How do I put my Samsung tablet in download mode?

What is Download Mode?

Download mode is a troubleshooting state built into Samsung devices like tablets that allows users to update firmware and install new operating system versions. It is accessed by pressing a combination of hardware buttons during bootup which triggers the download mode instead of the normal startup sequence.

According to Samsung’s support documentation, download mode “allows a user to upload new firmware to a device” (Tenorshare). This mode bypasses the standard Android firmware and boots directly into Samsung’s proprietary Odin mode. Once in download mode, special Odin software can be used on a computer to flash firmware files and OS upgrades to the tablet.

The key uses of download mode include:

  • Installing new Android OS versions
  • Recovering from software errors by reflashing firmware
  • Unbricking a device by reloading the OS after serious crashes
  • Sideloading early OS updates before over-the-air rollout
  • Flashing customized ROMs and kernels

Overall, download mode gives users more control over core system software on Samsung devices. It provides a safe direct path for applying firmware changes that can rescue devices from major software issues.

When to Use Download Mode on a Samsung Tablet

Download Mode has several key uses for Samsung tablets including:

  • Installing firmware updates – Download Mode is required to install major firmware/OS updates like Android 10, 11 etc. Using a tool like Odin you can install the firmware files in Download Mode. [1]
  • Recovery/unbricking a tablet – If your Samsung tablet is stuck on the startup screen, frozen, boot looping or bricked, Download Mode can be used to restore it. Flashing firmware via Odin in Download Mode lets you unbrick a Samsung tablet. [2]
  • Installing custom recoveries – To flash/install custom recoveries like TWRP, Download Mode allows you to overwrite the stock recovery partition. With custom recoveries you can root, install mods, backup device etc.
  • Sideloading OTA updates – If an over-the-air (OTA) update fails to install on your Samsung tablet, you can sideload the OTA file directly in Download Mode.
  • Accessing bootloader – Download Mode loads up the bootloader interface on Samsung tablets. From the bootloader you can access recovery mode, wipe cache partitions, reboot etc.

In summary, Download Mode gives you direct access to the Samsung tablet’s firmware for troubleshooting, installing updates, mods and more. It is an essential utility for developers and advanced users.

Preparing to Enter Download Mode

Before entering download mode, it is important to make sure your Samsung tablet is ready. Here are some tips for preparation:

Charge the battery over 30% – Entering download mode can sometimes drain battery faster, so make sure your tablet is decently charged before beginning.

Back up important data – Downloading new firmware can wipe your tablet, so be sure to back up any photos, documents, or other files you want to keep. Copy them to a computer or cloud storage.

Close all open apps – Download mode is designed for installing firmware updates. To avoid errors, close any apps running in the background before starting the download process.

Overall, some simple preparation steps like charging, backing up, and closing apps can help ensure a smooth download mode experience. With your Samsung tablet ready, you can then reliably enter download mode and install new firmware.

Entering Download Mode

Entering download mode on a Samsung tablet allows you to flash firmware updates or perform a factory reset. Here are the step-by-step instructions for entering download mode on specific Samsung tablet models:

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

To enter download mode on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S:

  1. Turn off your Galaxy Tab S.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together until you see the warning screen.
  3. Press the Volume Up button to continue and enter download mode.

The tablet will display “Downloading… Do not turn off target!!” when in download mode.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A

To put a Samsung Galaxy Tab A into download mode:

  1. Power off your Galaxy Tab A.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.
  3. When the warning screen appears, press Volume Up to continue.

You’ll see “Downloading…” on-screen when download mode is active.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Follow these steps to boot your Galaxy Tab S2 into download mode:

  1. Turn off the tablet completely.
  2. Simultaneously hold Volume Down + Home + Power.
  3. Release the keys when you see the warning screen and tap Volume Up to confirm.

The tablet will display “Downloading…” to indicate download mode is on.

Using Odin for Firmware Updates

Odin is Samsung’s own software tool used for installing firmware updates while the device is in download mode. It allows you to flash stock firmware images, packages that are in a .tar or .tar.md5 format. Odin provides an easy way to update your Samsung tablet’s software when it becomes stuck or bricked.

To use Odin for firmware updates:

  1. Download the latest version of Odin for Windows from Samsung’s website.
  2. Also download the appropriate firmware for your Samsung tablet model, usually from SamMobile.
  3. Extract the firmware file so you have a .tar or .tar.md5 file.
  4. Enter download mode on your tablet (see above).
  5. Connect your tablet to your PC via USB cable while it’s in download mode.
  6. Open the Odin program on your computer.
  7. Click the AP button in Odin and select the firmware file ending in .tar or .tar.md5.
  8. Check that the other boxes such as CP and CSC are empty.
  9. Click the Start button in Odin to begin the firmware flashing process.
  10. Wait for Odin to indicate “Pass” when done. This can take 5-10 minutes.
  11. Once finished, your tablet will reboot automatically.

