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Galaxy Note 4 Safe Mode: What you need to know

Safe Mode is a useful tool, provided you know how you got there in the first place

Safe Mode is one of those "features" that you're more likely to stumble across accidentally than seek out and use on purpose, but in either case it's important to know what it's all about. It's a very helpful troubleshooting tool to diagnose when you're having problems with your phone, letting you temporarily turn off user-installed apps. But even if you don't end up needing it for its intended purpose, knowing how to get back from an accidental boot into Safe Mode is also a helpful bit of knowledge to have.

Let us show you the ins and outs of Safe Mode on the Galaxy Note 4.

How do you access Safe Mode, and what does it do?

Safe Mode isn't meant to be accessed regularly, so it's understandable that the function is stuck behind a pretty convoluted method. If you want to access Safe Mode, power down your phone completely — hold the power button, then select Power off from the menu. Once the phone is off, press and hold the power button to turn the phone on, and as soon as the "Samsung" logo pops on screen, release the power button and then press and hold the volume down button until the phone boots up completely.

The phone will clearly display a "Safe Mode" badge in a black box on the bottom-left corner of the screen, which is visible no matter what screen or app you're in. You'll also see a notification arrive telling you that your phone is in Safe Mode.

When your phone is in Safe Mode, you won't have access to any app that wasn't loaded on the phone by default. For example any app that you downloaded from the Google Play Store will show up as not installed while in Safe Mode. (Note: Samsung somewhat erroneously shows an app icon with an SDcard on it to indicate that an app is uninstalled — rest assured this has nothing to do with your SDcard.) All apps and services that were pre-installed on the phone will continue to function, as will the main services of the phone like the camera, SDcard access, cellular data and background syncing.

It's a good rule of thumb to not have too high of expectations of what will work, though, as many services may be disabled without you knowing (for example, Dropbox will log you out in Safe Mode). Expect to use Safe Mode sparingly and for short periods of time, not as a permanent mode of operation.

Why would you want to use Safe Mode?

Safe Mode is primarily used as a troubleshooting tool when you're having issues with your Note 4. If for some reason you're seeing dramatic battery drain or data usage that's out of the ordinary, you can boot into Safe Mode to see if that's happening with non-default apps all disabled, rather than trying to disable or uninstall apps one-by-one with the phone running regularly.

If you do happen to narrow down the problematic app while in Safe Mode, you can disable or uninstall it without leaving Safe Mode. Just enter the phone Settings, then scroll down to Application Manager and find the app under the Downloaded tab. You can then clear its data, disable or uninstall it as you wish.

How do you leave Safe Mode, and are there lasting effects?

To leave Safe Mode, swipe down the notification shade and simply tap the Safe Mode notification, which will then pop up a window on your screen to reboot your phone normally. The apps that were previously unavailable in Safe Mode will come back to life after your phone reboots, and everything will be back to normal. That's the beauty of Safe Mode — it's a completely temporary solution that can be switched on and off with a simple reboot.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

33 Comments
  • Thanks for the write up Andrew! Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're most welcome. Posted via the Android Central App
  • hi i have my note edge he is on safe mode i use all the you post nothing is work for me i do not know what to do .and there is on thing for some reason my down volume stop working please help me
  • Always good to know how to access safemode. Have used it in the past to help troubleshoot things.
    How come you didn't mention every android phone can do this? Posted via the Android Central App
  • i cant get my note 4 out of safe mode using any of the standard solutions.. HELP.!!! ive tried restarting.. taking the battery out.. clicking on the safe mode notification and restarting it that way... i just cant seem to get it off.. its very frustrating.. HELP ME!!!!
  • Great article. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Fantastic, thank you for taking the time to write this.
  • What's "KNOX mode" in the notification drawer?
  • The name of the next Samsung article?
  • haha +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Possible ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's from the My KNOX app that let's you have a secure sandboxed area for some apps you want separated from the rest of the data on your phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wonder why Samsung felt the need to change the method for accessing safe mode... Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • So that idiots don't muck things up accidentally Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Ah. So they must have used feedback from your usage of the Note 3. I guess it makes sense to target the lowest common denominator. If an interface is NoNexus-proof it should be more than adequate for your garden-variety idiot.
  • lol that is great...and also explains why you do not own one. You cannot handle the awesome power of a Samsung device. It is waaaaayyyyy over your pathetic little head. And no I have not given any feed back on any of the 15 or so phones I used last year.
  • Is this the same as getting to the power menu and push and hold power off and await for it to prompt you to reboot in safe mode? I can do it on the moto g Posted via the Android Central App
  • You can do it on all phones I believe, there are just different ways to go about it Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Right. But Samsung does it differently as you can see. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "If you do happen to narrow down the problematic app while in Safe Mode, you can disable or uninstall it without leaving Safe Mode." What? How are you going to narrow down the problematic app when you can't run them in Safe Mode? Posted via Android Central App
  • The method is to eliminate if a stock app is causing the problem. To look at it differently, if the problem still exists in Safe Mode, then it isn't a third party app causing the issue, its either a stock app, or something in the OS itself. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thank you golfdriver. I can see the usefulness in that. I think the confusion for me was the "disable or uninstall". I don't think you can uninstall stock apps. Posted via Android Central App
  • Usually those are not the rogue ones, it's the Play store apps that get you in trouble 99.9% of the time Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Thanks, just bought the Note 4. This devise is a beast.
  • Is there a way to disable the ability to boot into safe mode? I have some apps that I do not want bypassed (like AppLock) while the phone is on, even while in safe mode. But when my S5 is in safe mode, those particular apps no longer function. I would prefer to simply have the safe mode option permanently disabled, but I have also heard about a custom app that is under the system apps (so it gets started even when safe mode is started) that will reboot the tablet whenever it is booted into safe mode. When rebooted, it will boot up into the normal shell. The problem is that I cannot find which app this is. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • I am unable to log out of safe mode. Have tried removing the battery, factory data reset, switching on and off etc. Nothing seems to work. Please help.
  • im having this exact same problem!! my note 4 will not get out of safe mode.. ive tried everything.. ive spent HOURS on youtube and google trying to fix this.. have u got your out of it yet? if you have plzzz help.. desperate
  • Will safe mode work if my finger swipe stops working and when I type in the correct password it states its wrong? I downloaded HP ePrint the night before and the next morning I get up to use my phone and the above issue occurs. I cannot reset my phone I need my data. PLEASE help
  • Okay. I give up. I've tried everything to disable this stupid safe mode. It's been stuck on it for two days! I've tried every single way I've read on how to shut this stupid thing off. Nothing is working.
  • When your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is in Safe Mode, you will not have access to any app which was not installed by default. But all the apps and services which were installed and loaded on the phone by default would continue their functions. For example pre-installed apps and services like the camera, cellular data and SD card access would continue their functions as they perform in normal mode. But the apps which were not pre-installed and downloaded from the Google Play Store or any other store will not perform their function and will show up as not installed.
  • All of my apps are frozen and I cannot get rid of the Safe mode on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. It's like a nightmare. I have tried everything as suggested and nothing works. This all happened when I accidentally accepted Knox as my Security. Big Mistake.