Something’s wrong. Your phone’s been acting all kinds of crazy lately. Maybe it’s a shady app. Maybe it’s a popup you tapped by accident. Whatever it is, your Android now barely chugs along, keeps randomly restarting, or suddenly spikes up in temperature. Don’t panic. Almost all Android devices can be booted in safe mode to investigate the issue.
Safe mode lets you start up your phone or tablet without third-party applications. Since many apps are set to run automatically in the background, a clean boot will tell you whether faulty software is the source of your problems.
Entering safe mode is easy, but different phone models use different methods.
Here are the four most common ways to enable safe mode on Android devices. Method A should work for most — if it doesn’t, simply try the next one down the list.
Easy. If you see the words ‘Safe mode’ on the bottom left corner of your screen after booting up, you’re golden. They’ll stay there until you exit safe mode.
Safe mode only disables third-party apps — you can still call people, send text messages, or surf the net on your phone’s pre-installed software. More importantly, you can also uninstall programs and change your device’s settings.
The first thing you should do is check whether you’ve still got a problem. If your phone was previously falling apart but runs fine in safe mode, some naughty app is likely the culprit.
Finding the troublemaker can be quite tricky, however. Changes only take effect after you exit safe mode, so you’ll have to uninstall suspicious applications one by one, restarting each time to check if your Android’s finally cured.
Fortunately, there’s a method to this madness. If your troubles started not too long ago, it’s smart to go for the recent installs and updates first. After that, you can begin deleting widgets and other apps that run automatically in the background.
While there is no universal method to enter safe mode, getting out is as simple as restarting your device. You’ll be back to your usual setup once it finishes booting.
If your phone’s still a mess even in safe mode, you’re in for a rough ride: the issue likely lies with the hardware or Android itself.
Back up your data and try doing a factory reset first. If that doesn’t do anything, it’s best to take your device to the shop for repairs — or even replacement.
Get serious about tech and cybersecurity. Sign up to our newsletter below for more in-depth guides and tips!