Most people realize they can boot into safe mode on a Windows box but did you know you can boot your Galaxy S4 into Safe Mode too?
Booting your Droid into Safe Mode loads the core operating system sans the crap. In other words, all superfluous apps and widgets won’t load which leaves only factory installed stuff. If your phone works fine in Safe Mode but quirky in Normal Mode then you have good reason to believe that uninstalling one or more apps will fix things.
If you’re noticing that your Galaxy S4 locks up often, the battery is draining faster than normal, or the phone takes too long to startup then booting to Safe Mode is perfect because it lets you uninstall aberrant apps and gets your phone back on track.
Booting the S4 to Safe Mode
Hold down the power button for 2 seconds to bring up your phone options.
Confirm the power off operation…
Now as the phone boots up keep pressing the menu soft key which is immediately to the left of the Home Button.
You might feel silly tapping the bottom left side of your phone as it turns on because it won’t seem like anything is happening. That’s fine, just find the nearest vacant room, close the door and keep tapping your heart away until the Home Screen emerges.
Astute observers will immediately notice the monochrome Safe Mode insert along the bottom left edge of the screen
Log in the phone and flip through your home screens.
Only factory apps are available in Safe Mode so your phone might seem banal but it should feel more responsive.
Tap your way to Settings (tap the left menu key next to the Home button and choose Settings)
It’s hiding behind the Safe Mode screen stamp…
We want the Application Manager so touch the More tab and scroll down midway.
Start browsing through your Apps starting with the most recently installed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an easy way to sort by install date so it looks like you can only sort alphabetically or by file size (tap the menu soft key again for those options).
When you find a potentially culpable App, tap it in the list and choose Uninstall.
Keep methodically going through each App and uninstalling one by one until you find the unruly App that’s flubbing up your phone. It’s a bit of a pain but I don’t see an easier way of doing this; however, if you’ve had better success please share your knowledge in the comments below.
Consider a Factory Reset
In more extreme cases you may want to consider a full factory reset. If you have voluminous apps and think it’ll take you more than half a day to uninstall them or if your phone has become virtually unusable it might make sense to restore your phone to the factory defaults.
This will nuke all your apps and settings so make sure you have critical items backed up first.
To start the Reset, revisit Settings and tap the Accounts tab.
Scroll to the very bottom and choose Backup and Reset. Note: If you’re in Safe Mode the word Backup is obstructed by the Safe Mode graphic in the bottom left corner of the screen.
It’s kind of hard to see the Backup and reset button but just touch and trust me – you’ll end up where you want to be.
Take a thoughtful pause… then press the Factory Data Reset button to zap your phone.
When you’re ready to get out of Safe Mode, just power down the phone normally and reboot. As your phone starts up, forget any fancy finger tapping and you’ll boot directly to normal mode.