To my horror the Nokia E6 review unit that WOMWorldNokia sent me seems to have developed a fault and has been spontaneously rebooting every ten minutes or so since yesterday morning. I really like the phone and hoped to get a few more days use out of it before I have to send it back. I've been successful in the past at fixing misbehaving Symbian phones with a soft or hard reset so I set about trying to reset the phone to see if that would help.
A Google search for "Nokia E6 reset" brought up a lot of confusing and contradictory information. Much of it was clearly wrong with multiple blog posts referring to the E6's non-existent "camera key". I decided to experiment a bit and publish a tested guide to all the posible ways to reset the E6. They are listed below in order from the least to most destructive of data.
- Battery pull - Take the battery out for at least 20 seconds. This insures that all background prrocesses are terminated and RAM is completely cleared. Holding down the power button for about 20 seconds until the phone vibrates three times simulates a battery pull on the E6 just like it does on the N8 and E7, which have non-removable batteries
- Soft reset - re-installs some initializtion files. Home screen widgets, profiles and themes are restored to their defaults. Contacts, calendar and user installed apps, music ringtones, themes, photos, files, etc not touched. There are two ways to soft-reset an E6.
- Press Home > Menu > Settings > Phone > Phone management > Factory settings > Restore. The first four images above show the reset steps. On the confirmation screen (5th image, above), press "Yes"
- Or enter *#7780# in the dialer
- Reinstall the device software. Nokia Software Updater (NSU) from Nokia Beta Labs has an option to re-install the phone's OS (image below). On recent Nokias like the E6 this process is non-destructive thanks to Nokia's User Data Preservation (UDP) feature which means that your apps, ringtones, contacts, etc will be intact after the update, although a backup is still recommended just in case. NSU comes in versions for Windows XP, Vista or 7, and for Mac OS X Snow Leopard or newer. Updating requires the phone to be connected by a USB cable. The process is very easy, install NSU, connect your phone, wait for NSU to detect the phone and choosethe option to re-install the device software. The first time you run it NSU has to download the firmware which takes about 15 minutes on a broadband connection. The actual reinstall takes less than 5 minutes.
- Hard reset. This is the most destructive reset. The internal C: and E: drives are reformatted and the OS is reinstalled from a copy that is stored in the phone's firmware. A hard reset will delete everything on the phone including contacts, calendar and user installed apps, music ringtones, themes, photos and files, including anything stored on the internal E: flash drive. Be sure to backup everything on the phone that you want to keep. There are at least two ways to do a hard reset.
- Press Home > Menu > Settings > Phone > Phone management > Factory settings > Delete data and restore The first four images above show the reset steps. On the hard reset confirmation screen (6th image, above), press "Yes".
- Or type *#7370# in the dialer and press "Yes" on the confirmation screen.
- Three finger salute - every other Nokia Symbian phone I've ever used can also be hard reset using a "three finger salute" that involves turning on the phone while holding down three specific keys and keeping the keys pressed until Nokia boot logo appears. Because the "three finger salute" works when the phone is shut off, it's a life saver if the phone wont boot up or is so unstable that it doesn't stay up long enough to enter a code or get into the Phone management menu. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the correct key combination for the E6. The usual Symbian^3 combo of Menu key, Camera key and Volume down won't work because the E6 doesn't have a Camera key or a Menu key. Other three finger salute combos include:
- Shift, Space and Backspace - N97, N97 Mini.
- Green call key, Red hang up key, Camera key - Pure touch Symbian 5th ed phones like the 5800, 5230 Nuron, etc.
- Green call key, * key plus 3 key- Most older Symbian phones with a 12 key dial pad.
I tried the Shift, Space and Backspace and Green call key, * key plus 3 key combos on the E6 but they didn't do anything. I'm sure that there is a three finger salute for the E6 but I don't know what it is. If you do kindly let me know in a comment so I can update this post.
Update: According to comments from a couple of readers, powering on the E6 while holding down the Shift, Space and Backspace keys does work to hard reset the phone. If it's not working for you try removing the SIM and taking the battery out for at least 20 seconds.
So was I able to fix my E6? Unfortunately not. I restored the OS twice and hard reset several times but even with nothing on the phone other than the pre-installed apps and with no apps running the phone periodically reboots even when sitting idle.
A small percentage of all complex electronic gadgets of all brands do fail, usually due to a single bad component out of the thousands that make up a phone. Fortunately, these failures are most likely to happen within the first few weeks of the devices life when the device is under warranty.
In spite of this particular E6 going south on me I do not hesitate to recommend the phone. It's a great replacement for an E71, E72 or E73 with a much higher resolution screen and a better camera and keyboard than any of those phones. Plus it has a touch screen which adds a lot of flexibility and ease of use to most apps. I'm a huge fan of Nokia's E Series QWERTY bar phones like the E72 and think the E6 is the best Symbian phone I've ever used and one of my favorite smartphones of all time. Up until it failed the E6 had been totally reliable.
Update: I discovered that if I remove the SIM from the E6 it's stable again even using WiFi and Bluetooth. But with any SIM (I tried both active and inactive ones from three different operators) inserted it starts crashing again. I suspect there is something wrong with the radio hardware.