The Power of the Power Cycle (Soft Reset)

A great topic was brought up recently by our partner, Ricardo, over at T-Mobile. Something that he and we have seen frequently in this business is the abundance of really odd behaviors our electronic devices sometimes show. 

You might be familiar with one of these symptoms: screen freezing/twitching; typed text taking a while to catch up; apps suddenly closing or not opening at all; not receiving texts or emails; and the list goes on. These things are annoying, and they are definitely not expected during normal operations. 

There is a simple solution that can take care a lot of these problems if they happen to be glitches from normal use. It's called soft resetting or power cycling, and there are a few ways to activate it. 

  • The easiest way to do this trick is to take the battery out of the phone, wait a few seconds, and reinsert the battery to turn it back on. 
  • Press the power button until the power menu appears, and either select "power off" or "reset" to restart the device. 
  • For those of you without removable batteries and your screen is unresponsive, don't worry, there are some ways for you, too!

1) For Apple devices: long press both the power and home buttons together until the device reboots back to the Apple logo. This works for all iPhones, iPads, and iPods. 

2) For most Android devices: long press both the power and volume down buttons until the device reboots. 


Why does this happen?

Essentially, opening and closing programs over time burdens the device. Little bits of data get passed from one program to the next when they shouldn't. Sometimes programs force other programs to close and that will leave behind some data as well. This data is stored in the RAM, which is a device's short-term memory. Because there is only so much room for this short term memory, data tends to mix with other data when it shouldn't, and this can create odd problems.

It would be like trying to remember the names of everybody met at a large party or gathering. At first, the process is simple and names can be recalled easily. But as the night goes on, and as more people are greeted, the memorized names may start to mix and are much harder to place with each person. As powerful as our gadgets are, they are not immune to the same kinds of "memory mixing." 

By soft resetting a device, the memory is cleared. This creates a fresh start for the device to work as intended. 

How often should I soft reset my device?

This depends on how often you use it, but I would recommend a soft reset generally once every two days. This allows the device to accurately communicate remaining battery life and will often give a speed boost because of the cleared memory. 

I've also heard of "hard resetting," what is that?

Hard resetting, also called "factory reset" or "wiping" is the process of clearing the device of ALL personal information, including pictures, custom settings, and applications. This process will set the device software back to original, untouched condition. This is used for selling a device or as a last resort for solving a software problem. We can perform this service in our shop for clients!

If these actions do not fix your problem, then it could be a deeper issue. Liquid damage will often show the same kinds of odd behaviors or a hardware problem could be the real culprit. If this is the case, please see us! Wisp always has free diagnostics for your device problems.