How to fix a phone that’s stuck in emergency mode

Is your cell phone stuck in Emergency Mode? Did your phone turn on but all you can see on the screen is “Emergency Mode!!”? Don’t panic! This article will explain some reasons as to why Emergency Mode popped up and better yet how to get out of the emergency mode and use your phone again.

Before we begin… this article explains what to do when a phone is stuck in “Emergency Mode” and is not intended to solve “Emergency calls only” as that is a whole other issue all together. So if your phone is getting an “Emergency calls only” error message than I suggest reading How to fix a cell phone that says Emergency Calls Only for the solution to that particular problem, otherwise keep reading and enjoy the article.

A common cause of the “Emergency Mode!!”

There are a few things that can trigger the Emergency Mode on a cell phone but often it is accessed by the cell phone user on accident.

On some Android cell phones you can access the “Emergency Mode!!” by pressing a series of key combinations while the phone is off.

For example, if you had an LG Optimus T (P509) and you held the Back button + Volume up key + Power button while the phone was off and not plugged into a charger then your phones screen would turn yellow and “Emergency Mode!!” would show in the center of the screen.

This can commonly pop up when attempting to perform a hard reset on an Android phone and it simply means that the wrong combination of keys was used when trying to access the factory reset screen.

A not so common but possible cause of the Emergency Mode

Check the physical buttons on your phone. As mentioned above, some phones allow you to access that Emergency Mode by pressing specific keys down while the phone is off. If the cell phone in question has some keys that are sticking or pressed down then this mode will pop up and you might not be able to close or get past this screen until the keys are functioning properly again. If the keys are stuck or pressed in then your phone might think that you are trying to access the Emergency Mode and is simply doing exactly what it thinks you want it to do.

So check your keys and make sure that they are responding properly, and if you are using a protective case for your phone make sure that the case isn’t causing any problems either. I recommend removing the phone from the case until you can get your cell phone out of Emergency Mode.

How to get the phone out of Emergency Mode

Standard battery pull

The first thing to try as it’s often the best solution to get your phone out of the Emergency Mode is to perform a battery pull on the device. Pull out the battery for about 30 sec to a minute and then re-insert the battery and then power the phone back on.

As long as no buttons are stuck then the phone should boot right up and be ready to use again, if not then keep reading as the next troubleshooting tip is often something overlooked and can be just the answer you’re looking for.

Battery pull trick #2

Remove the battery from your cell phone, then remove the SD card aka memory card from the phone. Note:  if your phone has a SIM card then leave your SIM card in the phone. Once the memory card is out of the phone leave it out of the phone and reinsert the battery and then power the phone on without the memory card.

If the cell phone powers on correctly then the fault lies in the SD card which might need to be replaced. If you need to replace your memory card or look into upgrading your SD card then I suggest reading How to choose the best memory card for a cell phone for some good tips and features that are often overlooked when picking an SD card. But I digress.

This trick can be a life saver when rescuing a phone stuck in Emergency Mode!! as it can not only save your current phone but prevents a possible replacement phone from doing the same thing as you won’t be placing a bad SD card into a replacement cell phone and having the same issue.

Simulated battery pull

If you cannot remove the battery from your phone, for example if the phone isn’t designed to remove the battery, then try simply powering the phone off with the power key, letting the phone sit for a minute and then booting the phone back on. If that doesn’t work for some reason, some phones that have non-removable batteries will often allow you to do a simulated battery pull which can sometimes fix stubborn issues like this.

Other causes for Emergency Mode

Recently flashed or rooted phones can sometimes (rare but sometimes) have this issue; usually right after installing the software onto the device. If this has happened to you and you cannot get past this Emergency Mode screen and into your cell phone and have already tried the suggestions already mentioned in this guide, and there is no evidence that there is something wrong with the buttons on the cell phone then you might need to try to access the phones boot loader and try to re-flash the software once again. This can be a software bug as the result of a bad installation and you might need to browse some rooting forums for the best fix for your current situation.


