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, or perhaps you're moving and want to keep your data secure from the new homeowners, 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 make this easy. So put the hammer away, and solve your glitches the less destructive way.
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.
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 to reset the bridge and any bulbs synced with it.
Hold it for 5 seconds and it'll return to its factory defaults.
The first-generation Amazon Echo Dot also hides a reset button on the bottom of the device, but Amazon's newer smart speakers make factory resets easier.
The $50 second-generation Echo Dot requires you press and hold a pair of buttons for 10 seconds to do a factory reset -- the mute and volume down buttons.
The light ring will turn orange, then blue after 10 to 20 seconds. Release the buttons and the lights will turn off, then go back to orange when it's ready to be set up again.
To reset the portable Amazon Tap, you'll need to press and hold the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth button -- the bottom button shown here -- plus...
...the back button shown here. Hold both for 12 seconds until the lights on the Tap turn orange, then blue.
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.
With the Belkin Wemo Insight Switch, you need to unplug the device, then hold down the button while plugging it back in.
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.
You have to hold a button while plugging in the Sonos One smart speaker as well. The Connect button is just above the Ethernet port. Hold it down while you plug in your Sonos One and continue holding it until the light flashes amber and white.
To factory-reset the Google Home, you need to press and hold the mute button. You'll hear Google Assistant warning you that it's about to reset the device while you hold the button.
Here it is on the Google Home Mini.
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 set up anew.
Hold the button on the iDevices Switch for 10 seconds or more until you see the light on the front flash red and white.
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.
Scroll down on the settings page and you'll find the factory reset option.
You also need to use an app to reset the Amazon Echo Look, Amazon's smart speaker with a camera attached.
The button the back of the SmartThings hub looks like a reset button, but it won't perform a factory reset. You'll need to do that in the app.
Click Settings, then Reset on your Nest Thermostat.
Select "All settings" in the reset menu and the thermostat will erase everything in its memory and be good as new.
With the Ring Video Doorbell 2, you can hard-reset it by holding down the main black button for 15 seconds. That'll return the device to its setup mode, but isn't quite the same as a factory reset. Use the app to complete the process by deleting the doorbell from your account.