How To: Load Samsung Captivate into Recovery and Download Modes

This isn’t typically my type of thing, but I wanted to compile some instructions for putting Samsung Captivate (often confused with the Galaxy S) into various useful states to allow you fix problems or modify your Android device.  I haven’t seen this all in one useful list, and most of the info our on the web did not actually work for my phone.  So here is the complete list and it works, at least on my device.

Safe Mode

I assume this is supposed to be analogous to Safe Mode on your CPU.  Truth be told, I have no idea what it does on Android.  I’ve tried several experiments to test what it does, and as far as I can tell, the answer is basically nothing.  All normal start-up programs and functions run in Safe Mode.

  1. Hold down the MENU button and the HOME button on the touchscreen.
  2. Press and release the POWER button to turn on the phone.
  3. Tap the MENU and HOME buttons simultaneously about once a second for the remainder of the boot process.
  4. You should see SAFE MODE in the bottom left of the screen.  Congratulations, you’ve accomplished nothing.

Download Mode

This mode IS useful for loading new ROMs and such onto your phone.

  1. Remove the battery from the phone.
  2. Connect the phone via USB to a computer.
  3. Hold Volume Up and Volume Down buttons simultaneously.
  4. Re-insert the battery.  (Do not push the POWER button.)
  5. You should see Download Mode displayed on the screen immediately.  Well done.  It only gets harder after this.
You have to be very careful what you do with this info.  You can very easily put your phone into a state where it will not function anymore.  Don’t blame me when you do that.

Recovery Mode

This is how I reset my bricked phone.  Recovery Mode is useful to reset you phone, clear the memory, and reformat the internal SD card.

  1. Turn off the phone.
  2. Hold Volume Up and Volume Down buttons simultaneously.
  3. Press and hold the POWER button.
  4. Release all three buttons in about 3-4 seconds once the first screen lights up.
  5. Your phone will load into Recovery Mode within about 15 seconds max.

You also have to be careful about erasing all your data.  This doesn’t always work.  After deleting all data and resetting my phone, my apps and settings were lost, but my personal photos and app files were all still present.  I wrote more about that here.

Now that you can get into these modes, what to do?  This guy does a nice job of explaining your options in simple terms.

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: A Lesson in Futility; A Lesson in Persistence « The Proteus Experiment

  2. Jose

    Safe mode is important when you install an app that’s making the system unstable, on safe mode Android stops those apps causing troubles and you got the chance to uninstall them.

    7 December 2013 at 8:46 pm

  3. Sam


    10 April 2014 at 5:00 pm

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