Imagine a car completely stripped of its body and left with nothing but a steering wheel and the parts necessary to run it. That is, essentially, what running Safe Mode on your Android device is like.
Safe Mode gives you the opportunity to run your Android device with only the essential processes that govern your operating system. Third-party apps, for example, won’t run in Safe Mode. Widgets, another example, also won’t run while your Android device is in Safe Mode. But, what’s the point of Safe Mode?
Generally speaking, Safe Mode allows one to troubleshoot their Android device. In many cases, malicious third-party apps make it impossible for you to use your Android device as intended. To combat this, you boot your Android into Safe Mode and uninstall the malware before it can cause any further harm.
Safe Mode doesn’t only help on the software side of Android; it can help with hardware to an extent. Basically, if you can boot into Safe Mode, you can narrow down the issues you’re having with your Android device. It can lead you in the right direction by helping you determine is was software giving you problems, not the hardware.
Booting your Android Device into Safe Mode
1. Hold the Power button until Android prompts a menu.
2. In the menu, select Power off or Shutdown. It varies between manufacturers.
For some Android models, your Android device will actually ask if you want to reboot into Safe Mode. If this is the case for your Android model, go ahead and select OK.
3. Wait 60 to 90 seconds, ensuring that your Android device has been completely shut down. Afterwards, press either the Volume Up button or the Volume Down button along with the Power button. Don’t let go of those two buttons until you see ‘Safe Mode’ appear on the bottom left corner of the screen.
If your device doesn’t boot into Safe Mode, try pressing the other volume button (Volume Down seems to be a common one) with the Power button instead.
If you’re still having trouble booting into Safe Mode, then search for the correct combination of button presses for your particular Android model. Each one is slightly different.
Turning Safe Mode Off on your Android Device
For many Android devices, turning off Safe Mode is a lot like booting it into Safe Mode. You use the Power button to prompt a menu and shut it down. After you’ve waited 60 to 90 seconds, you go ahead and power the Android device on like usual, without the use of the volume buttons this time.
On the other hand, some Android devices have a dedicated option for turning off Safe Mode like Samsung Galaxy. However, it’s really just a glorified Restart button. Here’s where you find it:
1. Open your Quick Settings Menu. The dashboard at the top of your Android device’s screen, the part that displays time, battery life and notifications, opens into your Quick Settings Menu. Tap it or tap and swipe down to expand it.
2. Once opened, you’ll see an icon option to ‘Exit Safe Mode.’ Go ahead and select it. Your Android device will then restart and boot like normal. See? Glorified Restart button.
Your Android is Still Booting into Safe Mode
Remove your Battery Completely
In this case, you’ll have to go the extra mile of completely removing your battery. It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly it works, but many Android users have found success with this solution.
1. You can get to the battery by removing the backplate on your Android.
2. Once the backplate has been removed, take a thin, blunt tool–like a plastic piece–and lift the battery out of the cradle. Some Android manufacturers actually have a small tab that you can pull to lift the battery out of the cradle.
3. Wait 60 to 90 seconds before properly inserting the battery back into the cradle.
4. Power up the device as normal.
Your Phone Case is the Cause
In this case, depending on your Android manufacturer, booting into Safe Mode requires the use of your Power button and one of the volume buttons. Some users have experienced their phone case pushing on the volume button that just so happens to be the same button needed to boot into Safe Mode. Which means, when the user goes to press the Power button, the volume button is being pressed at the same time by their phone case, resulting in Safe Mode.
This also extends to Android users with broken volume buttons. Your Android may think you’re intentionally holding the volume button when you go to boot, again, resulting in Safe Mode. To try and bypass that, try pressing and holding the other volume button and the Power button.
Remove Malicious Apps
A recent app you installed is forcing your phone to boot into Safe Mode. Take the opportunity, while you’re in Safe Mode, to uninstall any apps you’ve recently downloaded, especially if they’re third-party apps.
1. Head into the Settings app. Its icon is a gear. You can find it on one of your Home screens or somewhere in your App Drawer.
There exists an alternative to launching the Settings app. Open your Quick Settings Menu. At the top, tap your dashboard (where your battery life, clock and notifications are located) or tap and swipe down to expand the shade. Inside you’ll see a gear icon. Select it.
2. Scroll down to Apps and select it.
3. Find the app that’s a possible culprit and select it.
4. Tap Force Stop if the option is available. Afterwards, tap Uninstall.
Purge your Cache Partition in Settings
While you’re in Safe Mode, you might as well take advantage of its troubleshooting capabilities, like purging your cache partition. On top of that, it may even solve your continuous Safe Mode hell. And to be clear, your personal information is completely safe if you use this solution.
1. Locate and launch the Settings app. Its icon is a gear. Look for it in your App Drawer or, most likely, one of your Home screens.
Or, alternatively, you can open the Settings app by expanding your ‘notification shade.’ At the top, you’ll see the time, any notifications and your Android’s battery life. By tapping or tapping and swiping down, you’ll expand the taskbar into your notification shade. Inside you’ll find a gear icon. Select it to open the Settings app.
2. Head down the menu until you locate Storage or Storage & USB. It varies between Android manufacturers.
3. Once inside, select Phone or Internal Storage. It varies between Android manufacturers.
4. Locate Cached data in the very short list. When prompted to ‘Clear cached data?’ go ahead and select OK.
Purge your Cache Partition in Recovery Mode
1. Hold the Power button until you prompt a menu. Select Power off or Shutdown.
2. Press the proper button combination to boot your Android device into Recovery Mode. For example, ZTE models tend to boot with the Volume Down button and the Power Button together.
If that doesn’t work for you, search for your specific Android model. Each model is slightly different.
3. By using the volume buttons, you can navigate the menu of Recovery Mode. Head down to Wipe cache partition and highlight it.
4. By using the Power button, you can select Wipe cache partition.
5. You will be warned by that this process cannot be undone. Again, no personal data will be lost during the process. If you’re fine with that, use the volume buttons to highlight Yes and press the Power button to confirm.
6. Once the cache partition has been wiped, navigate up to Reboot system now and press the Power button.
Were you ever stuck in Safe Mode? If so, what solution did you use to get yourself out? Leave a comment below on your experience, especially if it’s a solution that isn’t listed. After all, knowledge is power.