How to Turn Safe Mode On and Off on Android

Use this feature to troubleshoot a slow device

If your Android device is powered on and apps such as a clock or calendar widget on the home screen crash frequently or run slowly, start your Android in safe mode to track down the problem. Running your device in safe mode won't solve the problem, but it can help you figure out the cause. Here's how.

Reboot Into Safe Mode

Follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Suspend or Power button until the Power menu appears on the device screen.

  2. Tap Restart. The device powers down and powers back up.

    Restart button, OK button on Android
  3. If the menu doesn't list a Restart option, choose Power off.

  4. The device takes several seconds to shut down. Once the screen is completely dark, press the Suspend or Power button until a logo appears on the screen.

  5. Once the device has powered up, test it to see if it still has problems.

Why Use Android in Safe Mode?

If your device runs fine in safe mode, the hardware isn't causing the problem, and the culprit is likely an app. If that's the case, the device doesn't need to be repaired or replaced, but you must figure out which app is at fault.

If You Don't Get the Safe Mode Option

Not every Android device boots into safe mode the same way. Some manufacturers, such as Samsung, have slightly different versions of Android, and older devices operate differently because they have an older version of Android.

If your initial attempt to boot into safe mode is unsuccessful, try these methods:

  • If holding the Power off button in the Power menu doesn't prompt you to enter safe mode, tap and hold the Restart button. Older versions of Android use this method to enter safe mode.
  • On Samsung devices and some older Android devices, reboot the device using the above instructions and watch for the logo to appear on the screen when the device powers back up. While the logo is on the screen, press the Volume down button on the side of the device. The words safe mode appear at the bottom of the screen once it fully boots up.

What to Do in Safe Mode

If your device runs faster or stops crashing while it's in safe mode, an app is probably causing the problem. To fix it, determine which app is to blame, then uninstall it.

Managing Apps in Safe Mode on Android
 Lifewire

To determine which app to uninstall, look at some likely suspects:

  • Apps that automatically start when the device boots up: These apps include Android widgets, such as the clock or calendar, and custom home screen apps.
  • Recently downloaded apps: If you recently noticed the problem, the culprit is likely either an app you recently acquired or updated.
  • Nonessential apps: If you deleted apps that load at startup and apps recently acquired or updated, uninstall apps you don't use regularly.

Apps might not run in safe mode, but they can be uninstalled there. Uninstall the apps in safe mode, then reboot to test the device.

Still Having Problems in Safe Mode?

If you boot into safe mode and still experience problems, don't run out and buy a new phone or tablet just yet. Using safe mode narrows the cause of the problem down to the operating system or the hardware.

The next step is to restore the device to its factory default state, which deletes everything, including all personal settings.

Restoring your device to its factory default settings uninstalls all apps and erases all data. Back up your data before performing this action.

If you reset the Android device to factory default and still have problems, it's time for a repair or replacement.

How to Get Out of Safe Mode

To exit safe mode, reboot the device using the directions above. By default, Android boots into normal mode. If the device boots in safe mode, rebooting should restore it to normal mode.

If you reboot and your Android is still in safe mode, it means Android detected a problem with an app that launches automatically at bootup or in one of the base Android operating system files. To remedy this problem, delete apps that launch at startup, such as custom home screens and widgets. Then, reboot the device again.

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