How to start computer or phone in Safe Mode

Anton P. | November 3, 2022

Safe Mode is a way to launch your operating system in an environment built for diagnostics. Booting Windows in Safe Mode means your device launches in a basic state. So, very few files and drivers are active in it.

Most users turn to Safe Mode when computers or other devices do not run properly. Let’s see how to start devices in Safe Mode and what insights it can bring about their state.

What is Safe Mode? How does it work?

Steps for how to boot in Safe Mode relate to one of the basic computing skills. Essentially, it is an alternative operating mode, functioning with limited resources.

Users typically choose this route when their devices are not in working order. And Safe Mode can help detect the root of the problem.

For instance, Safe Mode can assist in removing malicious or unwanted programs. In other cases, it can help roll back a driver update.

A driver update could prevent a PC from starting correctly. Then, you can restart your computer in Safe Mode to remove the problematic driver.

As soon as you enter Safe Mode, you will notice differences in how your operating system looks:

  • Screen resolutions can no longer be as neat as in normal mode.
  • The system can run slower.
  • Some or many applications might not run properly for Windows and other devices in Safe Mode.
  • The desktop background features a solid black color instead of custom images.

All of these changes are normal after booting into Safe Mode. However, you can adjust the screen resolution in Safe Mode if the current one makes it difficult to work.

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What is Safe Mode with Networking?

After you enter Safe Mode, your computer will no longer have internet access. If you need to get online, you will need Safe Mode with Networking option.

Essentially, it works the same but lets you retain a functional internet connection. So, drivers for accessing the internet are also present in this mode.

What is Safe Mode with Command Prompt?

Safe Mode with Command Prompt has the same purpose as normal Safe Mode. However, Command Prompt is the default interface you get instead of Explorer.

This Safe Mode option might not be as popular as its appearance goes even further away from traditional Windows. You won’t notice any menus or icons, only the Command Prompt window.

Furthermore, it is possible to launch Command Prompt in both Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Networking.

Overall, Safe Mode with Command Prompt is usually for IT professionals and system administrators.

Boot Windows in Safe Mode

There are two options for restarting Windows in Safe Mode.

Through PC settings:

  1. Press Windows logo key + I keyboard buttons.
  2. Pick Update & Security.

  1. Open Recovery.

  1. Find Advanced startup and pick Restart now.

  1. After Windows finishes restarting, select Troubleshoot from Choose an option.

  1. Move to Advanced options.

  1. Open Startup Settings and click Restart.

  1. After rebooting, pick the suitable option.

  1. You can press 4 or F4 to open Windows in Safe Mode.
  2. You can press 5 or F5 to launch the PC in Safe Mode for Networking.

Through the sign-in window:

  1. Hold the Shift button and select Restart in the Windows sign-in screen.
  2. After Windows finishes booting, pick Troubleshoot from the Choose an option screen.

  1. Navigate to Advanced options.

  1. Open Startup Settings and select Restart.

  1. After rebooting, pick the preferred option.

  1. You can press 4 or F4 to open Windows in Safe Mode.
  2. You can press 5 or F5 to launch the PC in Safe Mode for Networking.

Restart Mac in Safe Mode

First, learn the type of your Mac to start it in Safe Mode. The following instructions are suitable for Macs with Apple silicon.

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the power button on your keyboard. Loading startup options should pop up.
  3. Pick a volume.

  1. Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and select Continue in Safe Mode.

  1. In Safe Mode on Mac, you should have internet access by default.

Start Android in Safe Mode

Note that guidelines for rebooting in Safe Mode might differ depending on your Android phone (manufacturer and model).

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. Tap and hold the Power Off option.

  1. Tap OK when the Reboot to Safe Mode message appears.
  2. After your device restarts, it will be in Safe Mode.

Boot iPhone in Safe Mode

Running an iPhone in Safe Mode can be a way to resolve issues caused by jailbreaking a device.

  1. Turn off your iPhone.
  2. Turn it back on by holding the power button.
  3. After the screen lights up, hold the volume down button until you see the Apple logo.

  1. Once the system reboots, it will be in Safe Mode.

How to turn off Safe Mode?

In most cases, it is enough to restart your device to return to your regular operating system. The other option is repeating the same steps you used to enable Safe Mode, like holding the power button.

Common issues you can solve or check in Safe Mode

Remember that Safe Mode does not fix issues automatically. Instead, it is an environment for diagnostics and finding culprits for problematic functionality. Nonetheless, here are some situations when Safe Mode can assist you:

  • No internet access without a particular reason. If computers get internet connection only in Safe Mode with Networking, third-party apps are the ones causing connectivity loss.
  • Check if the problem is with hardware or software. Essentially, if something works in Safe Mode, the problem is not within your hardware. Instead, software issues are the ones you should investigate.
  • Launch individual programs in Safe Mode. You can open specific programs in Safe Mode. For instance, if Outlook does not work, Microsoft has an option for starting it in Safe Mode.
  • Identify apps that make smartphones crash or freeze. A common route is removing recently installed apps through Safe Mode.
Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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