How to boot your Galaxy S4 into Safe Mode

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.

Power down Galaxy S4

Confirm the power off operation…

Power off Galaxy S4 Confirmation

Now as the phone boots up keep pressing the menu soft key which is immediately to the left of the Home Button.

Keep tapping the left menu key

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

Galaxy S4 Safe Mode Login 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.

Galaxy S4 in Safe Mode

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…

Galaxy S4 Settings in Safe Mode

We want the Application Manager so touch the More tab and scroll down midway.

Galaxy S4 Application Manager

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).

Galaxy S4 Application List

When you find a potentially culpable App, tap it in the list and choose Uninstall.

Uninstall Galaxy S4 App

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.

Galaxy S4 Backup and Reset

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.

fixedbyvonnie-galaxy-s4-factory-data-reset

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.

Cheers!

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Posted in Hardware, How To, Mobile, Samsung Galaxy S4, Smartphones Tagged with:
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  • A.

    Man, worked like a charm, you saved me! Kit Kat update royally soft bricked my phone to where i couldn’t even use the USB to connect and backup my contacts, nada. Searching for how to enter into Safemode on google was not easy also, no clear results turned up except for yours. I was able to go into Safemode and make all the backups that I needed before factory reset so thanks soooo much!!

  • Whodini

    I recently updated my SGH I337 to kitkat using odin . everything was working perfectly until the following morning when i decided to turn on my wifi . It says tuning on but it never turns on and it never goes off . How do i fix this ?

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      I’ve never used the OdinRom flashing tool so I can’t really say. Maybe someone here knows?

  • shawn

    hey i had a few issues getting into safe mode using the tap method you described above. what i found was if i tap till the soft button lights up and then hold down on soft button i get into safe mode all the time. shawn in iowa

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      Great tip Shawn. Thanks for sharing. Tell everyone in Iowa Vonnie says “hey” hehe

  • djamer

    Thank you for your very good and detailed work on this.

  • Ali Abbas

    thanks alot, step 3 solved my boot loop problem.

  • Tamica Reynolds

    try that but my phone is still in safe mode is there a next step

  • Kevin Jerome

    Dear Vonnie,

    I just wanted to let you know that you TRULY are a “genius”. I really mean that. I am not saying that you are a genius due to how “smart” or “intelligent” the actual RESULTS are from your step by step instructions, I am saying this because of HOW you wrote your step by step instructions! Believe me, I would consider myself to be quite educated when it comes to being basically very “street smart” regarding any overall computer and cell phone technical issues. I am self taught regarding mostly everything I know about computers and cell phones. I obviously became self taught by reading step by step instructions similar to what you wrote regarding this specific issue on getting your S4 to boot into safe mode.

    Therefore, getting to the bottom of all of this (and before I turn what is supposed to be a very short but detailed compliment into a “Novel” of a compliment, LOL!! :-), in all of my years reading instructions on learning about pretty much anything, I have TRULY NEVER, EVER READ STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS as EASY and (truly) FUN as yours!!!! Well, there you go, I am done! That is your compliment! You see what I mean? I could have just typed:
    “I have TRULY NEVER, EVER READ STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS as EASY and (truly) FUN as yours”!!!! Which as you and I both know is what 99.9% of all of the “normal” people would type, but NO NOT ME, the “idiot”, I have to get into all of this detail and write a novel type of a compliment! :-) LOL!

    Okay, all kidding aside now, the two reasons I wrote this comment was because I just wanted to thank you for volunteering so much of your time and effort in helping SOOOOO many people on what seems to be a very small technical issue, but now knowing it really is quite a very important technical issue everyone should be aware of. Before I go, I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to add another great reason for everyone wanting to run your device in safe mode at certain times is, if you ever find yourself with having ANY NEGATIVE ISSUE with your device, the very first thing you are now able to do (thanks to Vonnie) is to run your device in safe mode!!!! The bottom line is that by running your device in safe mode is an instant and immediate FIX to pretty much ANY problem you may be having at the time. Let me give you a quick example. Let’s say that you are out somewhere and you are trying to make an extremely important call, (or just a call to tell your partner, family member or friend that you love them, this was just to be cute, LOL!! but also serious at the same time) and you have a full signal and everything looks just perfect but for some crazy reason your call will NOT go through and you can’t figure out how to make that call. On top of that you don’t have the time to even try to figure it out because you maybe had one too many drinks also while you are “out somewhere”, just kidding, LOL :-). Anyway, and seriously (I am back in the serious mode again now), all you have to do now is just boot your phone into safe mode and go ahead and place your call with NO FURTHER PROBLEMS!! You may not be able to figure out the actual reason “why” you were not able to make that call right at that moment, but at least you were able to perform a function on your phone that was not working and then was working totally fine 1 minute later, without having to spend many minutes or even HOURS trying to place that phone call. Then obviously at a later time, when you have the time, you can then do all of your troubleshooting you wish to make a final and complete repair of that issue!

    Okay, I am finally finished! For those who appreciated my novel like message, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and for those who may post negative things about me and have fun making fun of me, I wish nothing but the best for you and HOPE THAT WHEN YOU CANT MAKE THAT IMPORTANT PHONE CALL, YOU CAN’T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obviouisly, I am just kidding.

    God bless you all and thank you again Vonnie. Now take this compliment and make money with it by doing this full time and make money doing it, I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS. You have a tremendous talent here, especially self rewarding by “helping others”, so I hope and pray the best for you!

    Your new buddy,

    p.s. What the heck, I might as well leave my email address just in case anyone would like to email me: kjerome153@gmail.com. All kidding aside, please do not email with negativity, I am a very positive type of person and I truly dislike and do not appreciate to hear any opinion that is nothing but negative. (Vonnie, you at least BETTER email me to thank me for edifying you so much! LOL!!).

    Kevin

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