How to Restore Apps and Data after a Reset


A reset is one of the quickest ways to restore a device to its factory default settings, essentially wiping all data, apps, and customizations. There are various reasons why you may need to perform a reset, such as fixing persistent issues, or probably wanting to start fresh after encountering major software problems. But, before resetting your device, it is important to know how to back up and restore your apps and data after the reset.

How to Restore Apps and Data After a Reset
How to Restore Apps and Data After a Reset

Well, in this post, we will be focusing on different ways to restore your apps and data after a reset. Although we will consider some ways by which you can back up your device before resetting, we suggest reading a complete guide on how to back up your device before resetting.

5 Ways to Restore Your Apps and Data After a Factory Reset

Losing your apps, files, and data can be a major inconvenience, but it’s a risk you don’t have to take. Performing a factory reset wipes all your apps, data, and settings and returns your device to its out-of-the-box state. However, backing up first ensures you don’t permanently lose anything important.

Depending on your device and backup method, there are various ways to restore apps, contacts, photos, messages, and other data after a reset. Remember to choose a backup method that works best for your needs and preferences, whether it’s cloud storage, backup apps, or manual file transfers.

Don’t let the fear of data loss hold you back from enjoying the benefits of a fresh start on your device. Use this guide to backup first, then quickly pick up right where you left off once the reset is complete.

Backup Apps and Data Before Reset:

While you can attempt to recover data after a factory reset, the best practice is to always have a current backup ready beforehand. Regularly backing up your apps, photos, messages, and other important data ensures you have a seamless way to restore everything on a new or reset device. Here are some tips:

  • Use Cloud Storage Services: Taking advantage of cloud storage from companies like Apple (iCloud), Google (Drive), Microsoft (OneDrive), and others is the simplest backup solution. Enable automatic backups in your settings so your data is continuously synced to the cloud. If you ever need to reset your phone or tablet, just sign into your cloud account on the new device and restore from your existing backup. Easy!
  • Try External Hard Drives/USB Drives: For local backups, plug in an external hard drive or USB thumb drive to your computer, then use your device’s backup utility to create a backup file on the external storage. This is handy if you don’t want to use cloud services, have devices on multiple platforms, or need to save space. Just be sure to keep that external drive safe!
  • Use Computer Backup Software: Many device manufacturers provide their own free backup utilities you can install on your computer. For example, Samsung has Smart Switch, Apple has iTunes/Finder, and there are apps for Android devices too.

Restore Apps and Data from Cloud Storage (First Way):

Step 1: Sign into the Cloud Account

  • On your freshly reset device, sign into the same cloud account you used to back up your apps and data previously.
  • For example, sign into your Google account on an Android device or your Apple ID/iCloud on an iPhone/iPad.

Step 2: Find “Restore from Backup” Option

  • Once signed in, look for an option to “Restore from Backup” or “Restore from Cloud Backup.”
  • On Android, this is usually found in Settings > System > Backup
  • On iOS, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups

Step 3: Select Backup and Choose Data

  • Select your most recent backup file to restore from.
  • You’ll be prompted to choose which specific data types you want to restore, such as contacts, photos, messages, app data, documents, etc.
  • Now, only select the categories you need to save time and space.

Step 4: Wait for Restore Completion

  • Confirm to initiate the restoration process from the chosen cloud backup.
  • Depending on your data amount, this could take 15 minutes to a few hours.
  • You’ll see a progress indicator estimating the time remaining.
  • Don’t use your device heavily until the restore is completed.

Step 5: Setup Continues After Restore

  • Once the cloud restore is complete, you can continue setting up and using your freshly reset device.
  • Apps and data will automatically sync and populate as you start using them again.
  • Give it a bit for all content to fully download and appear.

By restoring from a cloud backup first, you can quickly get your key apps, files, contacts, and preferences back after a factory reset. Then focus on reinstalling any remaining apps from the appropriate app store.

Transfer Apps and Data from External Storage (Second Way):

Step 1: Connect External Storage

  • Take the external hard drive or USB storage device that contains your backup file.
  • Connect it to your newly reset device using the appropriate cable or port.

Step 2: Locate Backup File

  • Once connected, use a file manager app to browse the folders on the external storage.
  • Look for the backup file you created before performing the factory reset.
  • The file may be in a folder labeled “Backup” or the name of the backup app used.

