When you decide to get rid of your smart home gadgets, you should not just throw them in the trash, sell them or give them away. Before you take the products out of the house, you must erase the data from them.

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Smart homes are constantly changing and what might be the best technology will be old news tomorrow. Sometimes our devices are replaced with higher quality versions of the same product, such as when Amazon released the slimmer Ring Pro. other times, you might jump into one ecosystem only to find that another ecosystem has popped up that better suits your needs—for example, switching from SmartThings to Wink.

Regardless of the reason, sometimes it’s time to remove outdated SmartHome hardware. You may want to give it up, you may want to give it to the family, or you may even want to sell it. But before you can do that, you need to properly remove the device from the SmartHome system and wipe its data. Otherwise, you risk accessing your saved credentials. (You should take it to an electronics recycler, not just throw it in the trash!)

It may be tempting to turn off your voice assistant or smart plug and call him one day, but in fact, these devices may contain information about you. It could be your location, your network, or even passwords. Even in cases where a device may not contain this kind of information (such as some Z-Wave light bulbs), if your intention is for someone else to use your old gadget, they will have problems connecting the used smart device, which still retains its old connection information.

Unfortunately, the factory reset process for your smart devices is as wide and varied as the smart devices themselves. Some of your smart houses will have a reset button that does the trick. Some of them will require the use of the application. And some will provide both options. If you’re going to use the reset button, double check that the device is actually resetting the device. For example, routers often have reset buttons, but those perform a power cycle operation.

How to Factory Reset Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo with a paperclip inserted into the reset hole

Amazon Echo devices store not only information about your Wi-Fi network, but also which devices connect to it via Bluetooth (for example, if you have connected your phone). Resetting an echo is easy, but the exact steps depend on what kind of echo you have.

If you have an Echo, Echo Plus, or first generation Echo Dot, you will use a different process than other Echo devices. Take a paper clip and unbend it. Then pick up your Echo and find a hole in the bottom. Insert a paperclip until you feel a button press, then hold the paperclip for five to eight seconds. You will see the light ring turn off and then on. The factory reset is complete and you will be prompted to enter the settings.

For the 2nd generation Echo Dot, 2nd generation Echo, and 2nd generation Echo Plus, press and hold the volume down and mute buttons for twenty-five seconds. The light ring will turn off and on again, and the factory reset is complete.

The third generation Echo Dot and Echo Input, Echo Auto and Echo Sub are similar, but in this case, you will press and hold the action button for twenty-five seconds.

If you have an Echo Show or Spot, you will reset using the screen. Swipe down from the top and tap Settings. Then tap Device Options and then tap Factory Reset.

If you’re unsure about the process, Amazon has put together helpful videos demonstrating each method.

How to Factory Reset Google Home

Google Home Mini with Restore button

As with Amazon Echo devices, you will need to perform a factory reset on any Google Home device that you no longer plan to use. The process here is much more consistent though.

If you have a Home Mini or Home Max, look for a small button near the power cord on the underside of the device. Hold it for 15 seconds; you’ll hear your home device confirm the factory reset process and even help with a countdown to start the reset.

If you have a Google Home (full size device), press and hold the microphone mute button on the back of the device for 15 seconds. You will hear a voice confirmation of the upcoming factory reset.

And if you have a Google Home Hub, press and hold both volume buttons on the back of your device for 15 seconds. As with all other Google devices, you will hear a voice confirmation of a factory reset.

How to Exclude Z-Wave Devices in Wink and SmartThings

Wink app with exclusion mode button

Before you can factory reset your hub, you must exclude Z-Wave devices. In addition to your hub storing information about which devices were connected to it, Z-Wave devices store information about the hub they were connected to. And until this information is deleted from them, they will not connect to another hub. If you give away or sell your devices, the new owner can make an exception on their own, but if you make arrangements for them, it will be easier for them to set up.

Both Wink and SmartThings include an exception mode option just for this purpose. But in the case of SmartThings, deleting the device is what you need to do for everything you have connected to the hub. You can use the SmartThings exclusion mode option to disconnect the device from another network (if, say, someone forgot to remove the devices before handing them over to you).

On Wink, go to your Hub -> Z-Wave Controls -> Exclusion Mode. Then go to your device and use it — if it’s a window sensor, open and close it. If it’s a smart lock, enter the lock code. The device will now be excluded.

