Mar 31 AT 3:50 PM Dima Aryeh 59 Comments

HTC One (M8) performs factory reset if you get the password wrong 10 times

htc one group shot

When you incorrectly enter a lock screen password too many times, most devices block further attempts for a certain period of time. This is incredibly annoying when your friend is messing with your device, but it’s a smart feature. The HTC One (M8) takes this security method one step further, but that step is a mile long.

After 5 incorrect password attempts, the One (M8) blocks you out for 30 seconds. That’s good. After 5 more attempts, though, it factory resets itself. This means that your apps, accounts, and data (photos, music, videos) is permanently deleted and the device starts over fresh. So if a child happens to get your phone when you’re not looking, it could delete all of the content on your HTC One (M8) in less than a minute.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I understand that this is a security measure, but it does exactly what a thief wants. It’s a dead easy way to get the One (M8) to a factory state to sell it after it’s been stolen. And in any other case, it’s nothing but a hindrance. Friends, family, children, anyone could accidentally wipe the device your job depends on. And there’s no way to turn it off.

To be fair, after the first 5 incorrect attempts, the One (M8) gives a warning that it will soon factory reset itself. However, that still opens you up to some seriously malicious jokes. Our suggestion is that if you have an HTC One (M8) with a password-protected lock screen, keep it away from everybody. For now we’ll just have to wait and see if HTC decides to change its position and allow people to turn this feature off. Tell us your thoughts on this safety feature in the comments!

Via: Phandroid

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • Samuel Robertson

    Didn’t iPod Touch use this feature in 2007 or so? Moldy.

  • BlazeHN

    Lolz, this better be a joke from HTC. That sounds absolutelly stupid and like it would end doing way more bad to the owner than good.

    I really expect HTC to fix/patch this asap with updates.

  • MyMilan

    What were they thinking? I love my HTC One and was planning on getting a new M8, but now I will wait and see if they allow owners to turn this (incredibly ridiculous) feature off. Thanks for the heads up Android and Me.

    • Sean

      So, this one feature is enough to dissuade you from getting an HTC One M8? Hmm….

      There is a push for Android to become more ‘friendly’ to the corporate environment. This was probably implemented to help make it easier for businesses to adopt Android. I don’t really care for the ‘feature’, but it really isn’t that big of a deal in my opinion.

    • Andy Stone

      My HTC One M8 HAS THIS”feature”. It also has gestures to open the lock screen without touching the lock button. So these two “features” resulted in my phone factory resetting in my pocket at work. Not only does it delete your phone data but it also deletes your external SD. So I lost 16G of pics and music from my last phone too.

  • justafew

    Hmm, if you currently have an HTC One (2013), try entering your password wrong. After 3 times,it states that you have incorrectly entered a password 3 times, after 4 more unsuccessful attempts the phone will reset to factory default and all user data will be lost.
    This is nothing new, except it’s now been increased to 10 times vs 7.

    On LG G2, if you type the password unsuccessfully 6 times, it warns you that one more attempt and the device will be erased.

    • BlazeHN

      Wtf? Sticking to Samsung then, they don’t have such nonsense features…

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      LG does the same thing? Huh, I haven’t heard of that. Thanks for the heads up, that’s unpleasant. I highly dislike this feature.

      • Ash

        So, will you put up another article blaming LG as well… or does only HTC get that kind of “love” from you!!??

        Even I hate some features of HTC but I’ve hardly seen any other blog/site which keeps degrading HTC like you guys do.. You surely have some personal beef with HTC. Hope you get over it soon.

        • Tommy

          Don’t worry, for a month before the HTC unveil, they did the same thing to the s5.

        • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

          We put up “new” news. If LG has been doing it, it’s unfortunately old news and we can’t really put it up. The fact that the M8, which was just released, has it is newsworthy. However, this topic would make a great editorial!

  • Alvin

    err, this is nothing new… all the smartphones do this if you have EAS (exchange active sync) or other type of security policy enabled…

    Blackberry, Android, Iphones… you name it….

