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.


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.



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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 ?

    • 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

    • 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


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