How to turn safe mode on and off on Android

Is there anything more annoying than your banking app crashing midway through a transaction or your phone running slowly when you’re trying to share a file on a video call with your boss? Is it a third-party app? Maybe it’s your phone? When you don’t have a clue what’s causing the problem, the result is double the frustration. That’s where safe mode steps in; it’s a quick and easy way to troubleshoot exactly what’s going wrong on your Android device.




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What You Need

Safe mode is the best way to diagnose issues on your Android phone or device, as it temporarily blocks third-party apps from running. If you notice significant speed improvements with your device in safe mode, then a third-party app likely is the culprit. It’s worth noting that, before booting your device in safe mode, you might want to check online to see if anyone else is experiencing similar issues — such as the recent Android System WebView issue that caused apps to crash.

To boot your Android device in safe mode, follow these (very) simple steps. This way, you can finally get to the bottom of what’s been causing your device to sputter and slow.

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How to turn on safe mode on an Android device

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, a Google Pixel 5, or any other Android smartphone or tablet running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later, then the process for turning on safe mode is as follows:

Step 1: Press and hold the Power button.

Step 2: Tap and hold Power Off.

Step 3: When the Reboot to Safe Mode prompt appears, tap again or tap OK.

Your device will then restart, and you will see a safe Mode prompt in the bottom-left corner. This method also works for LG, HTC, Sony, and many other Android phones.

How to turn off safe mode in Android

Because you don’t want to operate your device like this forever, here’s how to exit safe mode:

Step 1: Press and hold the Power button.

Step 2: Tap the Restart option.

Step 3: You can also turn off safe mode by opening your notification panel and tapping the Safe Mode Enabled notification.

That’s it. A simple restart of your Android device will disable safe mode.

How to turn on safe mode with the keys

Whether you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, an HTC Desire 20 Pro, or an older Android smartphone or tablet like the Samsung Galaxy S4, the process for turning on your safe mode option with the keys is as follows:

Step 1: Press and hold the Power button and select Power Off to turn your device off.

Step 2: Press and hold the Power button until you see the animated Samsung or HTC logo appear.

Step 3: Release the Power button and press and hold the Volume Down button.

Step 4: Keep holding it until your device boots up.

Step 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 while your phone is 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 the issue might not be with a downloaded application, but rather the operating system or the phone’s hardware. 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 for your mobile device.

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Freelance tech and travel writer living in (somewhat) sunny Scotland. Gamer, tea addict, never without a good book.
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