The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick’s “Factory Reset” option seems to be the source of a lot of confusion. Questions constantly come up on what it does or doesn’t do, and whether it is safe to do on a modded Fire TV running custom ROMs. Some of the confusion stems from the options label, since it most certainly does not reset the Fire TV to the state it was in when it left the factory. Hopefully this post will clear up some of the mystery behind this option.
Performing a Factory Reset will…
- Remove Apps and App Data
Performing a factory reset will delete all of your installed apps and the data associated with them. This includes both official apps downloaded from Amazon and sideloaded apps. Some games will save your progress to Amazon’s cloud servers, so reinstalling those games after a factory reset will restore your progress.
- Disable ADB
Performing a factory reset will disable ADB access. This is important because it essentially locks you out of the Fire TV. Some of the first bricked Fire TVs became bricked because they were factory reset with modified system files. Without ADB, there is no way to access those system files. So if you’ve rooted and modded your Fire TV and run into issues, think twice before performing a factory reset since it will disable ADB and close the best venue you have to fixing your issues.
- Re-Enable Updates
Performing a factory reset will re-enable updates if you’ve disabled them using the “pm disable” method. This is why it is a good idea to also block updates in your router. This is not much of an issue if you are running ClockworkMod custom recovery since a stock update that gets downloaded will not be installed upon rebooting anyway if you have ClockworkMod installed. That said, the first thing you should do after performing a factory reset is to re-disable updates.
- Force Initial Setup Process
Performing a factory reset will cause you to go through the initial setup process again. This is important to realize because the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick will try to update during the initial setup. Depending on the software version you are running, the device may refuse to complete the initial setup without updating. A Fire TV that got through initial setup fine with updates blocked won’t necessarily do it everytime.
Performing a Factory Reset will NOT…
- Downgrade or Change Your Software Version
Performing a factory reset will not change the software version currently running on your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. It doesn’t matter what software version your device originally came with, or what software version is currently installed. It will still have whatever version is currently installed after the reset. This applies to both stock software and custom ROMs. If your Fire TV is running a custom ROM, it will not go back to a stock ROM by factory reseting.
- Remove Root
Performing a factory reset will not remove root access. However, if you are running a stock software version that has been rooted with towelroot, it may seem like you’ve lost root because the towelroot and SuperSU APKs will be gone. But in reality, root access survives because the SU binary remains in the system. The same goes for any pre-rooted ROM.
- Remove ClockworkMod or the Kernel Boot Menu
Performing a factory reset will not remove ClockworkMod custom recovery or the Kernel Boot Menu. With either one (or both) installed, it’s safe to do a factory reset. You can do it from either the Fire TV settings menu or from within ClockworkMod.