Is doing a factory reset via System Settings the same as a factory reset via Recovery?

Via System Settings in Samsung Galaxy S4:
System settings > Accounts > Backup and reset > Personal data > Factory data reset

Via Recovery:
Vol Up + Home + Power > ...
I'm not sure about the exact procedure; Recovery seems to have disappeared from my phone.

Will these clear the same set of data, or are there slight differences?

  • 1
    Considering the fact that the phone does reboot when you do that in the Android GUI, I think it's reasonable to assume that it does the same thing -- i.e. it only reboots with some kind of flag that activates the FR functionality in the bootloader.
    – pzkpfw
    May 28, 2013 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


I never heard there's a difference: factory-reset is factory-reset (which is why both methods are often mentioned alternatively to each other: if you still can power up your device manually, you can use the corresponding item in the Settings menu -- otherwise, you can go via the ).

Usually, the menu item in Settings says something like "Reset to factory defaults", while the corresponding entry in recovery says "Wipe data and caches".

Now, what is a factory-reset, in technical terms? Resetting all settings to the defaults of the currently installed ROM, while deleting all data and user-installed apps.

How is that done? By...

  • wiping /data (user-apps and data, plus Dalvik Cache) and
  • wiping /cache (app cache)

Now comes the circular reasoning: Isn't that what the corresponding entry in recovery says -- "wiping data and caches"?

  • depends on the device. for some recent models (that i work on) this two aren't same. after i pinpoint that, i will try to add a detailed answer.
    – kmonsoor
    Nov 27, 2013 at 6:00
  • That would be interesting. All I know is that on some devices/ROMs the factory-reset menu entry offers to also wipe SD cards (internal and external) with a factory-reset. But I couldn't find out whether in those cases the recovery manu didn't offer the same.
    – Izzy
    Nov 27, 2013 at 7:00
  • i just asked a question, android.stackexchange.com/q/57814/20859 where i have detailed a scenerio
    – kmonsoor
    Nov 27, 2013 at 7:51
  • That does not necessarily mean the two factory reset methods are different. There are multiple reports around of "incomplete factory-resets", where the first run seems to have not done its job completely, but a second run (from the very same place) finally did (see e.g. here).
    – Izzy
    Nov 27, 2013 at 8:37

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