How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If your Android device is suffering from glitches, slowdowns, or other issues, then you need to find a solution to get it back to normal. When you try virus scans and repairs and they don’t work, your next option is to use recovery mode.

Recovery mode will allow you to reboot your system and get a fresh start without any viruses or other issues that were potentially causing you trouble. Discover how to use recovery mode for various devices, including Samsung and LG.

How to boot into recovery mode on a Google Pixel or Nexus device

If you have a device that runs stock Android, such as the Google Pixel 4, Pixel 3, or something else, then these are the steps required to boot into recovery mode:

  1. Hold down the Power key and select Power off. If the touchscreen is unresponsive, then you can simply keep holding down the Power key for several seconds until the device turns off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key and the Volume down key. You should see a bunch of information about your device, and Start at the top of the screen.
  3. To navigate through the menu options, you use the Volume up and Volume down keys. The Power key is used to make a selection. Press Volume down two or three times and you should see Recovery mode at the top right. Press the Power key to select it.
  4. The white Google logo will pop up, followed by the Android mascot on his back again with the words No command underneath.
  5. Press and hold the Power key and then press the Volume up key once while still holding down the Power key.
  6. You should see the Android system recovery options pop up at the top of the screen. Use the Volume keys to highlight the options and the Power key to select the one you want.

How to boot into recovery mode on other Android devices

We aren’t going to go through every Android phone here, but you can find this information for your device with a quick Google search. Make sure you find the right method for your device from a trustworthy source before you start. The method to factory reset a device using the hardware keys always includes instructions on how to get into recovery mode.

Samsung Galaxy S10, S9, Note 10, and other Galaxy devices

  1. Hold down the Power key and select the Power off option. If the screen is frozen or unresponsive, you can hold down the Power key for several seconds until the device switches off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key, the Volume up key, and the Home or Bixby button together. Release when you see the Samsung logo. You can select the option you want from the menu using the Volume keys to highlight and the Power key to select.

Motorola One Zoom, Droid Turbo 2, Moto Z, Moto G (any generation), and other Motorola devices

  1. Hold down the Power button and turn your phone off.
  2. Press and hold the Volume down and Power buttons simultaneously until the device turns on.
  3. You can use Volume down to highlight Recovery mode and the Power button to select it.

OnePlus 7 Pro, 6T, 6, 5T, and other OnePlus devices

  1. Hold down the Power button and select Power off to turn your OnePlus off.
  2. Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons together.
  3. You can use the Volume buttons to highlight an option and the Power key to select it.

HTC U12 Plus, U11, 10, One M9, and other HTC devices

HTC phones are a little different:

  1. Go to Settings > Battery and uncheck Fastboot.
  2. Turn the device off by holding the Power key.
  3. Press and hold the Volume down key and the Power key.
  4. On the U11, you’ll need to highlight reboot to bootloader and then press Power to select it.
  5. You should see a bootloader screen where you can use Volume down to highlight Recovery and then the Power key to select it.

LG G8 ThinQ, G7, V40 ThinQ, and other LG devices

  1. Press and hold the Power key, and turn the phone off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key, and the Volume down key together.
  3. When you see the LG logo, let go of the Power key and then press it again (you should keep pressing the Volume down key throughout).
  4. The menu will appear and you can use the Volume keys to highlight an option and the Power key to select it.

Recovery mode options

The options you are presented with may vary depending on your device, but certain standards are always there. You can always choose from:

  • Reboot system now: This will restart the device normally.
  • Apply update from ADB: The Android Debug Bridge allows you to plug your device into your PC and issue commands from there. It’s designed for developers and requires you to install the Android SDK (software development kit). If you’re interested, you can find out more at the Android developer website.
  • Wipe data/factory reset: This will wipe all of your data — photos, videos, music, apps, everything — and return your phone to its original factory condition. This will also wipe the cache partition.
  • Wipe cache partition: This is temporary system data largely related to app installations, and you can delete it without losing any personal data or settings. Wiping the cache partition can solve a host of issues and you won’t lose any data or settings, so there’s no real risk involved. We recommend this as a fix for a lot of common Android problems. NOTE: Since it released Android 7.1, Google has removed the wipe cache partition option for devices that get seamless updates. You should be able to do the same thing by going to Settings > Storage and tapping on Cached data.

A word of warning about Factory Reset Protection

Every device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later has Factory Reset Protection (FRP) turned on by default. What this means is that you will be prompted to enter the username and password for your Google account, even after performing a factory reset.

The idea behind this measure is to deter thieves, since even a factory reset via the recovery menu won’t give them access to your phone. However, it’s worth keeping in mind if you plan on wiping your phone before selling it or passing it on to someone else. To avoid FRP, make sure that you go to Settings > Accounts and remove your Google account before performing a factory reset.

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