So if your cell phone is showing an “Emergency Mode!!” error or message then don’t forget to reboot your phone without the SD card just to make sure that it’s not an issue with the memory card itself. If this seems to happen on multiple memory cards then the phone itself might be the culprit and you may want to think about filing a warranty claim or looking into your other replacement options.

I hope that this has helped you to solve the annoying “Emergency Mode!!” problem on your cell phone. If you have any suggestions or would simply like to leave a friendly remark then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

If this guide was helpful in fixing your phone and getting it out of the Emergency Mode then let me know you liked the article by pressing the Facebook Like or Google Plus buttons or by sharing it through any of the other social networking sites below.

Thank you for visiting and reading, I hope that you found this article helpful, and don’t forget to have yourself an awesome day and to enjoy your working cell phone.

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21 thoughts on “How to fix a phone that’s stuck in emergency mode”

  1. how to fix being stuck in a call
    Hi, I’ve just found out how to fix being stuck with a call with a blank screen.

    I found that if I made a call where the other end didn’t hang-up (e.g. a voicemail) my phone screen would stay blank and not buttons did anything. The only way out was to pull the battery.

    I’ve since now found that you need to calibrate the proximity sensor. This is used to detect when the phone is close to your ear and blank the screen. My ThL W5 with V4.1.2 has a calibrate proximity sensor in the display settings menu. Otherwise there is an app on google play by ZTE, or possibly a dial code *983*0# that can help.

    1. Thank you J-P

      Hi J-P,

      That issue is a little different then when a phone gets stuck in Emergency Mode, but can be pretty annoying as well.

      Thanks for sharing what you found with others. I actually wrote an article about this exact problem a little over a year ago, and as you pointed out it is often an issue with the phones proximity sensor. If you like you can check it out at How to fix a phone that’s showing a black screen during or after phone calls, it goes over many ways to test your proximity sensor including using the Device Diagnostic Tool that is built into many Android smartphones which not only allows you to test the sensors but it can also allow you to check your speakers, touch screen, accelerometer (when you tilt your phone to the side) and many more phone features.

      Check it out though I think you’ll like it, and if you like special codes for your phone then you can also check out this list of Star Codes for smartphones. There are many cool codes that can help you test your phones features and even test your phones battery!

      In any case, thanks for visiting and contributing to the site.

  2. Thank you!
    The problem was the SD card on my particular phone. Thank you dearly for this article!! Saved me money as I now do not have to purchase a new phone.

    1. Samsung Galaxy S5 – stuck in emergency mode
      Hi Shannon

      Your tip helped!!! I’m so glad, I just bought the phone in December 2014 and was worried that I needed to replace it. To think a simple thing as an SD card error can cause sleepless nights… LOL

      Btw will I loose all the information on the SD card now, or can it be retrieved?

      Thanks again and God bless

  3. Don’t suppose you know how to remedy the LG Optimus Net?
    I have tried everything you have suggested but have no options to upgrade as I am lacking the funds. Is there anything else you can suggest to help?

    1. Trying to fix an LG Optimus stuck in Emergency Mode

      Hi Will,

      Sorry to hear about your cell phone. If you have tried every option above, including trying to flash your LG Optimus (which should help to rule out possible software issues) and you do not have the option to file a warranty claim, or an insurance claim (which often covers out of warranty by date, and of course physical and liquid damaged cell phones) or you don’t have the option of looking into a local repair shop (which can be more affordable then you might think), then the options that you have available are going to be very limited.

      Remember that if you are locked into a contract, you can call your wireless service provider and let them know that your phone isn’t working. You are after all paying for a service that you cannot use… Your wireless carrier might be able to get you into an early upgrade or at the very least get you an affordable phone that can hold you over until your upgrade eligible again.

      I have heard of a couple people in the same situation who, after having exhausted all other available options, actually removed the physical keys that boot the phone into Emergency Mode. The keys were defective and were being pressed into the cell phone causing it to do exactly what it was supposed to do when those keys are pressed and was booting the cell phone into the Emergency Mode.