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      EAS is a business thing, so it’s understandable for a business to require this. Unfortunately, this implementation is for all use case scenarios, even if you don’t have anything business on your device.

  • David

    And this is why I’m waiting for the Google Play edition.

    • art smithe

      what is the google play edition? im looking to trade up in may

      • RuneCHemist

        You basically get stock android on the phone. The only question that runs through my mind is how the google play edition will work with the dual camera.

  • renyo

    This should be made optional… Moreover I would rather the device be disabled/locked down and would have to given to HTC to be reenabled, after the user gives authorization through the registered email… Bit complicated but beats people stealing any HTC phone…

  • Eli Gaffke

    That’s where having the SD card slot will be nice. Just store everything on there.

    • Alexander

      The SD isn’t safe. I “pocket dialed” my way to a factory reset, and it wiped the SD card as well.

  • Danail Nachev

    My Nexus 7 did exactly this. I think it’s how EAS is implemented by Google.

  • Tma

    It’s the silliest defence that i’ve heard, my child was resetting my phone this way 2 times in month, when I had corporate mail on my phone, that’s why I installed Touchdown for my exchange mail. It has built in security, so u don’t have to use Pin code Lock screen. Also if thief steals your phone and he/she factory resets your phone, u won’t be able to track your phone, so what’s the reason for building apps which tracks your phone if it will be deleted, as soon as device is stolen? And most curious is that HTC is making such lock screen, when they were pioneers in device tracking (from HTC Web Page). Sometimes I think that customers understand HTC business and HTC needs better than HTC employees… Yes I am loyal Customer of HTC since I-mate JasJam… but they really are doing stupid things each year

  • geronimo8

    It’s like they’re asking me not to put this on my pocket.

  • Tommy

    Better keep that phone away from your kids LOL. seriously though, that needs to be a togglable setting. ..and yes, togglable is my word…

  • donger

    Wow, better not forget password.

  • Wesley

    Free phone for thieves? They get your phone, easily reset it with this feature, slip in their own SIM card, log in with their own Google account and they are all set. Now you can no longer track it with Android Device Manager from the online Play Store settings or your other Android devices with the Android Device Manager app. Hopefully insurance will cover the cost that this feature created?

  • n y a v

    Actually, if you just create a Sense account with your HTC, you can track the phone down even after it has been stolen.

  • gmaninvan

    Well this will just be bad if your buddy decides he doesn’t like you one day lol. They should have at least made it higher than ten

  • blah

    I’m an S4 to M8 convert and a security minded individual, but I was horrified at this “feature” when I discovered that I could not disable it. There’s also a glaring lack of ability to put in owner info such that it appears on the lock screen. Essentially, if I misplace my phone, there’s no easy way to keep an honest person honest (contact me about my phone) and it’s all too easy for someone to factory reset, negating the purpose of the android device manager features. Poorly thought through HTC.

  • blah

    A better consequence of 10 incorrect attempts would have been to lock all further attempts at logging in until after the phone has silently encrypted the entire contents of the phone and SD card reversible only by correctly authenticating with the Google account tied to the phone after having entered the correct pattern or pin.

  • UKgirl

    This article is not correct. I just tested this on a HTC One (M8).
    After every 5 attempts you will get a warning on your screen. I have tried this up to 40 times, same warning every 5 times. No data will be deleted what so ever.

    It could be that this security item is added by a provider if you have a branded handset.

    • Mo

      I jus got a new m8 today and setted a pin lock, but cant unlock it now ive tryed about 80times and nothing happens, what shall i do, please help

  • Robin

    I got an m8 a week ago and following on from failed unlocking attempts issue. I’ve not managed to find a way of stopping the phone being switched whilst the phone is locked, which also seems a stupid security flaw. Someone could just nick your phone in the pub and turn it off so you couldn’t even use a friends phone to call it or send an alarm scream to the phone to locate it. Unless I’ve missed something in the security settings, does anyone know of a settings to stop the phone being turned off when locked as you couldn’t turn the HTC One X whilst it was locked.

