When All Else Fails, Factory Reset

As I mentioned in my last post, Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop Impressions, my phone started to bog down quite a bit after I installed Android Lollipop. It eventually got to the point where the phone was virtually unusable. It would sometimes take upwards to 15 seconds to open an application or even to dial a number. It especially made it difficult to type, which if were being honest, is one of the most essential utilities on our phones. After exhausting numerous tips and tricks to try and speed the device up I decided that it was time for the ultimate smartphone purge, a factory data reset.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, a factory data reset is a feature used to restore a phone back to the way it was when you first got it. It wipes everything off the phone, contacts, texts, photos, applications… everything. So as you can imagine, performing one of these resets can be a bit daunting. But if you have a few hours to spare and the patience to properly back up everything on your phone to a computer, the process is actually fairly straight forward.

Of course, it isn’t until we are knee deep in the backup process that we realize just how much digital stuff we have! Luckily for us, most of our application data is now backed up in various different cloud servers, so really the only things we are responsible for backing up our things that are stored locally on the device. Items such as: music, audio files, photos, videos, texts ect. are all things you need to be aware of if you perform a factory data reset. I was pretty thorough and took a great deal of time when it came to backing up my phones contents, I wanted to make sure I lost as little as possible when I decided to wipe my phone. But alas, despite my best efforts I did end up losing some things. Nothing of tremendous importance, just some random files stored in inconspicuous applications. But nonetheless, that is the nature of a factory reset, despite your best efforts you will almost certainly lose something. But you know what? That’s okay, because it was the best decision I could of made.

It was as if I was holding a brand new phone, in fact I honestly believe my phone is faster now than it was when it was new! Whatever had been hampering my phones performance before was now gone, leaving my phone operating like the technological beast that it is. I no longer experience frame rate drops, animations are lusciously smooth and everything about the phone just feels so much more responsive and fluid. This new found quickness paired with the greatness that is Android Lollipop makes for a truly great mobile experience. Factory resetting my Galaxy Note 3 was without a doubt, a terrific idea.

If you are also experiencing massive performance drops after installing Android Lollipop and have tried everything you can think of perhaps a factory reset is in order. It’s the fastest way to clean out all the digital gunk your device has accumulated and a chance to start fresh with a clean slate. If you do decide to take this path however, please make sure you have everything that you hold dear backed up and saved to your computer. Once your phone is reset there is no going back. So take extra precautions and spend a little extra time and do it right. If you do, you will be glad you did!

Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop Impressions

Late last year when Google revealed Android L, which later became known as Android Lollipop, I was beyond thrilled! I instantly fell in love with the new design direction and the cool new features like app pinning and smart lock. Of course, being the owner of a Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 I would have to wait nearly 5 whole months before the update would be pushed to my device. Well, the wait is finally over.

Early last week my Galaxy Note 3 alerted me that it was time for an upgrade and without any hesitation I started downloading the large 1.5 GB update. After about an hour my phone had successfully downloaded and installed Lollipop and I was ready to begin exploring all the cool new features this new version of Android had to offer.

Android Lollipop notification tray on the Galaxy Note 3.
Android Lollipop notification tray on the Galaxy Note 3.

The biggest and most obvious change that Lollipop brought to Android was the implementation of Google’s new material design aesthetic. Overall I really like the re-design, the Android operating system was in desperate need of a make over and the bright colors and fluid animations of material design are certainly a welcome addition. The animations in particular are an extreme delight! Even the most subtle things, like hitting a toggle switch in the settings menu produce these quick and gorgeous animations which make all the difference towards the look and feel of the OS.

Pretty looks and animations only get you so far though. While Android Lollipop is the best looking version of the OS to date it does come at a price. For me in particular that price has been inconsistent performance from the phone. There will be times where my Note 3 runs like a champ despite how many applications I have open or what I’m doing. Other times it will bog down and stutter while only running one application. In fact, it once took my phone a full 5-10 seconds to register that I had hit the “call” button on one of my contacts. That’s a pretty horrible delay. With that said however I cannot necessarily blame the lollipop update for the bad performance, it could simply just be my phone. However, the performance drops have been drastic enough to warrant a mention here.

Another unfortunate thing about the lollipop update was that my version of the Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900V) did not receive all of the cool new features Google announced last year. One of the big ones being app pinning. App pinning was a cool little feature that let you lock your phone to just one application. For example, if a stranger asked to borrow your phone and you didn’t want them to paw through your personal stuff you could simply pin the phone application and that would be the only thing your phone could do. Once they were done borrowing your phone a specific button combination un-pins the device and you are able to use like normal once again. A pretty cool feature!

On the bright side of things my phone did receive one really cool new toy, which I use regularly, called smart lock. Smart lock is an incredibly useful new security feature built into Android that allows you to select devices and locations that your phone “trusts”. When your phone is connected to or within the range of a trusted device or location your lock screen is disabled allowing you fast and easy access to your phone. The minute you leave or disconnect from a trusted location or device your phone automatically re-applies your devices lock screen. It’s one of the coolest things built into this version of Android and the best part is, it works.

That’s my take on Android Lollipop given the couple weeks I’ve had to mess around with it. Of course there is so much more to the update that I did not mention in this short post and all of it is really quite great. Despite the unwanted drawbacks in my phones performance I absolutely love this update! For those of you out there who have the update, what do ya’ll think?