What is Download/Odin Mode and How to Boot your Samsung Galaxy Device into it

Samsung Galaxy Download/Odin Mode

If you own an Android-powered Samsung Galaxy device and wish to flash the firmware on it through the Odin tool, you’d be required to enter Download Mode.

In this article, I will be covering everything you need to know about Download/Odin Mode on Samsung.

I will first start by helping you understand what Download Mode is and the part it plays when flashing Samsung Galaxy devices using Odin.

Then I will show you how to boot Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets into Download Mode by pressing a physical key combination or by using ADB commands. Further, we will also see how to manually exit Download Mode after flashing, or if your device is accidentally stuck in it.

Table of Contents

What is Download Mode in Samsung?

Download Mode, also known as Odin Mode, is a dedicated pre-boot mode on Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. It acts as an interface that allows a computer to communicate with the device when flashing firmware through Odin or Heimdall tools.

Here’s what Download Mode looks like on Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets:

Downlaod Mode on Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets

Let me try and help you understand when exactly you’d need to boot your device into Download Mode.

No Fastboot Mode on Samsung

Unlike a majority of OEM Android devices, Samsung smartphones and tablets lack the traditional Fastboot Mode, which is generally used for flashing firmware and partition image files. To put it simply, you cannot use the Fastboot Mode (and its corresponding commands) to flash your Galaxy device.

If you have been around the Android software modding scene, there’s a good chance that you know this already. I have already discussed this in the Samsung bootloader unlocking tutorial.

Enter, Download Mode

On Samsung devices, we have an alternative dedicated boot mode known as “Download Mode”. While in Download Mode, your device can interact with Samsung’s Odin tool to flash firmware or custom binaries. For the very same reason, Download Mode is also commonly known as “Odin Mode”.

Odin only works on Windows. If you’re operating on a macOS or Linux computer, you’d need to use Heimdall.

And Odin can be used for a variety of different purposes. You can use it to flash the official firmware for manually installing software updates, fix software issues like bootloops, flash custom recoveries (such as TWRP or Safetstrap) or Magisk patched firmware binaries for rooting, and much more.

So anytime you want to flash firmware or custom binaries using Odin (or Heimdall) tool, you’d need to boot your Samsung Galaxy device into Download Mode.

Download Mode for Bootloader Unlocking

There’s more. On more recent Samsung devices, the initial boot menu that is shown right before the Download Mode also plays a role in bootloader unlocking.

The said boot menu, which is also commonly known as the “Warning” screen, is used to enter Device Unlock Mode through which you can unlock the device’s bootloader (or relock it).

Role of Download Mode in unlocking bootloader on Samsung Galaxy

To sum up, Download Mode on Samsung plays a significant role when dealing with the software. If you’re venturing into software modding like Rooting, custom ROMs, etc, you’d need to enter Download Mode at some point.

But even as an average user, knowing about Download Mode and how to boot into it can be very useful in certain cases. Like manually upgrading the software, fixing software issues, and more.

How to Boot Samsung Galaxy into Download (Odin) Mode

By now you know what Download Mode is and what significance it plays. So, let’s move on and show you how to boot into it.

There are two ways to boot any Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet into Download Mode:

  • By pressing a combination of physical/hardware keys while the phone is turned off
  • By executing a simple ADB command from your computer with USB Debugging enabled on your device

Both these ways/methods will lead to the same result, that is, your Samsung device in Download Mode. You can choose one depending on your convenience and requirement.

Booting into Download Mode using Physical Keys Combination

This method of entering Download Mode is generally what you’d use in most cases.

While it is the easy one, it is worth noting that the physical key combination for Download Mode has changed a couple of times over the years. So the key combination you would need to use for your particular Galaxy device will be best judged by the hardware keys available on it.

1. Samsung Galaxy Devices with the Home key

Old Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets came with a dedicated “Home” key located towards the bottom of the body. Almost all devices launched in or before 2016 like the original 2011-launched Galaxy S all the way to the Galaxy S7 and Note 7 have a Home button.

Enter Download Mode on Samsung Galaxy Devices with the HOME Key

To enter Download Mode on Galaxy devices with the Home key:

  1. Power off your device first.
  2. Wait for a few seconds for the device to completely turn off.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Down, Home, and Power keys simultaneously.
  4. Release the keys when the blue-colored “Warning” screen appears.
  5. Press the Volume Up key to continue into Download Mode.