  • GenuineGozi`

    Does anyone know if it deletes all data from the microSD card?

  • GenuineGozi

    I had to post this because I forgot to check the boxes

  • Mo

    I jus got a new m8 today and setted a pin lock, but cant unlock it now ive tryed about 80times and nothing happens, what shall i do, please help

  • Peter

    I bought this phone three days ago, and was riding my bike home today. I pulled the phone out of my pocket and the whole thing was reset. So you don’t even need a thief or a malicious friend to screw you over; your pocket can. This feature needs to change NOW, because I won’t use any security features in the meantime. The chance of having my phone stolen is much smaller than the chances of my phone resetting itself in my pocket.

    • David

      Same thing happened to me today. I was mowing the lawn with my phone in my pocket. I apparently bumped it enough times where it thought I was trying to get past the security screen. It did a factory reset on my phone and also erased my SD card where my backup was stored. This is completely unacceptable, and it’s absurd that a company like HTC would have such a destructive feature that cannot be disabled!

  • jack

    It’s still not fixed and I want it gone how would I complain?!

  • khaled

    guys.
    a thief doesn’t need to try to unlock the device 10 times to make the reset. he can directly make a hard reset by the power and volume switches. it will reset the phone and delete every thing, then he will have his new phone.
    the most security option is to make the hard reset can’t be done unless you enter the locking PIN or password.
    regarding the number of attempts to unlock the phone, it will be better to just after ten times, the phone will ask for google account and the account password to open the phone. or ask for the google account and send the password to the gmail and the user will open his mail and type the password to get his phone back.

  • dan

    This is a joke ! I’m googeling after this has happen !! And I can tell u it’s reset like a brandnew phone , God I’m pissed off

  • Zohrab

    How to Hard Reset HTC One (M7)

    If you can’t turn HTC One on or access settings, you can still perform a factory reset by using the hardware buttons on HTC One.

    Important: The Fast boot option in Settings > Power must not be selected.
    Press and hold the VOLUME DOWN button, and then press and hold the POWER button.
    Wait for the screen with the three Android images to appear, and then release the POWER and VOLUME DOWN buttons.
    Press VOLUME DOWN to select FACTORY RESET, and then press the POWER button.
    See more: http://www.factory-resets.blogspot.com

  • Roger

    So this is exactly what happened to me. My phone reset itself after wrongly entering the password. BUT it was in my pocket catching my leg! This is so stupid! Let me decide if I want all my phone’s ddta to be erased! I literally lost all my content and…. My clash of clans account. Thankfully I had it backed up, but this is ridiculous! I just want a passcode lock that I can feel safe using. Not something that would be worse than my friends going through my phone…

  • Zohrab Mirzayev

    @Performing a factory reset from settings@
    Go to Settings, and then tap Backup & reset.
    Tap Reset phone.
    If you want to delete media, documents, and other data from the phone storage, select Erase all data.
    To also delete media and other data from your storage card, select Erase SD card.
    Tap OK.

    Performing a factory reset using hardware buttons see http://www.factory-resets.blogspot.com

  • Matthew

    I feel the same way I wish I could use the lock screen without worrying about it. I started a petition on change.org to Htc if we can get enough people on board maybe we can get their attention and get them to change this..

    http://www.change.org/petitions/htc-remove-the-wipe-erase-device-function-from-htc-one-lock-screens

  • Bri

    HTC one is not the only phone that does this. my droid mini rest after entering wrong password 10 times but the messed up part about it is that it wasn’t even me who was entering the wrong password. so whoever the person was who made this a setting….YOUR DUMB

  • lesdier

    Lg G2 also does this and it is the most annoying thing ever I already lost my data twice once to a child as mentioned previously and also to a jealous girlfriend. They have got to get rid of this horrible feature.