Following these steps allows you to manually update your tablet’s software using the firmware files. Odin makes it easy to restore or upgrade even when the normal Software Update option fails.

Exiting Download Mode

Once you have completed firmware updates or other operations in Download Mode, you will want to exit Download Mode to restart your Samsung tablet into normal operation. Here are the step-by-step instructions for exiting Download Mode on Samsung tablets:

  1. With your Samsung tablet powered off, hold down the Volume Up, Home, and Power buttons simultaneously.
  2. Continue holding the buttons until you see the Android recovery screen appear.
  3. Use the Volume buttons to scroll to “Exit download mode” and press the Power button to select it.
  4. Your Samsung tablet will exit Download Mode and restart normally.

If your tablet gets stuck in Download Mode, you can try exiting it by forcing a reboot. Hold down the Power and Volume Down buttons for 10-15 seconds until the tablet powers off. Then, power it back on normally. This should boot your Samsung tablet out of Download Mode.

In some cases, you may need to perform a factory reset to fully exit Download Mode if the standard methods don’t work. Just be aware that factory resetting will erase all your tablet’s data.

Troubleshooting Download Mode

Download mode can get stuck or freeze, preventing you from installing updates or making changes to your Samsung tablet. Here are some solutions for troubleshooting common download mode issues:

If your Samsung tablet is stuck on the download mode screen, try holding down the Power and Volume Down buttons for 10-15 seconds to reboot it. This should force exit download mode.

Check that the USB cable you are using is not damaged and is properly connected between your tablet and computer. A faulty USB connection can cause download mode to freeze.

Make sure you have the proper drivers installed on your computer for your specific Samsung tablet model. Outdated or incorrect drivers may prevent your computer from properly communicating with the tablet in download mode.

Try using a different USB port on your computer. Some USB ports may not transfer data properly. Switch to another port if download mode is not working.

If the tablet is continuously booting into download mode, you may need to perform a factory reset. This will wipe the tablet and allow you to restart download mode correctly.

For stuck keys or unresponsive screens, refer to Samsung’s guided troubleshooting to diagnose and resolve hardware issues.

As a last resort, use the Smart Switch software to reinitialize your tablet firmware. This will erase all data but can fix software bugs causing download mode to freeze.

Download Mode Alternative Recovery Options

While Download Mode is useful for flashing firmware updates, there are a couple alternative boot modes that can also be helpful for troubleshooting Samsung devices:

Recovery Mode – This mode allows you to wipe cache partitions, perform factory resets, and install OTA updates. To enter recovery mode, power off the device and then hold Volume Up + Home + Power. Keep holding until the recovery menu appears.

ODIN Mode – Also called Download Mode, this allows connecting to Samsung’s ODIN software to flash firmware. To enter, power off and hold Volume Down + Home + Power until the warning screen appears.

So in summary, Recovery Mode is best for wiping and resetting devices, while Download/ODIN Mode is ideal for flashing major firmware updates. Both serve as alternatives to Download Mode for system maintenance and troubleshooting Samsung tablets or phones.

Pro Tips for Using Download Mode

Here are some expert tips for a smoother experience using Download Mode on your Samsung tablet:

Before entering Download Mode, install any necessary drivers for your tablet on your computer. Up-to-date USB drivers ensure proper communication between your tablet and computer when using Odin or other utilities in Download Mode. Check Samsung’s support site to find the latest USB drivers for your tablet model.

Use a high-quality USB cable designed for data transfer, not just charging. A cable made specifically for syncing and file transfer will provide a much more reliable connection in Download Mode compared to a basic charging cable.

Close all programs on your computer before entering Download Mode. Running apps can interfere with the connection between your tablet and computer. Shut down all unnecessary processes for the best experience.

If your tablet gets stuck in Download Mode, hold down the Power button for 10+ seconds to force a reboot. This should reset the tablet out of Download Mode.

When using Odin for firmware updates, follow all instructions carefully and do not disconnect the USB cable until the process completes. Patience is key for smooth firmware updates.

Back up your tablet’s data before making any firmware changes in case issues arise. Download Mode wipes data if you flash the wrong firmware files.

If you run into any problems in Download Mode, try using a different USB port or cable. Hardware issues often cause glitches.


In summary, Download Mode is a special maintenance state on Samsung tablets that allows you to install official firmware updates, apply repairs, and access recovery tools. It is most useful when you need to revive a soft-bricked or unresponsive device by installing the latest firmware.

The main steps to enter Download Mode are:

  1. Turn off the device completely.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together.
  3. Press Volume Up when prompted to continue.

Once in Download Mode, you can use the Odin tool on a PC to flash firmware files and get your tablet working again. It’s an essential rescue mode for Samsung devices.

Overall, Download Mode gives you the ability to recover and update system software on a Samsung tablet. Use it whenever you need to install official firmware or get a soft-bricked device functioning again.

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