After more than 3 years in operation, my FP3 became slow, so during the Christmas holidays, I decided to do a factory reset. This worked out quite well, the phone feels like new.
However, I’m quite surprised how lengthy (sometimes painful) the process is.
In this forum, you quite regularly read about people resetting their phone, just like it’s an easy thing to do. I’m surprised how many unexpected hoops you have to jump through and how limited the available information is. I start to think that I have missed out on some easy way to handle a factory reset - does any one of you have better procedures available than the one I followed?
Below, I share my experiences. Please note, I’m not complaining! It’s mostly my surprise that there’s so little information and guidance for these procedures available anywhere, but most of all, I’m surprised that restoring apps that worked just fine before the reset, can be so hard.
I’m on standard Android, and I (somewhat grudgingly) make use of the Google ecosystem, so I guess I’m with the majority of FP users, or at least a large group. My procedure was as follows, I think it’s a fairly regular and straightforward one:
- Backup all individual files (mostly my ‘downloads’ folder where such files usually end up) to a computer
- Backup the Android system through Settings
- Backup Whatsapp messages onto a cloud service
- Backup the (Microsoft) Authenticator info to a cloud service
- Reset the phone
Now, after resetting and restarting, the standard flow (and messages) assume that you have an old phone at hand that still contains your information and that is able to receive authenticator requests or text messages. The procedure does not acknowledge the situation that your ‘old’ phone is in fact also your ‘new’ phone. (This tells a lot about the industry’s basic assumptions.)
For instance, when connecting to Google, a username+password is not enough, there’s of course multifactor, and it offers to confirm your login through an authenticator (no, that app is not yet available), a text message to your phone (no, my phone is still in the first startup mode, although on second thoughts, it could very well be that it is already has the possibility to receive text messages), a landline call, or a one-time login code (which I happened to have!).
After the restoration of apps, it’s completely unpredictable how much information you need when you want to start using that app again. Most of the times, when the app uses an account, just logging in again will get you going. A password manager (I used Keepass) greatly helps here.
However, there’s the more ‘official’ apps (banks, government) that require you to scan your ID.
The Authenticator app was a particularly complex one; the option to restore your backup from the cloud was quite inconspicuous somewhere at the bottom of the screen. After restoration, quite a few of the accounts that I used to have (to access Sharepoint sites) were disabled and I had to ‘scan the QR code that I had received when I was granted access’. Well, I did not have those QR codes, never had them. Anyway, that’s Microsoft, I guess.
I have not yet restarted and tested all my apps yet (there’s more than 70, which I don’t think is that much) so there may be some surprises left. However, when using your phone, you find that some data is magically retained but other data is lost.
- total free storage greatly increased
- OSMAndroid had already downloaded all maps during restoration
- the Keep Notes app retained all notes (had forgot to backup, however it’s connected to the Google ecosystem, so yeah)
- many Android settings were retained
- One app had become extinct and could not be downloaded anymore (including the data…)
- Bluetooth pairings were gone (look up manuals of all devices again to find out how pairing went)
- I had to reconfigure all mail accounts (except of course Gmail), looking for the imap/smtp addresses and port numbers
- Signal chats were all gone (stupid, should have backed them up as well)
- shortcuts on the screen had to be re-configured
- some Android settings were not retained: eg, standard browser, trust agents, finger prints, network name in status bar, …
Anyway, all of this has kept me busy for some 4 hours in total - I cannot recall from the previous time that I installed a new phone how much time it had cost me at that time.
Now, I’m really curious, is this normal? Are there tricks? Did I miss something? Is this just how ‘the industry’ works?
I think resetting a phone should be much easier - it’s good for phone longevity because the performance boost that you gain from it will prevent you buying a new phone.