Step 3: Initiate Restore/Transfer

  • Depending on how the backup was created, you may get prompts on how to restore it.
  • Follow any on-screen instructions to restore the entire backup at once.
  • Or you may need to select individual file types like photos, documents, app data etc. to transfer over.

Step 4: Wait for Full Transfer

  • Do not disconnect the external storage device until the data transfer is 100% complete.
  • You’ll likely see a progress bar or notification letting you know when it’s done.
  • For large backups, this could take 30 minutes or more, so be patient.

Step 5: Disconnect Safely

  • Once you get confirmation the restore or file transfer finished successfully, you can safely disconnect the external storage.
  • On Android, you may need to go to Settings and tap to “Eject” the drive first.
  • On some devices, there may be an option to open the transferred files/apps right on the device.

Restoring from an external drive backup ensures you don’t have to re-download everything from cloud storage. Just make sure to follow any manufacturer backup tools properly.

Re-download Apps from App Store or Google Play (Third Way):

Step 1: Sign Into Main Account

  • On your newly reset device, sign into the same account you previously used for downloading and purchasing apps.
  • For Android, sign into your Google account linked to the Play Store.
  • For iOS, sign into your Apple ID account linked to the App Store.

Step 2: Browse Your App Library

  • Once signed in, open the app store (Play Store or App Store) and locate the “Library” section.
  • Here you’ll see a list of all the apps you’ve previously installed on any of your devices using that account.
  • You can also use the search function to find specific apps you need.

Step 3: Re-Download and Restore Apps

  • Go through the list and select the apps you want to re-install on your reset device.
  • Download the essential apps you use daily first to get them restored faster.
  • Some apps allow transferring data from your account, so previous app data may also be restored.

Step 4: Check for Paid Apps and Subscriptions

  • Look out for any apps you purchased or subscribed to that need to be reinstalled.
  • Your account payment methods should allow you to re-download these without extra charges.
  • Make sure to restore subscriptions like streaming services as well.

Step 5: Wait for Downloads and Updates

  • Downloading numerous apps at once may take a substantial amount of time.
  • Have patience as each app installs and syncs any data from your account.
  • After downloading, check for app updates to ensure you have the latest versions.

Re-downloading from an official app store is often the final step after restoring most data. It ensures you can get back to your regular app workflow quickly on a fresh device.

Sync Apps and Data with a Computer (Fourth Way):

Software like iTunes, Samsung Smart Switch, or the Android File Transfer app can sync your devices. So, first;

Step 1: Install Sync Software

  • On your computer, install the official sync software for your device type:
    • iTunes for iOS devices
    • Samsung Smart Switch for Samsung Android devices
    • Android File Transfer for other Android devices

Step 2: Connect Device to Computer

  • Using the appropriate USB cable, connect your freshly reset device to the computer.
  • When prompted, allow the computer to access the device’s storage and file system.

Step 3: Launch Sync App

  • Open the sync software you installed, like iTunes, Smart Switch or Android File Transfer.
  • The software should detect your connected device automatically.

Step 4: Restore from Backup

  • Look for an option to “Restore from Backup” or “Restore from This Computer.”
  • Browse and select the backup file you created previously on this computer.
  • Choose which specific items you want to restore (apps, photos, contacts, etc).

Step 5: Begin the Sync Process

  • Initiate the sync and restoration process from the backup file.
  • The software will begin transferring all the selected apps, data, and content to your device.
  • Depending on backup size, this could take 30+ minutes.

Step 6: Wait for Completion

  • Do not disconnect your device until the sync status shows it has completed successfully.
  • You may see a progress bar or summary describing what data was restored.

Step 7: Safely Disconnect

  • Once the sync is done, you can safely disconnect the device from your computer.
  • Restart the device if prompted and start using it with your restored apps and data!

Using official sync tools provides a direct way to comprehensively back up and restore your device’s data through a trusted computer connection.

Use Third-Party Apps for Data Recovery (Final Way):

Apps like DroidKit, EaseUS MobiSaver, and FoneDog Toolkit can be used to recover lost data after resets in case you didn’t create a backup first.

Step 1: Install a Recovery App

  • Download and install a reputable data recovery app like DroidKit, EaseUS MobiSaver, or FoneDog Toolkit.
  • These apps specialize in scanning devices for any remaining data fragments after deletion or a reset.

Step 2: Grant Required Permissions

  • When you first launch the app, it will ask for certain permissions like access to storage and USB debugging. Allow these so it can do a deep scan of your device’s memory.

