How to Perform a Hard Factory Reset on Google Pixel 3 Smartphones

  • Performing a factory reset erases all data and settings from your Pixel 3, restoring it to its original out-of-box state.
  • A hard reset is done using hardware buttons when you can’t access the phone’s settings menu.
  • Back up your data before proceeding, as a factory reset is an irreversible process.
  • Follow the step-by-step instructions carefully to avoid any issues during the reset process.
  • After the reset, you’ll need to set up your Pixel 3 as a new device.

A factory reset is sometimes necessary to fix persistent issues with your Google Pixel 3 smartphone or to prepare it for sale or trade-in. This process erases all data, settings, and accounts from your device, returning it to its original out-of-box state.

There are two ways to perform a factory reset on the Pixel 3: a soft reset through the Settings menu, or a hard reset using hardware buttons. This article will guide you through the hard reset process, which is useful when you can’t access your phone’s settings due to a frozen screen, forgotten password, or other issues.

Preparing for a Hard Reset

Before proceeding with a hard factory reset, it’s crucial to back up your data. This process will permanently delete all personal information, downloaded apps, and settings from your Pixel 3. Ensure you have a recent backup of your contacts, photos, messages, and other important data.

You can back up your data to your Google account or use a third-party backup solution. Google’s backup process is integrated into Android and automatically syncs your data to your Google account.

To check if your data is being backed up:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap System > Backup.
  3. Ensure that “Back up to Google Drive” is enabled.

If you’re unsure whether your data has been backed up successfully, it’s better to be safe and create a manual backup using a computer or cloud storage service.

Performing the Hard Reset

Once you’ve backed up your data, you’re ready to perform the hard reset on your Google Pixel 3. Follow these steps carefully:

  1. Power off your Pixel 3.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons simultaneously.
  3. When the “Start” menu appears, release the buttons.
  4. Use the Volume Down button to navigate to “Recovery mode,” then press the Power button to select it.
  5. In the Recovery mode menu, hold the Power button and quickly tap the Volume Up button once.
  6. The Android Recovery menu will appear. Use the Volume Down button to scroll to “Wipe data/factory reset,” then press the Power button to select it.
  7. Scroll down to “Yes — delete all user data” and press the Power button to confirm.
  8. The factory reset process will begin and may take several minutes to complete.
  9. Once the reset is finished, select “Reboot system now” to restart your Pixel 3.

Your Google Pixel 3 will now boot up like a brand-new device, with no data or settings remaining from its previous state.

Setting Up Your Pixel 3 After a Reset

After the hard reset, your Pixel 3 will launch the initial setup process, just as it did when you first took it out of the box. Follow the on-screen prompts to:

  • Select your language and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Copy data from another device or start fresh.
  • Sign in with your Google account to restore backed-up data and settings.
  • Set up fingerprint and other security options.
  • Customize your home screen and other preferences.

If you chose to restore data from a backup, your apps, contacts, messages, and other information will begin syncing to your Pixel 3 once the setup process is complete.


What is the difference between a soft and hard reset?

A soft reset is performed through the Settings menu and is the recommended method when your phone is functioning normally. A hard reset uses hardware buttons to force the reset process, which is necessary when you can’t access the Settings menu due to a frozen screen, forgotten password, or other issues.

Will a factory reset delete everything on my Pixel 3?

Yes, a factory reset will permanently erase all data, settings, accounts, and downloaded apps from your Pixel 3. This includes photos, messages, contacts, and any other personal information stored on the device. Be sure to back up your data before proceeding with a factory reset.

How long does a factory reset take on the Pixel 3?

The factory reset process typically takes several minutes to complete. The exact time can vary depending on the amount of data stored on your device and other factors. Be patient and avoid interrupting the process once it has begun.

Can I recover data after a factory reset if I didn’t back it up?

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to recover data after a factory reset if you didn’t create a backup beforehand. The reset process permanently erases all data from your device’s internal storage. Your best option is to set up your Pixel 3 as a new device and be more diligent about backing up your data in the future.

Will a factory reset remove Android updates?

No, a factory reset will not remove any Android updates or system software versions installed on your Pixel 3. It will simply reset the device to its original configuration for that particular Android version. After the reset, you can check for and install any available updates as you normally would.