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How to reset a Ubiquiti UniFi Access Point

As much as I like Ubiquiti’s UniFi range for its looks, ease of configuration and great performance, it also gave me a whole lot of extra grey hair. One of the big problems that I struggled with is when the Access Points can’t be accessed via the Unifi Controller or don’t want to adopt because it’s part of an unknown network.

In most cases, the easiest solution is just to reset the Ubiquiti Unifi Access Point to Factory Defaults. This will then wipe the device from any configurations and you will then have to re-adopt it through the UniFi Controller.

Note that you should never disconnect the power cord or the PoE Ethernet cable from the Access Point while it is busy with the reset process. This will cause the firmware to corrupt and basically “brick” the device.

Resetting the UniFi Access Point using the UniFi Controller

This will be the easy route but I found this the least successful option between the three available. Log into your UniFi Controller and find the Access Point you want to reset by navigating to Devices. Click on the device to open the Properties panel on the left and click on the “gear” for the Config. Then click on Manage Device. Under manage device, click on Forget.

Resetting the UniFi Access Point using SSH

This method I found successful if you are able to Ping the Access Point on the IP Address displayed in the UniFi Controller. You can access the Access Point using SSH via the UniFi Controller, but I prefer to use PUTTY. You can download PUTTY here.

By using the IP Address of the Access Point, connect to it with PUTTY. At the command prompt, you can try the default username (ubnt) and password (ubnt) to log into the device. If that does not work, it means that the device was previously configured and you need the username and password of the previous network that it was connected to. If it were connected to your current network, try using your current UniFi Controller’s username and password.

Once logged in, use the following SSH command to reset the Access Point to factory defaults: restore-default
After the reset cycle is complete the device will be available and can be adopted in the UniFi Controller.

Resetting the UniFi Access Point using the Reset Button

This option is probably the most effective but also the biggest effort, so grab your ladder get on the roof or in the ceiling and find the Access Point. Remember to take a paperclip or a similar sharp object to press the small Reset Button on the Access Point itself.
The Reset Button on each Unifi Access Point will be in a different location but it’s normally easy to find.

To reset the Unifi Access Point, use the paperclip to press and hold the Reset Button for at least 5 seconds. Do not remove the PoE Ethernet cable or the power cord. You will note that the light on the device will start to flash WHITE. After the reset cycle is complete you will be able to adopt the Access Point in the Unifi Controller.
PRO TIP: Some of the PoE Adapters have a reset button to remotely reset the Access Point.

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