Step 3: Scan for Recoverable Data

  • Once permissions are enabled, just follow the app’s instructions to initiate a full scan of your device’s internal storage and any connected external storage.
  • Depending on your device, this process could take 15-30 minutes.

Step 4: Preview Recoverable Content

  • After the scan, you’ll see a preview of any data the app could recover, typically categorized into sections like photos, messages, call logs, documents, and more.

Step 5: Select Data to Restore

  • Carefully look through the preview and check only the specific items you want to restore to your device. Select only the items you want to restore to avoid transferring over junk files.

Step 6: Recover Selected Data

  • With your wanted data selected, choose the recover/restore option. Select only the items you want to restore to avoid transferring over junk files.
  • Immediately, the app will then extract and save those items back to your device’s storage.

While not a perfect solution, data recovery apps can work wonders for regaining access to your important stuff when no backup exists. Third-party data recovery apps can help you get your precious photos, messages, contacts, and more back.

Just be patient during scans and carefully select what to recover. Avoid recovering junk files that could bog down your phone.

Test Restored Apps and Data

Once you’ve restored from a backup, thoroughly test that all your critical apps and data transferred over successfully. Here are some tips:

  • Open key apps and documents to verify content is present and functioning properly
  • Check that contacts, photos, messages, and other personal data are fully restored
  • If anything is missing, you may need to repeat the restore process

Troubleshooting Common Issues while Restoring Apps and Data 

Even after diligently creating backups, you may run into some snags when trying to restore data to your freshly reset device. Here are some common issues you might face and tips for troubleshooting them:

Unable to Find Backup Files

  • If your cloud service or recovery app can’t seem to locate your backup files, first double-check you’re signed into the correct account. Then see if you can manually navigate to the backup file location.
  • On services like Google Drive or iCloud, backups are sometimes buried in out-of-the-way folders. You may need to dig around to find them. If still no luck, the backup files were likely stored locally and got wiped during the factory reset.

Corrupted Backup Files

  • Occasionally backup files can become corrupted, making them partially or completely unreadable when trying to restore. The telltale signs are endless error messages or the recovery getting stuck at a certain percentage.
  • First, try redownloading the backup from your cloud storage. If it’s still corrupted, you may need to bite the bullet and set up as a new device. Be sure to create new backups right away using a desktop backup tool which can verify file integrity.

Apps Not Working Properly

  • After Restore Even after a successful data restore, you may find certain apps are buggy, crashing, or just not working right. This can happen if an app’s data didn’t restore properly or is incompatible with the current app version.
  • For major apps like email, messaging, and web browsers, your best bet is to clear the app data and set it up as new. For other apps, uninstalling and re-installing from scratch usually resolves issues. Reach out to developers for advice on troubleshooting problematic apps post-restore.

While frustrating, issues like these are relatively rare if you maintain regular backups. A bit of patience, trial-and-error, and working methodically through problems is key to getting your device fully restored.


Resetting a device doesn’t have to mean losing all your important data and starting from scratch. Regularly backing up to the cloud or external storage will give you a restore point. Follow the steps outlined above for your particular device type whether an Android, iPhone, Windows PC, or Mac. With some patience, you can seamlessly restore all your apps, files, and data after completing a factory reset.

With a reliable backup plan in place, you can reset your device with confidence, knowing that your precious apps and data are just a few steps away from being restored.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if I didn’t create a backup before the reset?

You may be able to recover data using third-party apps like DroidKit, EaseUS MobiSaver, or FoneDog Toolkit. These apps scan your device for any remaining data fragments. However, a backup is recommended to ensure a complete restore.

Why are some of my apps not working properly after restoring?

App data can occasionally become corrupted or incompatible with the current app version after a restore. Try clearing the app data, uninstalling and re-installing, or reaching out to the developer for troubleshooting advice.

How often should I create backups?

Get in the habit of regularly backing up, even when not planning a reset. Most cloud services offer automatic backup options you can enable. Or use your device maker’s computer software to manually create backups.

What backup method is best?

Cloud backups to services like iCloud or Google Drive are the simplest solution, allowing you to restore over the internet. But local backups to an external drive or computer can also work if you don’t want to use cloud storage.

Will a backup restore all my data exactly how it was before?

Backups aim to restore your apps, photos, messages, contacts, and other data as completely as possible. However, some device settings, passwords, or configuration options may need to be re-applied after the restore.

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