Most of the time, your devices run smoothly without giving you any problems. Eventually, though, you may run into a problem that forces you to reset or restart your device. When the occasion arises, it helps to know the difference between resetting and restarting, and which option will work best for you.

What Happens When You Restart Your Device?

Restarting a device is essentially the same thing as rebooting a computer. The device shuts down all of its apps and the operating system so it can reboot. By restarting, you give the device a chance to clear problematic applications that can slow your system. It doesn’t work for everything, but it’s the first approach you should take to fix slow or glitchy mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and e-readers.

What Happens When You Reset a Device?

Resetting your device is a more drastic measure that will erase all of your personal information, including your photographs, contacts, and passwords. It takes your device back in time to the day you opened its box.

Knowing how to reset an iPhone 6S will return the phone to its factory settings. Once you reset your smartphone, you cannot recover the lost information. If you want to save anything, then you should back it up to the cloud or to another device before doing the reset.

It’s always a good idea to try restarting equipment before resetting it. Restarting your phone or tablet won’t hurt anything. The worst thing that could happen is you’ll get stuck with the same problem. At that point, you can decide whether you want to reset the device.

Reasons You Should Restart Your Mobile Device

You can restart your troublesome devices for any number of reasons. You should try restarting your mobile devices when an application starts using an excessive amount of memory, the operating system runs slowly, or you have network connectivity issues. These are many of the same reasons you would also restart your desktop computer or laptop.

Issues typically arise because your operating system has encountered a problem that it doesn’t know how to solve. People often pretend that computers don’t make mistakes, but mistakes do happen. Perhaps your operating system has encountered a piece of code that it doesn’t know how to interpret or a piece of your phone’s hardware doesn’t want to respond properly. Restarting lets your operating system recover and take a fresh approach to fixing the problem.

Times When You Should Reset Your Device

Malware is one of the most common reasons to reset your devices. As smartphones and tablets have become more popular, they’ve also become popular targets for hackers who want to steal private information such as credit card numbers and account passwords. If you haven’t gotten positive results from antivirus software, then it makes sense to reset your device before malware helps a criminal steal your information.

You should also reset your device before selling it, throwing it away, or recycling it. You can try to remove contacts, passwords, and other private information manually, but there is always a chance that you will miss something important. If that happens, then you’re handing over your private information to a stranger who may want to use it in nefarious ways.

Unfortunately, you may need to reset your device simply because it has encountered problems that a restart won’t solve. You should try reinstalling or removing problematic apps before deciding to reset your device. Resetting, after all, means that you will need to move all of your photos, contacts, and other information to the cloud or to another device. If you don’t take the time to back up your information, then you will lose it.

Most devices are sophisticated enough that they can withstand most problems, including glitches and temporary hardware failures. You just need to restart the system to get everything back on the right track. On occasion, though, you may need to reset your devices. As long as you make the right preparations, you can reset your favorite device without losing important information.