BlackBerry 101: Safe Mode

Safe Mode on your BlackBerry
By Joseph Holder on 29 Apr 2011 12:18 pm EDT

or Help! A Theme (or application) has locked up my BlackBerry!

Neicy had a bad day. You see, she downloaded a new theme. It caused trouble, and locked up her BlackBerry. She couldn't delete the offending application. She couldn't use her BlackBerry. She was stuck at work in limbo. Several users offered advice, but it was to no avail. Thankfully, andyahs suggested Safe Mode on her BlackBerry.

Safe mode allows your BlackBerry to start without applications or themes; oddly enough, it is similar to safe mode on a Mac or Windows PC. The core functions of your phone are there: calls, messages, Bluetooth. Any applications that run in the background (Where's My PhoneSOTI Pocket Controlleret. al.) are not loaded. Once the phone is in in Safe Mode, Neicy can easily delete the application or theme causing the problem.

PRO TIP: Not sure what's causing all the ruckus? Remove your most recently installed application or theme first. If that doesn't fix things, move on to the next most recent.

To enter safe mode, you'll need to do a battery pull; though sometimes a soft reset (Alt - Right Shift - Del) will do the trick. Once the red light goes out, press and hold the Escape (back) key until the BlackBerry starts up. It's not needed to hold the key for the entire startup sequence, but do hold it down for at least a slow count of 10.

You'll get a message once the phone restarts, letting you know the phone is in safe mode. It will also display Safe Mode at the top of the screen. It's at this point that Neicy would be able to delete that bad theme (or application). Once that's done, all she (and you) needs to do is restart the phone with another reset or battery pull.

More to find... 

BlackBerry 101 - How to uninstall themes
BlackBerry 101: How to remove, delete, and uninstall apps from your BlackBerry
Installing applications on your BlackBerry Smartphone
BlackBerry 101 - Application permissions

Reader comments

BlackBerry 101: Safe Mode


Can Safe Mode be entered on a Storm-series device? If so, how, since there is no physical keyboard???

While it is true that the Storm series does not have a physical keyboard, that doesn't mean it has no physical keys.  As with all BlackBerry smartphones, the Storm has the Escape (back) key.  It looks like a sideways U-turn symbol.

Just when I thought I knew everything there is to know about the Blackberry... you throw this one at me. Great tip!

Used this to recover my own BB from the dreaded "Error 523 reset” this week and helped a few friends recover their BB's over the last few months.

One friend had never done a backup of his BB but I was able to recover it to Safe Mode so he could backup the data and then helped him to reload the OS.

This is one to keep in the utility belt Batman.

I cant get this to work on a Blackberry curve 8530.
I held in escape button during startup (with battery pull) but still no luck
It juswt boots into the same error message (error 5xx)

if anyone can help leme know

Awesome article!!! Safemode saved me:). I never knew about this feature and been a bb user for many years and never knew about this. Thanks CB family for sharing your knowledge :)

Now this is one great helpful tip that aids you with maintenance &care...just when you think you've known 'em all!!! ;)

Now this is one great helpful tip that aids you with maintenance &care...just when you think you've known 'em all!!! ;)

Awesome, thanks CB!! I did not know this, but I'm sure that I will find some use for this in the future (unfortunately).

This won't work for me. My Torch 9800 is locked into a permanent reboot cycle. Red light comes on and then off. Then the reboot cycle begins - gets half way and then starts over. Have tried everything like battery pulls and the above instructions. Nothing works. It all began after I recently installed 5 app upgrades all at once thru App World. Phone was running OS. I need to get into phone to rescue files and pics stored on the internal memory.