If you’ve had to format your phone for any reason, you know how complicated the process can seem. On the one hand, it’s lovely to use a fresh, clean phone with lots of space on it, but on the other hand, you might be left wondering if you need any of the files that are now gone. The following will explore a few things you can retrieve from a formatted phone. Of course, if your reasons for formatting involve data corruption or some other problem, it’s possible that the retrieved files will be incomplete or damaged.

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What Happens When Your Format Your Phone?

Formatting your phone is sometimes referred to as a factory reset or a hard reset. This is not the same thing as recovery mode. Formatting your phone deletes everything on the internal storage of your phone, including things like apps, messages, files, settings, photos, and data like your contacts. Your operating system will remain; however, it will be the operating system that came with your phone. This means that if you’ve updated your operating system, you will likely have to redo those updates. The term factory reset comes about as it returns your phone to the state it was in when it was coming from the factory. Some phone manufacturers have preinstalled apps. These will still be present on your phone after formatting.

Why You Might Want To Format Your Phone

Given how severe the formatting is, you might be wondering why you’d want to do one. There are plenty of reasons. In particular, if your phone is displaying symptoms of being hacked, you might want to reset it so as to get rid of access to everyone but yourself. If there is some issue with the phone like it won’t turn on or off, is stuck on a certain screen, or is unresponsive in some other way, formatting can often help with that as it reboots the entire system. It can also be done if you’ve forgotten your password and tried all the combinations you felt were possible and still can’t figure it out.

If Your Are Formatting Your Phone

Of course, depending on the severity of the situation with your phone, there can be data loss or corruption. It’s always best to back up your phone, if possible, before formatting it, as there is no 100% guarantee you’ll be able to access something in particular.

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Recovering Text Messages

Let’s say you’ve formatted your phone and suddenly remembered that you have some important or sentimental information in your messages. It is completely possible to recover deleted text messages on Android and Apple phone products. Android phones also tend to have a recovery mode that can be accessed when in airplane mode.

Application Data Recovery

When it comes to apps that are deleted in the process of your reset, you are often still able to get ahold of the in-app data that you’ve lost. Downloading the app again and signing in using your password and username will often bring you back to all your app-based data. This is because many apps save a copy of their data. Think about it like this. If you have an Instagram account but delete the app without doing anything to the account, the account still continues to exist. Many applications work this way. You simply need to sign into that account on your refreshed phone.

Cloud-Stored Data

Not everyone likes to use the cloud, but for those that do, recovery of files is often very simple. Signing into whatever cloud option you use can often result in automatic access to all the files you stored there. Often there is the option to download these files, meaning you’ll be able to keep them on your phone and access them even when you have airplane mode on. Given the ease of this approach, it is recommended to back up your phone onto the cloud if you are able before completing the factory reset.


When it comes to accessing your contacts, things can get a little spooky. Often your account with a particular device (either android or apple) will automatically save your contacts. Not everyone wants this, but what it means is that when you sign in with your Apple or Samsung account, you will often find your contacts automatically restored, even random ones like people’s emails from high school.

The above information should help you retrieve files after you’ve formatted your phone. Again, there are a lot of problems that can ruin data before you complete these processes, so make sure you know what you’re doing to avoid any problems.

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