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What is Android recovery mode and how to use it

Enter Android recovery mode with confidence! Learn, troubleshoot, and revamp your device effortlessly.

Published onMay 31, 2023

Navigating your Android smartphone can be an adventure with pleasant and unexpected surprises. Occasionally, you may stumble upon a software nag and may need to factory reset your device. Or perhaps you’re a tech enthusiast eager to experiment with custom ROMs or rooting your device. Either way, you’ll need to know how to access recovery mode on your Android device. Here’s how to open recovery mode, what you can do in recovery mode, and how to exit recovery mode on Samsung, Google Pixel, and Motorola phones.


Recovery mode is a mode for Android primarily used for installing updates or wiping data, often needed when your device is stuck in a boot loop or infected with malware. Accessing recovery mode generally involves holding down the Power and Volume Up buttons at the same time.


What is Android recovery mode?

Android recovery mode is a unique startup mode available in all Android devices that provide a set of tools for diagnosing and resolving issues that cannot be addressed from within the operating system. This mode is typically used to perform system updates, factory resets, or install custom ROMs.

Commonly used for troubleshooting and maintenance, the recovery mode provides options like wiping data/factory reset, clearing cache partition, applying updates from ABD or SD cards, and more. In essence, recovery mode serves as a separate bootable partition that is essential for performing system-level tasks and making changes to the Android system’s file system.

How to boot your Android device into recovery mode

While most Android devices follow the process of holding the Power and Volume Down buttons to enter recovery mode, there are variations among manufacturers. We will cover the procedures for Samsung, Pixel, and Motorola smartphones.

Samsung Smartphones

  1. Turn off your Samsung device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up and the Power button simultaneously until the Samsung logo appears.
  3. Release all buttons when the device vibrates once. The Android recovery mode menu should now appear.

Pixel Smartphones

  1. Turn off your Pixel phone.
  2. Once the screen goes black, press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons together until you see the bootloader screen appear.
  3. Use the Volume keys button to navigate to the Recovery Mode option and use the Power button to select it.

Motorola Smartphones

  1. Power off your Motorola device.
  2. Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons for a few seconds until the bootloader appears.
  3. Use the Volume buttons to navigate to the Recovery option and select it using the Power button.

How to use Android recovery mode

Recovery mode offers several options for troubleshooting and device management. Let’s explore each function:

  • Reboot system now: This option allows you to exit the recovery mode without making any changes.
  • Apply update from ADB: This enables the installation of updates or custom ROMs via Android Debug Bridge (ADB) from your computer.
  • Wipe data/factory reset: This performs a factory reset, wiping all data and restoring your device to its original factory settings. It’s a handy feature when your device isn’t functioning correctly or before you give away or sell your device.
  • Wipe cache partition: This deletes temporary files that can be safely removed without losing any important data. It’s typically used to free up storage or troubleshoot problems caused by corrupted files.
  • Apply update from SD card: If you have an update file or a custom ROM on your SD card, you can use this option to install it.

How to exit recovery mode on Android

To exit recovery mode on Samsung, Google Pixel, or Motorola devices, navigate to the Reboot system now option using the Volume buttons for navigation and select it using the Power button.


To exit recovery mode, use the volume buttons to navigate to the “Reboot system now” option, then press the power button to select it. Your phone will then reboot back into normal operation.

Rebooting to recovery mode refers to restarting your Android device into a special mode (Recovery Mode) designed for troubleshooting and system updates. It’s a separate partition in the device’s memory that contains a lightweight Android OS version different from the main operating system. You can perform tasks like factory resets, clearing cache, or updating software.

No, entering Android recovery mode itself does not erase everything. It’s a troubleshooting interface with various options, one of which is Factory Reset. If you select the Factory Reset option, then yes, all data will be erased. But simply entering recovery mode will not erase anything.

Turn off your Samsung device. Then press and hold the Power and Volume Up buttons simultaneously. For older models (S10, Note 10, and older), press and hold the Power, Volume Up, and Bixby/Home buttons simultaneously. Release all buttons when the Samsung logo appears. The recovery mode menu should now appear.

If your device’s power button is not functioning, you can use ADB (Android Debug Bridge) commands to boot into recovery mode. You’ll need a computer with ADB installed and a USB cable to connect your phone to the computer to do this. Once connected, open a command prompt or terminal window and type the command: “adb reboot recovery.” Your phone should reboot into recovery mode.

Note: You must enable USB debugging on your phone for this method to work.

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