Tips

How to Activate Android’s Safe Mode to Get out of a Force Close Loop

August 6, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson

Android Tricks, Android Tutorials, Tips

How to activate Android's safe mode to kill a force close loop

Have you ever experienced a force close loop on your Android phone? No? I hadn’t either until a couple of weeks ago, but if you also enjoy checking out various ports, launcher replacements, ROMs, emulators or projects from independent developers, chances are you will too eventually. And when it happens, it’s hard to know what to do, because while in a force close loop, the Android system is literally going loco.

Then what is a “force close loop”, exactly? The term is generally used to describe when an app is involuntary closed by the system, then it’s automatically launched again, and then closed, and this goes on and on. Since you can’t access any of Android’s menus while your phone is in a force close loop, there’s no obvious way to kill it.

I got my first force close loop while trying out a new homescreen replacement, and even rebooting my phone didn’t help: the loop just continued where it left off, since the app was launched automatically every time my phone started. Fortunately, I discovered Android’s Safe Mode.

There are probably other situations when Android’s safe mode may come in handy. Generally, whenever an app gives you trouble and you can’t uninstall it for whatever reason, or if your phone goes haywire, you can try starting your phone in safe mode.

Update: Instructions for more phones have been added. To turn off safe mode, simply reboot your device.

HTC devices with physical buttons:

  • Turn off your Android phone. If you can’t do it the normal way because of the loop, remove the battery.
  • Press the Menu button on your phone.
  • While holding down the Menu button, turn on your device and keep pressing the Menu button until you see the lock screen.
  • “Safe Mode” should now be printed in the lower-left corner of your display. When in safe mode, Android does not load any third-party apps, and you can uninstall the application that gave you trouble from Settings > Applications > Manage applications.

Nexus One:

  • Turn off your Nexus. Remove the battery if it cannot be done the normal way.
  • Press the power button to start your phone, and right when the logo appears, press and hold the trackball. You should also be able to hold down the touch sensitive Menu button at this point, if you prefer that.
  • Keep pressing until you see the lock screen, and you should now be in safe mode.

Motorola Droid

  • Turn off your Droid and slide open the hardware keyboard.
  • Press both the power button and the Menu button on the keyboard simultaneously.
  • Keep holding down the Menu key until you see the “Droid Eye”, and you feel your phone vibrate.
  • Your Droid should start and say “Safe Mode” in the lower-left corner of the screen.