Here’s how — and why — to use Safe mode with an Android phone

Reboot to safe mode on Android
Simon Hill / Digital Trends

Safe mode can help you to track down the causes of problems you may be having with your smartphone. When you boot your phone into Safe mode, it doesn’t run any third-party apps installed on your device. If your smartphone has been overheating, suffering battery drain, or otherwise not performing properly — yet it doesn’t exhibit these issues while in Safe mode — then you know that an app you installed is the culprit.

The process for booting your phone into Safe mode can vary a little between different Android devices, but getting out of Safe mode is always the same. Here’s how to do it.

How to turn off Safe mode in Android

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. Tap the Restart option.

That’s it. A simple restart of your Android device will turn off Safe mode.

How to turn on Safe mode on an Android device

If you have a Google Pixel 2, a Samsung Galaxy S9, or any other Android smartphone or tablet, running Android 6.0 or later, then the process for turning on Safe mode is as follows:

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. Tap and hold Power off.
  3. When the Reboot to safe mode prompt appears, tap OK.

Your device will then restart and it will say “Safe mode” in the bottom-left corner. This method also works for LG, HTC, Sony, and many other Android phones.

How to turn on Safe mode with the keys

Whether you have a Samsung Galaxy S8, an HTC U12 Plus, or any other Android smartphone or tablet, then the process for turning on Safe mode with the keys is as follows:

  1. Press and hold the Power button and select Power off to turn your device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power button, until you see the animated Samsung or HTC logo appear.
  3. Release the Power button, and press and hold the Volume down button.
  4. Keep holding it until your device boots up.
  5. You can let go when you see the words “Safe mode” in the bottom-left corner.

This method works for most Android phones and tablets.

What to do in Safe mode

You can uninstall problematic apps and use your phone’s core functions while in Safe mode. If you find your issue is gone in Safe mode, then you can either uninstall apps one by one and test in normal mode again to try and identify the problem app, or you can factory reset your device and selectively install apps and games, making sure to watch out for a recurrence of any problem after each install.

If your device continues to crash, overheat, or otherwise perform poorly in Safe mode, then it might be an operating system problem or a hardware issue. Try a factory reset and if that doesn’t resolve things, contact your retailer, carrier or phone manufacturer and find out about a replacement or repair.

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