1. foxhouse's Avatar
    This afternoon I was helping my mother set up google photos on her phone when all of a sudden, with no warning, it started doing a factory reset. I realized then that her case was on upside down and it must have been pressing the buttons which caused the factory reset.
    The phone asked if I wanted to restore a backup from about 9am this morning. I chose yes, and checked all the boxes (apps, contacts, etc) and it said photos will be automatically restored, but after the phone finished setting up, none of her apps were there, and more importantly, all her photos were gone.
    I was shocked. The irony that this happened because I was trying to back up her photos is quite painful.
    I’m not knowledgable about android phones as I’m an iphone user myself, so any help I can get would be VERY appreciated. She has an older Samsung phone. I wish I could l tell you the exact model and which OS, but she doesn’t know and I wasn’t sure how to find out. I’m not at her house now, but if needed, I can go back and try to find out.

    So my two questions are:

    1. Is it normal for the phone to wipe itself like that without asking for confirmation? Or was it a bug? (An iphone asks about 3 times before it erases everything.)
    2. Are her photos really gone? Is there any possible way to still restore that backup?

    Thanks in advance.
    09-08-2019 12:33 AM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! It can always be helpful to know which phone we're dealing with, so if you have a chance, let us know. It shouldn't do a full factory reset just because some of the buttons were pressed. I guess it's possible that the button press sequence caused the Recovery Menu to appear, and there is a Wipe Data/Factory Reset option there, but it requires you to press Vol Down to get there, then press Power to select it, then confirm that you want to do this.

    Another possibility is that her phone's lockscreen will automatically cause a factory reset if there are too many unsuccessful screen unlock attempts. This seems unlikely, since it sounds like the phone was unlocked and you were showing her how to do things on the phone.

    The other possibility is that there was some hardware or firmware glitch -- difficult to predict when those might happen on any device.

    Do you know if the photos were saved to Internal Storage or the SD card (if applicable)? If there's an SD card inserted, check it for directory called /DCIM/Camera and see if the photos are there. Otherwise, log into her Google account on a computer browser and go to photos.google.com to see if any of the photos happened to back up.
    09-08-2019 12:59 AM
  3. foxhouse's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! It can always be helpful to know which phone we're dealing with, so if you have a chance, let us know. It shouldn't do a full factory reset just because some of the buttons were pressed. I guess it's possible that the button press sequence caused the Recovery Menu to appear, and there is a Wipe Data/Factory Reset option there, but it requires you to press Vol Down to get there, then press Power to select it, then confirm that you want to do this.

    Another possibility is that her phone's lockscreen will automatically cause a factory reset if there are too many unsuccessful screen unlock attempts. This seems unlikely, since it sounds like the phone was unlocked and you were showing her how to do things on the phone.

    The other possibility is that there was some hardware or firmware glitch -- difficult to predict when those might happen on any device.

    Do you know if the photos were saved to Internal Storage or the SD card (if applicable)? If there's an SD card inserted, check it for directory called /DCIM/Camera and see if the photos are there. Otherwise, log into her Google account on a computer browser and go to photos.google.com to see if any of the photos happened to back up.
    Hi, thanks for the response, B. Diddy!
    Ok, I’ll try to go back to find out her phone info, hopefully tomorrow. One other detail I can give for now is that it’s a verizon phone.

    It’s possible it was a recovery menu. The first thing I remember seeing was a black screen with what looked almost like a few lines of code near the top in very small, mostly white words and I think a couple in red. I don’t remember what it said, it all happened so quick. Maybe that was the screen that asked me to confirm, and the case happened to press the exact wrong buttons because soon after that the reset process had begun.

    But I suppose that doesn’t matter now...

    The photos were on the internal storage as there is no SD card installed in her phone. And we opened her google photos app after the reset and did not find her photos there. They didn’t have a chance to upload because after I set up google photos, I found her phone was not connected to her wifi, which was when the reset happened. A lot of things happened perfectly wrong.

    Do you know if there might be a google cloud phone backup I can access? What is strange is that after the reset started, the phone asked if I wanted to restore a backup made earlier that day with a time stamp of around 9am. It then asked me to check boxes next to apps, contacts, etc to restore, which I did, and it said that photos would be restored automatically. Yet it didn’t actually restore anything. It set up the phone as completely new as far as I could tell. Do you have any idea what backup it might have been referring to with a 9am timestamp?
    09-08-2019 02:08 AM
  4. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Hmm, it does sound like it might have booted to Recovery, but again, it's pretty hard to get through all of the button presses needed to confirm a factory reset from there.

    The Google Backup feature is only for system settings and certain kinds of app data. Photos would've required the Google Photos auto-backup feature, not the Google Backup feature you see in the system settings. I'm sorry, but I'm afraid the photos might be gone.
    09-08-2019 03:07 AM
  5. foxhouse's Avatar
    That’s very unfortunate.. Thanks for your time, anyway!
    B. Diddy likes this.
    09-08-2019 07:33 PM

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