2. Samsung Galaxy Devices with the Bixby key

Starting from 2017, Samsung completely removed the bottom hardware navigation buttons (including the “Home” button) in favor of on-screen navigation. Moreover, the company went ahead and added a new hardware key to some of its devices known as the “Bixby key”. This had a direct impact on the Download Mode key combination.

Devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 9, and Galaxy S10 have a dedicated Bixby key.

Enter Download Mode on Samsung Galaxy Devices with the BIXBY Key

To enter Download Mode on Galaxy devices with the Bixby key:

  1. Power off your device first.
  2. Wait for a few seconds for the device to completely turn off.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Down, Bixby, and Power keys simultaneously.
  4. Release the keys when the blue-colored “Warning” screen appears.
  5. Press the Volume Up key to continue into Download Mode.

3. Samsung Galaxy Devices with Volume and Side (Power) keys

On more recent Galaxy smartphones and tablets, Samsung completely removed the Bixby key and integrated its functionality into the Power key, which we also refer to as the “Side Key” now.

Devices like the Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S21, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab A7, etc only have Volume and Side keys. For these devices as well, the key combination is different. But what’s even more interesting is that you will also need a computer and a USB cable to boot these devices into Download Mode.

Enter Download Mode on Samsung Galaxy Devices with the POWER/SIDE Key

To enter Download Mode on Galaxy devices with the Volume and Side (Power) keys:

  1. Power off your device first.
  2. Wait for a few seconds for the device to completely turn off.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up and Volume Down keys simultaneously.
  4. Connect your device to the computer via the USB cable while holding both the keys.
  5. Release the keys when the blue-colored “Warning” screen appears.
  6. Press the Volume Up key to continue into Download Mode.

Booting into Download Mode using ADB Commands

The second method to enter Download Mode on Samsung Galaxy devices is by issuing an ADB command from the command-line window on your computer (Windows, macOS, or Linux).

This method is extremely useful if your device’s hardware keys are acting up or not functioning at all. Moreover, it’s also a quick way to boot into Download Mode if you’re already operating with ADB.

To use this method, you will first need to install and set up ADB on your Windows, macOS, or Linux computer. Further, to establish a connection over ADB, you will need a compatible USB cable and enable USB debugging on your device.

To enter Download Mode using ADB commands:

  1. Connect your Galaxy device to your computer using the USB cable.
  2. Launch the command window in the Platform-Tools folder (where ADB is installed).
  3. Issue the following ADB command to ensure that your computer can communicate with your Galaxy device over ADB:
    • On Windows:
      .\adb devices
    • On macOS or Linux:
      ./adb devices
  4. Press “Allow” on your device if prompted to Allow USB Debugging.
    Enable USB Debugging on Samsung Galaxy to enter Download Mode using ADB
  5. Enter the following command to boot your Galaxy device into Download Mode:
    • On Windows:
      .\adb reboot download
    • On macOS or Linux:
      ./adb reboot download

As soon as the command is executed, your device will reboot and enter Download Mode.

How to Exit Download/Odin Mode on Samsung Galaxy Devices

So you have successfully booted your device into Download Mode, but how do you exit it?

In most cases, if you’re flashing through Odin (with the default settings), your device should automatically exit Download Mode and reboot into the OS after the flash is complete.

But, in case it does not do that or if your device has been accidentally stuck in Download Mode, then you can manually exit it quite easily. Moreover, while in Download Mode, you will see the instructions to exit it printed towards the bottom.

To exit Download Mode: Simply hold the Volume Down and Power/Side key for 7-10 seconds.

That’s it. After that, your device will automatically exit the mode and boot into the operating system.

Verdict

By now, you have learned everything about Download/Odin Mode on Samsung Galaxy devices. You know what it is, its uses, and the role it plays. You have also learned how to boot into Download Mode using two different methods, and how to exit it.

With your device in Download Mode, you can now use Odin to flash the stock firmware or custom binaries for installing TWRP, rooting, etc. For the former, you can download the latest official firmware for your particular device/model using Frija or Samloader tools.

If you have any questions regarding the mode, its usage, or need help, feel free to reach out to me through the comments.

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