      After actually removing the keys, (which would void the warranty if they still had one) they used a paperclip to press where the button(s) used to be and they were able to get their cell phone to start correctly again.

      They had to use a paperclip or other utensil to start their cell phones or use the keys that they had removed BUT they were able to at least use their smartphones again. This isn’t a guaranteed fix of course (and I don’t like the idea of suggesting to a person that they should try to physically remove pieces from their phone so I didn’t mention this in the article above) but if you are completely out of options I have seen it help a few people before. Just make sure to use this suggestion as a very last resort.

      Good luck Will. If you have any more questions or if there is anything else I can try and help you with just let me know.  

  4. my phone shows emergency mode
    hi, I have tried all the ways that u have suggested. But I am unable to use it again. My phone is LG OPTIMUS P500 AND P350. both shows emergency mode and after pressing the two buttons it shows lg name and screen becomes black. plz plz help me to resolve this problem………….

    1. Getting a smartphone out of Emergency mode can be a challenge

      Hey Satyam,

      Sometimes it can be really difficult to fix this issue and get a smartphone out of Emergency mode. Make sure to double check and review the guide and comments above just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything else that you might be able to try in order to resolve this issue. If you have tried ALL of the advice listed above and your smartphone refuses to get out of emergency mode then you may have to look into your replacement options.

      1. How does a service center load new software on mobile??
        Hi sir,

        I have a mobile named LG P500 which I bought two years ago. One morning when I woke up I saw that my mobile was showing the lg logo. When I switched on the mobile again and took out the battery again I tried your method but it didn’t start. I talked to the customer care and he told me to go to their service center that is not in my city and I can’t visit the service center right now. Can you plz give me some tips to load software on my mobile.

        Yours sincerely,


        1. Yeah you can do it yourself and avoid the trip

          Hello Satyam Kumar,

          You asked a very good question. The service center should have a computer that basically re-flashes the manufactures stock software to the phone and replaces the current software (which isn’t working properly) with a fresh installation.

          I try to avoid giving advice about rooting, flashing and installing custom or even stock software onto a phone but since you asked I don’t mind pointing you in the right direction.

          You can flash the phone yourself using a program like ODIN. You will need to download Odin off of the internet (it’s a free and very popular program). Then you will need to find the software to upload specifically for your LG P500, download that software to your PC, connect your cell phone to that computer and then use Odin to install that software to your cell phone.

          There are many tutorials online about how to use Odin to flash an Android so with a little research I am sure you can find the proper process for your cell phone and will be able to flash it yourself. Then you won’t have to drive all the way down to the service center to have them do it for you.

  5. emergency mode
    Hi I have a Samsung Galaxy and its stuck in emergency mode, I’ve tried all the tricks you’ve described but none worked. Now I’m trying to reboot my phone by holding down the volume n power button, now I see a green android and it says downloading do not turn off target. Please help me.

    1. I know it says not to but…

      Hi Michelle,

      I know that your phone says “do not turn off target” but if your Samsung Galaxy stays on that screen for more than a few minutes then go ahead and try to reboot it. If it won’t let you restart it with the power key then just soft reset it by pulling out the battery, waiting for a minute, reinsert the battery, power the phone back on, and see if it will boot up like it’s supposed to.

      If you’re Samsung Galaxy gets stuck on Safe Mode again then triple check those volume keys. I know I already mentioned it in the article above but when this continually happens it’s often a bad key that’s the culprit.

      So if you had a Samsung Galaxy S5 then you would start by looking at its Volume Down key as it and the Power key are the buttons used to access Safe Mode on an S5. But I digress, it sounds like you just activated the wrong feature on accident and that’s why it’s displaying that “downloading do not turn off target” message and a simple soft reset should get it off of that screen.

  6. Stuck at emergency mode since a firmware upgrade was interrupted
    Hi, Firstly thank you for your efforts in taking time out and helping people for no gain. The earth really need more people like you. I know these posts are very old but I have got into an exactly similar situation now in May 2015 so asking now. Hoping someone might be able to help. I am a newbie. No tech background or experience.

