The last thing an Android user wants to deal with is malware. Unfortunately, many of us will have to fight off a malware infection at some point in our lives. It’s scary but true.
Today, I’m going to show you how easy it is to remove malware – even dangerous malware like ransomware – using Android’s built-in Safe Mode.
What is Android Safe Mode?
Android Safe Mode is similar to Windows Safe Mode. In both modes, all third-party apps are disabled and only essential Android/Windows functions are allowed to run.
Why is Android Safe Mode Important?
Many Android viruses are smart when they attack your phone: they prevent you from accessing the Google Play Store, for example, which means you can’t download anti-malware apps.
Some even prevent you from opening your browser window or a Google Search bar, which means you can’t Google a solution to your problem.
Safe Mode is also important because more and more Android users are being exposed to ransomware viruses. These viruses boot up as soon as you start your phone and prevent you from accessing any of the phone’s essential functions (although these viruses typically require root access).
When you boot into Safe Mode, you automatically disable these apps, which means you can get around their defenses and disable them just like you would disable any Android app.
How to Reboot into Safe Mode
To reboot into Android safe mode, shut down your device as you normally would by holding the power button. Then, once the menu asks what you’d like to do (Power Off or Restart), long-press the Power Off button. You’ll see a new pop up asking if you want to Reboot to safe mode. Tap OK, and guess what! Your device will then boot into safe mode.
Note: the above steps don’t work for all Android devices. If it doesn’t work, then follow the steps below, which work for virtually every Android device:
Step 1) Power off your Android
Step 2) Press and hold the volume down button and the power button simultaneously when you turn on your Android. Once you see the screen light up, you can release the power button (but you should not release the volume down button).
Step 3) Continue holding the volume down button until you get to the lock screen, at which point you should notice the safe mode icon in the bottom left corner of your screen.
What To Do Once you’re in Safe Mode
Booting into Safe Mode is kind of like rooting your phone for the first time: you reboot into the same home screen and everything looks pretty much the same.
However, you’ll know you’re in safe mode because there will be a Safe mode text icon in the bottom left corner of your screen. You can double check that you’re in Safe Mode by opening your app drawer. You should see plenty of apps missing (they will be greyed out).
Now the fun starts: you can open your Application Manager and start to uninstall any problematic apps just like you would normally uninstall those apps.
Once you’re done removing those apps, just reboot the device as you normally would and it will start up in safe mode.
Using the steps listed above, you can easily fix 95% of Android malware problems.