Start your smart home from scratch

If your devices are malfunctioning, or you want to give them to a friend, or you just don't like how you have things set up and want to start over, a factory reset might be the answer. Factory resets return your device to its default settings and erase all of your stored info. Once it's done, you can start fresh. Fortunately, lots of smart-home devices still make this easy. So put the hammer away, and solve your glitches the less destructive way.

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Grab your paperclips

Though it's becoming less common, plenty of smart-home devices still have a reset button hidden in a small hole on the bottom or back of the device. Look for this first if you want to do a factory reset, and have a paperclip handy, as you'll need one to reach these buttons.

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Philips Hue Bridge

The Philips Hue bridge has one of these buttons. If you're having trouble with the bulbs, flip the bridge over, and you'll find the button on the back. Use a paperclip and hold it down and you'll reset the bridge and any bulbs synced to it.

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Amazon Echo

Again, you'll need a paperclip to press it. Hold it for 5 seconds and it'll return to its factory defaults.

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Amazon Echo Dot (1st Gen)

The first-generation Amazon Echo Dot also hides a reset button on the bottom of the device.

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Mixing it up

Not all smart-home devices require a paperclip to reset. In fact, a couple of Amazon's connected speakers use a combination of ordinary buttons on the device itself.

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Amazon Tap

To reset the portable Amazon Tap, you'll need to press and hold the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth button -- the bottom button shown here -- plus...

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Amazon Tap

...the back button shown here. Hold both for 12 seconds until the lights on the Tap turn orange, then blue.

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Amazon Echo Dot (second-gen)

The new $50 Echo Dot also requires you press and hold a pair of buttons to do a factory reset -- the mute and volume down buttons for 10 seconds.

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No paperclip necessary

On other devices, you'll find a reset button you can reach without a paperclip. Most require you to hold it or go through an extra step or two so you don't reset the device with an accidental press.

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Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

With the Belkin Wemo Insight Switch, you need to unplug the device, then hold down the button while plugging it back in.

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Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

Keep holding the button for 5 to 15 seconds while the switch is plugged in, and you'll notice the light on the top start to blink amber. You can release the button at that point and the switch will be ready about a minute after that.

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Lutron Smart Bridge

Reset your Lutron dimmers by pressing the button on the back of the Smart Bridge for 20 seconds.

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Piper NV

The Piper NV security cam has an easy to reach power button that doubles as a reset button.

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Piper NV

You'll need to hold the button on Piper for a few seconds until the light on the front of the camera shuts off. Leave it powered down for a minute, then hold the power button down until flashes between red and yellow before turning solid yellow. Release the button and wait a few minutes for the light to turn blue. Once you see the blue light, the Piper NV is ready to be setup anew.

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Hold the button for 10 seconds or more until you see the light on the front flash red and white.

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Check the app

Not all smart-home devices have a physical reset button. In fact, they're becoming less and less common. The August Smart Lock is one such device. If you want to return a lock to its factory settings, you'll need to do so in the app. Be extra careful when giving these to a friend if you've already used it. You'll want to make sure you've reset it with your app or your friend will have no way to start fresh without contacting August's customer support. Use the settings icon to start the reset process.

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August Smart Lock

Scroll down on the settings page and you'll find the factory reset option.

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SmartThings

The button the back of the SmartThings hub looks like a reset button, but it won't perform a factory reset. Like the August Lock, you'll need to do this in the app.

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Using the device

Some devices let you use the digital interface on the device itself instead of a physical button. With the Nest Thermostat, you can return to factory settings via the settings menu.

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Nest Learning Thermostat

Click "settings," then "reset" on your Nest Thermostat.

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Finishing the reset

Select "all settings" in the reset menu and the thermostat will erase everything in its memory and be good as new.

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