If you’ve been a PC user long enough, you’re likely to be familiar with “Safe Mode” – a feature that can get you out of trouble after an application starts acting up or a driver gets corrupted and prevents your display from working.
Few people know that Android phones and tablets also have a Safe Mode feature and today we’re going to tell you how (and why) to enable and disable it. First however, let’s talk about Safe Mode for a bit, understand what it does and why you may need to enable it in the first place.
This post is now being updated for 2017, and a lot of users are still facing this issue. Once again, the solutions listed here are the best options available, and if you still can’t get out of safe mode despite a factory reset, you may want to delete everything on your device and see if that turns off safe mode.
What is Safe Mode on Android and why you may need it
You can think of Safe Mode as a troubleshooting tool, which when activated or enabled, allows you to work with the bare minimum of software (only default apps) so you can figure out which app is causing issues with your phone or tablet.
For instance, let’s say your Android is experiencing massive battery drain and you have a ton of apps downloaded and installed. Now it would take a lot of time for you to disable or uninstall all these apps one by one to figure out whether the issue is related to software or is simply because of an aging battery.
In such a scenario, you can enable Safe Mode, which in turn disables all but the stock apps so you can figure out what’s wrong. Similarly, if there is an app or malware which runs automatically at startup and is stubborn when it comes to uninstalling it, you can easily remove it from within safe mode.
When safe mode is enabled, you will see a label in the bottom left corner of your screen, like the image shown below.
There are also instances where safe mode is automatically enabled, such as a malware attack, a software failure or an accidental push of buttons on your phone or tablet. However, now we’re going to first discuss how to enable safe mode and then move on to disable it.
How to Enable Safe Mode on your Android Phone or Tablet
Enabling safe mode is fairly easy if you follow instructions, but they may vary according to your device and the version of Android you are running. Here are a few methods you can try.
First Method – Reboot to Safe Mode
The first method, which is likely to work for most Android phones and tablets requires you to press the power button on your device till a small menu window pops up. Press and hold the “Power Off” option on that menu window for a few seconds and you will see a confirmation message before the phone reboots into Safe Mode.
Second Method – Power and Volume Down Key
This method works for most Samsung devices and involves turning your phone or tablet off first. Now you hold the power button to switch it back on, and as soon as you see the manufacturer’s logo, leave the power button and press-hold the volume down button until the phone boots completely – it should boot into safe mode now.
A variation of this method is to hold down both the volume down and power keys while switching on your device, and then leaving the power key as soon as the maker’s logo appears (but continuing to hold the volume down key until the phone or tablet boots).
Third Method – Power and Volume Down + Volume Up Key
This method works for most older devices and requires you to power your phone or tablet off and then power it back on while pressing both the volume up and down keys at the same time. If this doesn’t work, you can try rebooting the device and tapping the capacitive menu key (that brings up the options menu) repeatedly till the phone boots completely.
How to Disable Safe Mode on your Android Phone or Tablet
Once you are done using safe mode to fix your device, troubleshoot issues or uninstall buggy apps, you will want to disable and deactivate safe mode and return to normal usage. Even if your phone or tablet has automatically gone into safe mode, you can use the methods below to get it out ‘safely’ (no pun intended).
First Method – Reboot Device
The first thing you need to try in order to disable safe mode is to simply reboot your device. Press the power button to bring up the menu and then choose reboot from the options. Wait for your phone or tablet to turn off and then back on and once it’s fully booted, you should be out of safe mode.
If you are using a new Samsung device, you may also see a disable safe mode option in the notifications bar after you pull it down.
Second Method – Power and Volume Up Keys
If a reboot doesn’t fix it, you can try switching off your Android device and powering it back on while holding down both the power and volume up buttons. This method gets most devices out of safe mode, but if it fails to work for you, try again with the volume down button instead of volume up.
Third Method – Manual Battery Removal
If both the methods above don’t get your Android out of safe mode, you can try a manual battery removal to turn it off completely. To do this safely, first power off your device properly and once it has shut down, open the back and remove the battery.
Ideally you should wait for a minute or two before placing the battery back in and powering up your device. If this doesn’t work either, try removing the battery again along with your SIM and memory cards. Wait for a couple of minutes again before switching your device back on.
Fourth Method – Factory Reset
This method should be used only as a last resort because it will wipe out all settings, accounts, contacts, apps and messages from your Android phone or tablet. In order to perform a factory reset on your Android device, go to the settings page and choose the option called “Backup & reset”.
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On the next page you’ll find the factory reset option, select it and then confirm that you want to erase all data. You might also see a check box which asks you whether you want to delete all SD card content. If you leave this box unchecked, your media files, including photos, camera shots and videos will remain on your device’s memory, while everything else will be wiped.
We hope by now you understand what is Safe Mode on Android, why you should use it and how you can enable and disable it. Even if your phone or tablet automatically boots in safe mode, worry not and simply try the methods in this post to get it out of safe mode.
If you run into any issues, feel free to comment below and we will try to resolve your problem.