Skip to content

Tutorial: Here’s How to Reset Anki Decks

  • Sean 

Should you reset Anki decks? Discover when it’s a good or bad idea, potential pitfalls, and detailed reset methods for both desktop and iPhone.

Overall, it’s important to be careful when resetting your Anki decks. More often than not, it will likely end with you overwhelmed with cards to do than when you started. But there are scenarios where it does make sense.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s discuss when you should and shouldn’t be resetting your Anki decks.

Should You be Resetting Your Anki Decks at All?

Before you keep reading, you should be cautious about resetting Anki decks.

If you have been consistently creating and learning cards over time, resetting your Anki decks can hugely increase the number of cards you need to learn again. For this reason, I would only recommend resetting an Anki deck in some very specific circumstances.

These reasons are outlined below.

When You Should Consider Resetting Your Anki Deck

  1. Lots of Mistakes in the Learning Process: If you’ve found yourself mindlessly pressing the ”Again” button without really understanding the content, it might be beneficial to reset and review the cards. However, you would need to be doing this on almost all the cards to justify a full reset.
  2. You have taken a very long break: If you haven’t studied a deck in a very long time (I’m talking months to years here), a reset might be a good idea. If you are reviewing the cards and don’t have any idea what any of the answers are, a reset might be helpful.

Alternatively, there are some times when you should just avoid resetting your Anki decks. These are below.

When You Shouldn’t Consider Resetting Your Anki Deck

  1. Overwhelming Backlog: If you’ve taken a prolonged break from Anki, you might return to find thousands of cards due for review. This can be demotivating and make it difficult to catch up. But resetting will only make this problem worse because suddenly you will have many more due cards to balance. You can make this better with Anki Addon’s and Custom Study, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
  2. Perfectionism: If you’re thinking of resetting because you’ve made a few mistakes or because you don’t remember every single detail, don’t. You will get stuck reviewing old Anki cards forever. It’s better to just move on and trust that the Anki algorithm will show you those cards again.

Consider A Partial Reset

There is also the option of just resetting some of your Anki cards within the decks. This would negate some of the downsides, such as giving you a ton of cards to do upfront. However, now the problem is which cards to reset.

You can go through the list manually or you could reset cards with certain tags that cover a certain topic. However, if you have hundreds or thousands of cards this can be quite time-consuming and your time would just be better spent doing the cards without any reset.

Nevertheless, this option will likely work for a small group of people who don’t have too many cards and just want to reset a specific subset of the deck for the reasons you should consider resetting an Anki deck above.

Here’s How to Reset Anki Decks

Resetting your Anki decks is extremely simple.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Open Anki and go to the deck browser
  2. Click on the deck you want to reset on the left column
  3. Select the card(s) you want to reset using Ctrl/Cmd+A
  4. Right-click and click ‘forget’.

You will now have 2 options:

  • Restore the original position where possible: This essentially resets the cards back to the positions they were in when you added the cards in Anki. This means you can relearn them in the same order you did originally.
  • Reset repetition and lapse counts: This is essentially a full hard reset, everything is set to zero. The order of the cards you learned before will not be preserved.

You will see the due date of the cards will now change to new. Congratulations, you have reset your Anki deck.

How to Reset an Anki Deck on iPhone

Resetting your Anki deck on an iPhone is actually quite simple, although a little less intuitive. The steps are outlined below.

  1. First, open the deck you want to reset.
  2. Select ‘browse’.
  3. Press the 3 lines on the top right, and tap ‘Whole Collection’.
  4. Press the checkmark in the top right and tap ‘Select All’.
  5. Press ‘Actions’ and ‘Reset Cards’.
  6. The deck has now been reset, make sure to sync your changes!

The Takeaway

Resetting your Anki decks is a decision that requires careful thought. The key is to reset with purpose and intention, rather than out of mere frustration or the desire for a clean slate. Before jumping to reset, always evaluate your reasons. While making numerous mistakes or taking an extended break can justify a reset, it’s important to steer clear of resets stemming from perfectionism or an overwhelming card backlog.