How to Reprogram Your Cell Phone Yourself

By Brad Harris

The longer a cellphone is in use, the more susceptible it becomes to software bugs. Symptoms may start out small, ranging from messages not going out correctly to ring tones not playing during an incoming call. As the problem progresses, more severe issues can develop that may prevent you from using the phone entirely. When problems emerge, reprogramming the cellphone is the answer. Rather than spend a lot of time seeking help from your wireless provider, a few simple steps can get you through the process on your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Cellphone
  • User manual


Step 1

Turn the phone completely off. During the shutdown process, extraneous information that has built up in the temporary memory buffer will be purged. Wait 30 seconds before proceeding.

Step 2

Turn the device on. Allow the phone to fully boot up before proceeding. This usually takes 60 seconds or less. It is important that the next steps be taken immediately after start-up, especially in cases where the software has locked up entirely.

Step 3

Perform a "master clear." This completely wipes all information off the device, including the source of the software-related problems you were experiencing. Generally, this is accomplished by pressing "Menu," "Settings," "Initial Setup," and "Master Clear." Steps vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so consult your user manual for alternative steps. Once the master clear is complete, a fresh copy of the operating system will be installed automatically and you will be able to utilize your device again normally.

Tips & Warnings

  • As a preventative measure, powering your phone off and back on at least once per day can protect against software issues developing again.
  • A master clear wipes away all information, including contacts, pictures, music files, etc. Be sure to back this information up on a memory card or computer for safekeeping.