Safe mode is a way to launch Android on a smartphone or tablet without any third-party apps that might ordinarily run as soon as the operating system finishes loading. Normally, when you power on your Android device, it may load a series of apps automatically like a clock or calendar widget on your home screen. Safe mode prevents this from happening, which is great if your Android smartphone or tablet is crashing frequently or running incredibly slow. However, it is a troubleshooting tool rather than an actual cure for the problem. When you launch an Android smartphone or tablet in safe mode, third-party apps cannot run at all -- even after the device boots up.
So what good is Android's safe mode?
First and foremost, it narrows down what might be causing the device to crash or to run abnormally slow. If the smartphone or tablet runs fine in safe mode, it's not the hardware causing the problem. The good news here is the device doesn't need to be repaired or replaced. But we still need to figure out what app is causing the problem.
Note: The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.
How to Boot Into Safe Mode
Before putting the device into safe mode, you will want to try simply rebooting your smartphone or tablet. This simple procedure will solve most problems, but it must be done the proper way. When you click the power or suspend button on the side of the device, it only goes into 'suspend mode', which doesn't actually power down the device. Let's properly reboot:
While rebooting will solve many problems, it won't solve all of them. An app that automatically launches when you boot up the device can become a culprit. Safe mode is the easiest way to find out if this is happening.
What to do if you don't get the safe mode option: Not every Android device is created equally. Some manufacturers like Samsung have a slightly different version of Android than the "stock" version released by Google. Older devices may also operate a little different because they have an older version of Android. So we have a couple of alternative ways to get into safe mode on Android:
Remember: Third party apps won't run in this mode. This includes any widgets you have installed and any custom home app. You can still run apps like Google Chrome and Google Maps to see if the device is functioning normally.
What to Do While You Are in Safe Mode
If your smartphone runs faster or your tablet stops crashing while in safe mode, you've narrowed it down to an app that is causing the problem. Now you just need to uninstall the app. But which app? This is where techs make their money because there's no easy way to find out which app is the culprit. We can, however, look at some likely suspects:
Remember: You may not be able to run apps in safe mode, but you can uninstall them. Always uninstall the apps in safe mode and then reboot to test the device. Find out more about uninstalling apps on your Android device.
The Quick Fix: If you've uninstalled the most likely apps such as those that launch automatically and don't want to take the time to uninstall apps in batches until you fix the problem, you can always try resetting the device back to factory default. This uninstalls all apps and erases all data, so you want to make sure you have a backup, but it is the quickest way to fix the problem.
How to Exit Out of Safe Mode
You can exit safe mode by simply rebooting your device using the directions above. By default, Android will boot into 'normal' mode. If you find yourself in Safe Mode without expecting it, you may have accidentally entered it. Rebooting should do the trick.
If you reboot and you are still in safe mode, Android has detected a problem with an app that launches automatically at boot up or one of the base Android operating system files. First try deleting apps that launch on startup such as custom home screens and widgets. After uninstalling these apps, try rebooting again.
What Happens When You Still Have Problems in Safe Mode?
If you boot into safe mode and still run into problems, don't run out and buy a new phone or tablet just yet. Safe mode narrows the problem down to likely being caused by either the operating system or the hardware. The next step is restoring your device to its 'factory default' state, which basically means deleting everything including all personal settings.
If you reset the device back to factory default and it still has problems, it is time to either repair it or replace it.
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