On SmartThings, find your device, tap Edit, tap the minus sign, and confirm that you want to remove the device. The device will now be excluded.

How to Factory Reset Wink Hub

Wink Hub 2 with a paperclip in the reset hole

Restoring Wink Hub to factory settings is not an easy process. The hub has a reset button at the bottom, but if you don’t know the exact steps, all you have to do is reboot your device. But you definitely want to reset Wink to factory settings on decommissioning, because this device contains details about your network, connected devices, and your Wink account.

To reset, take a paperclip and bend it back, then press down on the reset hole on the bottom of the sleeve and hold the paperclip there. The Hub LED should change from solid green to flashing green to flashing white. When you see flashing white, stop pressing the reset button.

While the Wink hub is still flashing white, press the reset button once but don’t hold and the flashing white will change to flashing red. When you see a flashing red Wink, click on the paperclip while holding down the reset button. The hub will begin to alternate between blue and green. This means that the factory reset process has begun.

When the reset process is completed, the blue and green will change to slow flashing white.

How to Factory Reset SmartThings Hub

Samsung Smartthings Center with paperclip in reset button

The first step to reset SmartThings Hub is to turn it off. Then take a bent paperclip and press the reset button on the back of the hub. Keep holding the pin and reconnect the plug. Let the device turn on and hold the paperclip in place for 30 seconds. The front panel indicator will change from flashing amber to solid amber, at which point you can release the reset button. However, do not disable it, as a full factory reset takes about 15 minutes.

How to factory reset Philips Hue

Philips Hue Bridge with box around factory reset button

Unfortunately, unlike SmartThings, simply removing the Philips Hue bulb in the Hue app does not reset it to factory settings. This means that if you give someone your light bulb, they will have a hard time using it and will probably have to resort to manually adding it with a serial number. The Hue app doesn’t factory reset bulbs at all, so if you want to factory reset you’ll need a Philips Hue Switch.

Philips Hue Switch

To reset the Hue lamp to factory settings using the switch, first turn off all but one Hue lamp (this is not necessary, but it can make things easier). Then move the Hue switch closer to the lamp. Turn on the bulb, then press and hold the on and off buttons on the switch for ten seconds. Your tint light will flash, keep holding it on and off for one more second. Turn off the light and then turn it on again. Your lamp has been reset to factory settings.

Once you have reinstalled your lamps, factory installation of the Philips Hue Bridge is a breeze. Flip the bridge over and find the factory reset button. Depending on your model, you may need a paperclip to get to it. Press and hold for five seconds; You will know that enough time has passed when the LEDs on the top side start flashing. When they stop flashing, your factory reset is complete.

How to Reset the Nest Thermostat and Protect the Nest

Nest Protect

We have detailed how to restore factory settings and uninstall Nest Thermostat. You want to click on the thermostat to open the main menu. Scroll to settings and select it. Scroll right and then select reset. Select all settings and then select «Reset» to confirm that you want to reset the device to factory settings. When prompted, turn the ring to the right until the set on the screen moves from left to right. Click on the device to click OK. Wait ten seconds and the reset process will begin.

The Nest Protect process is equally practical, but generally simpler. Press and hold the security button for ten seconds. When Protect starts to speak its version number, release the button. If you wait too long, the process will be cancelled. Once you release, the nest will start counting down and tell you that it will clear its settings. Let the countdown finish and Nest Protect will erase its settings.

What about other devices?

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi devices are even more diverse than other SmartHome devices. Wi-Fi as a smart home has no standard, and so when you buy a new device that uses Wi-Fi, you may need to download a new app (unless it’s from the same manufacturer). Due to this lack of a standard, there is no single way to reset a Wi-Fi SmartHome gadget. You will need to check with your device manufacturer, check for a reset button, and look at your app for factory reset options.

Because Wi-Fi devices connect directly to your Wi-Fi router, it’s especially important to clear information from them. They may contain your SSID and password, and it would be possible to extract this information from them.

Regardless of what you do with your smart homes, when you decide to get rid of them, take the extra time to double-check that all information has been removed from them. Once you’ve reset your device to factory settings, it’s a good idea to check if it’s in «Initial Setup» mode before throwing it away or transferring it. If it connects to your existing system without any effort, then your information is still in it and you’ll want to go through the factory reset process again.

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