    Now my phone situation: I have an LG P705, lovely phone. Never Rooted. I was trying to upgrade it as per the option provided in my official LG PC Sync software. The upgrade process was from my current ICS to Jellybean. While the update was happening the phone went into emergency mode (full yellow screen with “emergency mode!!” written in the center). Then the upgrade stopped in between providing a popup saying something like “Can’t upgrade. Pull out battery, put back and then connect and retry” I cannot be exactly sure but something similar to that…

    I tried doing this but the phone is stuck at a yellow emergency mode screen. I tried all of above steps multiple times and also tried a hard reset, etc… nothing seems to work and the phone is still stuck at the yellow emergency mode screen. I cant root or do anything else as the phone is still on the same yellow screen. No logo, no black screen, no download screen, nothing, just a yellow emergency screen or power off. If I power the phone on then it brings up the yellow screen.

    The phone is out of warranty now and was working perfectly until now. No problems ever. Never rooted. No ROMs. No fancy stuff, nothing. The only thing I did was try to go for the official LG upgrade as suggested by the LG PC sync tool.

    Any idea how can I get into either of the following:
    – old ICS mode
    – or JB mode
    – or any other screen apart from emergency mode
    – I did some research on some forums and they all suggest rooting or boot loading, etc. but for all of them I need to be in some other screen or enable some debug option or something. All have some per-requisite. Nothing that can help me try something from the yellow emergency screen.
    – any idea, any suggestions, any one?

    Thanks for your help in reading this.

    LG P705 (Love my phone and want to get it back alive)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing
    Thank you so much for sharing! My phone was in my back pocket working all normally and when I pulled it out it turned off. So I turned it on and the screen was bright yellow and it said “Emergency Mode!!” I removed the battery and SD card and everything was normal again. Thank you so much for sharing!! 😀

  8. P705
    I upgrade via LG PC suite and it all went well. I even got to a screen saying Upgrade complete on the pc. When I clicked ok the phone restarted but never reached the screen for a pin or password, just a clear white screen.When I went to rollback on the pc suite it says that the screen is locked. I cant unlock it because I can see nothing on the screen. Please help.

    1. That is not a fun situation to be in

      Hi Percy,

      Sorry to hear that your LG is having issues. I would start out as simple as you can and begin by trying to restart your phone, if you cannot get past that white screen then it sounds like your phones Operating System likely malfunctioned (probably due to an issue that occurred with the software update) and fixing your phone might be a bit of a challenge.

      If your phone seems to boot up and is simply caught on a white screen (which you feel should/would be the lock screen if your phone was working as it should) then try giving the phone a call. You should still hear a call come through despite the screen being locked. If the call comes through then it’s a problem with the display if not then your phone is not likely starting up properly which may indicate an issue with the phones Operating System.

      If this is the case you might even go as far as contacting LG directly to see if there is anything that you can do to get the phone to boot up properly using LG’s PC suite (or other software that they might have available for such problems).

      If you have already spoken with LG or are looking for another solution you might get lucky with the advice listed HERE as it lists some tips that you might be able to use in order to troubleshoot a phone that won’t turn on properly.

  9. Galaxy s5 stuck in emergency mode
    My S5 is stuck in a strange mode. I can call and text and even use the internet but my email function nor any other apps are visible. Also, settings is very limited and I only have access under settings to: Wifi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, mobile networks, location, Sound, and display. Nothing will let me turn off this mode I am in (black and white screen). I have tried taking out battery, safe mode, Samsung customer service (joke!), and my service provider. Nobody can help.

  10. Cant pull battery on Huawei Mate 2
    I am stuck in the emergency call safe mode I cant pull the battery on this phone and I have no idea where the sim card is I don’t think I can pull that either so what can I do?

  11. Emergency Calls only
    Thank you very much for your help. My issue was emergency calls only but had total access to the internet and all apps. I removed the battery and SD card, replaced the battery and powered it on. Everything worked as normally and I was able to make a call. Powered it off and put SD card back in, still works. Thanks again. I still may get a new SD card, storage isn’t even near full though.

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