to tell whether I had just not pressed a button or if it was thinking about completing the action.

I checked the RAM usage. Fine, the phone had 8GB in total and never went above 80% used. I cleared cache. I uninstalled apps. I deleted files I no longer needed. But to no avail.

After some Googling, I couldn’t find others that were having problems at the same time. This is always a good one to check in case a recent update is having the same effects on others. After hoping it wouldn’t come to this, I realised I would have to undertake factory reset.

The factory reset is relatively easy to do. It’s just that it is time consuming to install all your apps afterwards if they are not backed up and restored.

Thankfully OnePlus phones are fitted with an app called OnePlus Switch that does all the hard work for you. After running this, I reset the phone to factory settings.

How to Reset Your Android Phone to Factory Settings

Resetting your Android phone is quick and easy.

  1. Open your “Settings” app
  2. Scroll down and tap on “System”
  3. Tap “Reset Options”
  4. Tap “Erase all data (factory reset)”
  5. Decide whether you want to also “Erase internal storage” with the toggle button (WARNING: doing this will delete all of your photos, videos, etc)
  6. Tap “Reset Phone”

And that’s it. After waiting a while for it to be complete, the phone was fast again. Lightening fast. It looks like that magic 2 year mark should be a doddle and my financial gamble with Android will pay off.