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I have some apps installed on my device and I want to perform a factory reset. Is there a simpler way to re-install my applications after the reset (with the least possible number of user interventions), without having to search them all in the Market and re-install them again one by one?

Rooting is not a problem.

Thank you in advance.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you have a 4.x device, the automatic backup/restore found under Settings -> Backup & reset -> Back up my data and Automatic restore options work fine. It uses Google's own servers to save a list of apps installed on your phone. After a factory reset once you sign in with the same Google account, it gives you an option to restore those apps. Keep in mind that if the goal of factory reset is to change the default Google account, you'll need to first add that account to the phone, and change the Backup account to the secondary one you've just added.

On older Android versions the automatic backup/restore was not very reliable, but there are some 3rd-party apps in the Market that can help depending on what exactly your goal is. If you want to simply re-install apps, then AppBrain along with Fast Web Installer are great. AppBrain allows you to save the list of your installed apps to their online site, and after a factory reset you would only need to re-install these two apps, sign in, pick the list you created earlier, and it allows you to kick off a process that automatically installs the "missing" apps directly from Market.

If you also need to restore the settings and data associated with those apps, Titanium backup (rooting required) is a better choice. This app backs up all installed apps and their settings/data to your SD Card. After a factory reset you install Titanium from Market, and then do a restore. It can also backup/restore system apps and settings, which can help after a factory reset, but it's generally not recommended to do so, especially if you are planning to install a custom ROM.

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Great answer! However, that link to Fast Web Installer is broken. Do you know an alternative? –  TrojanName Aug 7 at 22:22
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Unfortunately Fast Web Installer has not worked for a long time, possibly since "Android Market" was re-branded as "Google Play Store". Google has been making good progress on first-time device activation process in the latest Android versions. Most often, your apps should start installing automatically when you sign in with your Google account on the phone, provided you previously chose to back up installed apps. –  Chahk Aug 8 at 13:16
    
I'm running 2.3.5 - is that true for my version? –  TrojanName Aug 8 at 16:40
    
@TrojanName Difficult to say since I don't have a 2.3.5 device to test this on, but most likely not. Root and Titanium Backup are your best options. –  Chahk Aug 8 at 16:45
    
Ok, thanks very much –  TrojanName Aug 8 at 17:25

When you first set up a device it asks you if you want to sync your apps with google servers (I don't remember what it is called). I use that and the market goes and reinstalls all the apps I had installed. Sometimes it skips some here or there, for what ever reason, but for the most part it works well. The only problem is no data is restored with these apps. I also use Titanium Backup sometimes for this. The plus about Titanium Backup is that you can also restore the data, you know, so you don't have to redo all those levels in angry birds again.

The first option does not require root, but I don't know if you can change the setting after the initial setup. TB requires root.

Another option, but it is a bit manual and a little more work then the others, but you can go in to the market website and set them to install on the device.

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After doing a factory reset, I was getting a 921 error could not download the apps from the google play store and found this page with helpful advice: http://www.chinatabletshop.com/forum/error---update-for-xxxxx-could-not-be-downloaded-due-to-an-error.-921-fixed/#simple-forum-post-5

If you see the same error, then follow the steps -

  1. Menu > Settings > Personal > Accounts and sync > click on your google account (email)
  2. click 'Remove account'. Don't worry, it's not deleting your physical account. Account related information is still saved in Google.
  3. Launch Google Play Store again
  4. When asked, use existing account to create the google account.
  5. Provide your existing google account information (email & password)
  6. try again to download
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While potentially helpful for someone dealing with this issue, your answer doesn't seem to be related to the original question, which was simply "How do I restore apps after a factory reset?" –  eldarerathis Oct 7 '12 at 1:32

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