Android 5.0, called Lollipop, has been gradually rolling out to users with various devices including smartphones and tablets. A few people have experienced problems after updating the Android operating system, so here is a step-by-step guide to fixing them by erasing and resetting the system.

I am going to use a Nexus 7 tablet running Android Lollipop for the screen shots. A different device with a different version of Android will look different, but the steps involved are the same. Just find the equivalent menus on your device.

1 Go to Settings

Pull down from the top and tap the gear icon or go to the all-apps screen and tap Settings. Down near the bottom of the screen on the Nexus 7 is Backup and Reset. Tap is to continue.

 Android settings

2 Is it backed up?

You don’t want to lose anything when you erase and reset the device, so make sure that Backup my data is turn on, your Gmail address is set as the Backup account, and Automatic restore is turned on. If any of these are not set correctly, do not continue. After turning Back up my data on, it might take some time before a backup is complete, so try this tomorrow.

It takes some time to complete the following steps so it should only be done if the device is fully charged or plugged in to the power. If the settings are correct, you can continue. Select Factory data reset, confirm that you want to continue, and reset the device.

Android settings

3 Reset and restart

The device reboots and when it starts up again you have to set it up like it was brand new, for example, you need to select the language.

Set up Android

4 Log on to Wi-Fi

You need to connect to Wi-Fi early on in the setup procedure and this is so that the backup and settings can be downloaded. Select your Wi-Fi and enter the password if one is used.

Set up Android

5 Tap and Go

There is a shortcut to setting up an Android device if you have another one, such as a phone or tablet. Switch on the second device and bring the two back to back until you hear a sound, then put them down.

This did not work for my devices – a Nexus 7 and a Samsung Galaxy S4. I don’t know why and I guess it only works if both devices have NFC configured and working.

Configure Android

6 Log in

It isn’t a problem if you cannot get this quick setup to work and you can continue manually. Enter your Gmail address and your password to log in to your Google account.

Android setup

7 What to restore

This next step is interesting and you can choose a backup to restore and whether to reinstall all your apps. Tap the little arrows on the right to select the items you want.

Restore Android

8 Pick your apps

Tap the arrow next to all apps and a screen like this is displayed. It shows all the apps you had installed before you reset the device and you can choose the ones you want to reinstall using the tick boxes. Now is a good time to prune the list of apps right down to just the essentials. The device will be better without the clutter of dozens of apps, many of which you probably never used anyway.

Restore Android

9 Google services

The first option is essential and you should always enable backups. The other two are up to you and location services are useful, but not essential.

Restore Android

10 Update your apps

All the apps you selected to reinstall are automatically downloaded and installed. This can take some time if there are a lot of them. For some reason, you might need to update the apps afterwards. Perhaps the same version of an app is reinstalled rather than the latest version. I found several updates by going to the Google Play Store app and then My Apps in the left panel menu.

Update your apps

After all this erasing and restarting, your device should be faster, more reliable and less likely to display error messages. So what do you lose by resetting the device? You will need to sign in to apps like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Kindle and everything else you installed. Many apps store their information on the internet, so when you sign back into Instagram for example, everything is still there, all your Kindle books are still there and you can carry on reading where you left off last time, and so on.

I don’t lose anything important by resetting, but that may be because of the apps I have and I cannot guarantee you won't lose anything. You won’t lose email and contacts because they are stored online, but you might lose chat history for example, because it probably isn't backed up online. You may lose old text messages on a phone because they aren't backed up. Photos are erased, but you should be automatically backing them up with Google+, OneDrive, Dropbox or something similar. If you do, then they will be online. The only items lost are ones that aren't online somewhere.

What is your experience of resetting your Android device? Did it improve it? Did you lose anything?