  • Denise

    This seriously needs to be changed. It’s a ridiculous “feature” for your average user.

    My preschool aged son reset my phone this way the other day. You have no idea how infuriated I was. Everything…poof…gone.

  • Saturn Alleyne

    I have the HTC one M8. This feature is absolutely ridiculous. When I learned of this feature I thought nice and kept my phone away from my children. However even having your pphone in your pocket can cause the screen to engage and your password be “entered” wrong. This being the 2nd time this has happened to me. I’ve lost everything. It even wiped my 16gig SD card completely clean. SSeriously I am an IRATE HTC owner…

  • lexi

    I dont like this at all . I doont want my stuff deleted if someone trys taking my phone .

  • cassie

    I hate this feature! I’d like to lock my phone but I don’t want my data to be wiped! Fix ASAP. It should at least be an option.

  • Alexander

    This feature is utter garbage because you can “pocket dial” your way to a factory reset. It just happened to me while I was cleaning out my car. I’ve had many close calls where I pull it out of my pocket and it’s “pocket dialled” its way through six, seven, even eight attempts. Today, she went all the way; I finished a little upkeep on my car (scrubbing upholstery and the like), pulled out my phone, and the setup wizard was staring me straight in the face, asking me to select a language. What. A. Joke.

    • Seth

      I meant to put a thumbs up on that my bad.

  • Seth

    Yeah I have an HTC One M8 and this feature is awful. I have to have pattern lock on because if I don’t then I pocket dial people like crazy when it’s in my pocket. About 4 times now my phone has reset itself in my pocket and let me tell you that is absolutely annoying. I’m not sure it’s because of the passcode reset that it does this or not. I just can’t imagine it being sensitive enough to fail 10 times all in my pocket. Either way I went to my carrier today and HTC is sending me a new phone and if it happens with this new one me and HTC are going to start having come to Jesus meetings. I was going to get an S5 but I ended up gettind One M8 because of BoomSound. Let me encourage anyone on the fence with the two, don’t get the M8.

  • patreeas

    I read all comments, but no one said what to do if an htc’s screen lock deos not open after many atempts

  • Bill

    This just happened to my son. Phone was in his pocket, and he must hit the buttons on his accidentally. Lost everything, data & pics all items on SIM card. He had a friend with the same phone and his friend never had this problems. The only difference – My son is on Verizon, his friend is on AT&T. So if anyone responding to this thread could comment on which provider they use that would help to see if this is some crap Verizon worked out with HTC. For now consider turning off your passcode!

  • Manuel Rivero

    I like the HTC m 8, but I just hate thus dumb factory reset feature. I put it in my pocket and it factory reset and that means all me hard work in making the cell the way I like it, is gone.I have to start over. DON’T GET THIS CELL. it will piss you off.

  • Stephen

    Horrible feature, my 5 yr old daughter just erased everything from my Motorola.

  • Mike

    I had my HTC M8 reset while it was in my pocket. Probably the screen was not locked and the phone took 10 attempts while the phone was in my pocket. Had to setup everything again.

  • sean

    I don’t agree with the negativity on this. They will always find a way in. That’s almost impossible to block but it’s bad enough to lose the phone. At least your personal data is protected which could include sensitive banking info. I think it’s a good idea tbf. They could easily eventualy stuble across the password or use some hacking algorithm software to get in and steal your data. I think the iphone with find my iphone is the best. It forces you to enter the apple id password after erasure. Anyway, safest thing is to contact your carrier straight and blacklist the imei. Word of advice, if you’re on a simo deal take down your imei as it won’t be paired on the account and customer services won’t be able to blacklist without it. I work in a call centre and it’s amazing how many people ring in to suspend the account when the phone is stolen with no paired imei on the account and think we can still block it. We can’t. We can suspend the line and issue a new sim. Anyway, everyone should go to google.com/android/devicemanager straight away and erase and lock immediately anyway.