I recently had to perform a factory reset on my year-old Samsung S7. Here’s my tale:
At first, I was getting occasional errors like, “Unfortunately, Google Maps has stopped working.” But over time the errors increased until they became a constant problem. Nearly every app that was running in the foreground or background would present this kind of error message, often over and over again within minutes. At the end the system UI kept quitting, which would then kick me out of whatever I was trying to do. The phone would also lock up for minutes at a time. It reached the point where I couldn’t even place or answer phone calls. I tried rebooting, wiping the system cache, wiping the cache for every app, uninstalling apps, rolling back to earlier versions of apps like Google Play, and a variety of other fixes suggested by folks around the web, with no relief. I also tried to see if an Android OS upgrade might help, but the Settings app would quit. My phone was unusable, and a factory reset seemed like my best bet.
I first ran a backup using Google’s built-in app. I moved every app I could to my SD card and backed up the settings for my Apex launcher app to the SD card so they wouldn’t be affected by the reset. I also tried copying my apps and settings to my computer, but couldn’t get the phone to run long enough to complete that task. After that I took a deep breath and ran the factory data reset routine.
1) Following the reset, I had to set up my phone as if it was new. Once I logged into my Google account, it automatically restored my apps and some settings. I was impressed! (In the past, I had used the Helium app to back up apps and move them to a new phone, but it doesn’t work with my phone so I was hoping Google’s backup would.)
2) Most important, my apps were no longer quitting. Yay!
I was still unable to run the Android Software Update routine — the Settings app would still quit. I found this article about how to manually download and install the Android Nougat update, and it worked. Afterward, my phone prompted me to run 5 more updates, presumably to the current versions of each component.
1) Although the Apex launcher said it was backing up its settings to an SD card, it wasn’t. When I tried to restore them Apex said it had no backups to restore from. I looked in Android/data on my SD card and internal storage but found no Apex backups in either location.
Fortunately, I had an older phone with Apex and ran a backup there. I found that although Apex said it was backing up to the SD card, it actually put the backup in internal storage (Android/data/apexlauncher). I copied the backup files to Dropbox, then used ES File Explorer to put them in the same internal storage location on my new phone. When I ran the Apex restore routine, it said it was restoring from the SD card, but in fact it picked up the backups from internal storage. I had to delete icons for apps that weren’t on the new phone, but at least it restored my settings and put most of my apps back in the folders where I expected to find them. Lesson: copy the Apex backups to the cloud before a factory reset.
2) Not every app came back during the restore process. Even stranger, they no longer showed up in the Google Play library of apps I’d previously installed. I hope I’ve found all the missing ones.
3) The restore process didn’t bring back the login credentials for my apps. I keep having to reauthenticate myself.
4) The restore process ran over the mobile network — it didn’t offer me a chance to log into a wireless network before it started. That put me way over my data allowance for the month.
Android Nougat seems much faster than Marshmallow, the battery life seems better, and it seems like my phone recharges faster than before.