I linked my Gmail account to my tablet and I longer want it linked.

I have read that it is permanently linked, and I must factory reset the device to unlink the account - is this true?

Will factory resetting my device delete everything including pre-installed app, or will it be like new with my pre-installed apps intact?

  • I have read over other peoples questions and happened to stumble upon someone who 's device had turned to Gingerbread instead of Android will that happen to my tablet?
    – anne
    Dec 1, 2012 at 19:19
  • Gingerbread is Android (version 2.3.x). And no, a factory reset won't change the installed system.
    – Izzy
    Dec 1, 2012 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


What is factory reset?

First, the word "factory reset" might be a bit misleading -- as one can easily tell by your first comment to your question: If the device ships with Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) pre-installed, and after a while offers an update to e.g. Ice Cream Sandwhich (Android 4.0.x) which you perform -- a factory-reset thereafter will not reset it to Gingerbread.

To understand what happens at a factory reset, you need to know some of the way Android's file system works. To make that easier to understand, I will abstract (and simplify) this a bit:

There are multiple partitions created on the storage of the device. A few examples include:

  • /system, which normally is "read-only". Here the Android System incl. its pre-installed apps reside
  • /data, which is "read/write". Here go all the user's data, incl. the apps (s)he installs

There are some more partitions, which I will ignore for this example. With a new device, /system contains the Android system plus pre-installed apps, as stated above -- while /data is empty. That's the "factory state", we could say. Now you switch your device on, and go through the wizard: creating/configuring your account etc. These data are stored in /data. So will the apps you download from the playstore, etc.

A factory reset now will return your device to "factory state": it will wipe all data it can.

  • As /data is read/write, it will get wiped.
  • /system is read-only, so it won't get wiped. This includes the pre-installed apps.
  • Your Google Account data have been stored in /data, so they will get wiped
  • Apps you have installed from the playstore were stored in /data, including their settings and data -- so they will be gone as well.

The Google Account linked

As you can see from above description, a factory-reset will "unlink" the connected Google Account. In my eyes, that's like I want to delete a file: sure, when I format the entire disk the file is gone... So there must be other ways which keep your data intact.

At least in earlier versions of Android, there was a different approach (not sure if that still works, though). As a factory-reset as the "last ressort" would either delete all your personal data, it does no harm to try the following in advance: If it still works, great -- if it doesn't, you still can do the reset:

  1. from your homescreen, open Settings → Apps → Manage Apps
  2. one after the other, open all Google apps you can find (GMail, Playstore, GTalk, Google storage...) and press the "Delete Cache" plus "Delete Data" buttons. If they are greyed out, you might need to "force stop" the app first (there's another button for that)
  3. reboot your device

If this trick still works, your account should be gone by now; maybe even the wizard will pop-up again automatically.

Side effects

One thing to keep in mind when changing the linked Google Account are your payed apps. They are bound to the account you've bought them with -- so they might stop working when that account is no longer there, and most will do so. If you no longer want to use your old account, you need to buy them again.

  • You're welcome, @anne! As said on the other answer: Consider upvoting the answers you found helpful, and accept the one that helped you best ;)
    – Izzy
    Dec 1, 2012 at 20:45
  • @Izzy: Don't forget that you need 15 rep to upvote, though. Dec 2, 2012 at 5:02
  • Oh -- even on answers to your own question? Wasn't aware of that. Thanks for the hint!
    – Izzy
    Dec 2, 2012 at 12:19

By pre-installed do you mean system apps, or do you mean apps that you downloaded of Google Play?

It is true that you have to reset your device to get rid of the first Google account you added.

System apps (that came with the phone) will not be erased, but their data will.

Custom downloaded apps (that you downloaded off Google Play and installed) will be erased.

  • Yes,i meant system apps.
    – anne
    Dec 1, 2012 at 19:14
  • Thanx for your help
    – anne
    Dec 1, 2012 at 19:15
  • @anne If you find an answer useful, consider clicking the "up" arrow. This "upvotes" the answer -- and as a reward the one who made it gets additional reputation. If the answer solved your problem, hit the check-mark to accept it -- so others can see the solution more easily.
    – Izzy
    Dec 1, 2012 at 20:40

It needs factory reset to get it off, is it true?

A factory reset will clear all personal data liked with your Google account and all other data, settings, and apps that you have downloaded.

Will factory reset delete everything including pre-installed app?

Your pre-installed apps will NOT be deleted. However, your data for those apps will be deleted! So the pre-installed apps will still be there, it will be like you are using them for the first time.

Factory reset is simply resetting your device to the original image of the current ROM.

This YouTube video is a good resource to learn more about factory reset.

  • @anne You are welcome! At Android Enthusiasts, we thank by voting up... And accepting the answer that best answers your question. :) Dec 2, 2012 at 4:06
  • 1
    @anne: Note, though, that you'll need 15 reputation before you can upvote posts (accepting answers can be done at any reputation level, however). Dec 2, 2012 at 5:01

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