How to Restart a Samsung Galaxy S21 in Easy Steps (with Photos)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

How to Restart a Samsung Galaxy S21 in Easy Steps (with Photos)

If your Samsung S21 is lagging or freezing, restarting it usually fixes the problem. However, for new Samsung owners, it’s unclear how to restart a Samsung phone. It’s not exactly the same as other Samsung phones!

In this article, I’ll cover a few simple ways to restart the Samsung S21. Let’s get started!

Why Restart Your Samsung S21?

While the Samsung S21 can go for long periods without needing to restart, it’s a good idea to restart your phone from time to time manually. Restarting the phone clears the cache and memory, and reboots the operating system.

In short, it improves the performance of your phone. It’s one of the easiest ways to speed up a slow phone. Restarting your phone should be the first step of your troubleshooting process.

You also want to make sure your Samsung phone is running the latest firmware.

How to Manually Restart Samsung S21: Step-by-Step Guide

There are a few ways to manually restart the Samsung S21 and none of them require technical knowledge. The process is very straightforward.

Most Samsung phones have a side button that can be held down to open the power options. On the Samsung S21, the default function for the side key is to launch Bixby, a digital assistant.

Below is what you need to do to restart Samsung S21.

Method #1: Restart from the Quick Settings Panel

The easiest way to restart the Samsung S21 is through the Quick Settings panel.

To access Quick Settings, swipe down from the top of the screen and a few icons will appear, including Wi-Fi, volume, Bluetooth.

Swipe down once more to expand these options. Now, in the top right corner, you’ll see a power icon. Tap on it to open the Power Menu and select Restart.

how to restart samsung s21 android
Swipe down from the top of your phone’s screen twice, and tap on the Power icon.

Check out this informative video tutorial that walks you through the step-by-step process of restarting your device. Whether you’re facing a technical glitch or simply want to optimize performance, this video has you covered!

Method #2: Hold Down the Power Button (Side Key) and Volume Down

To manually restart Samsung S21, hold down the power button and the volume down key at the same time for a few seconds until the power options appear.

Tap on Restart and wait for your phone to reboot. When it powers back on, the performance should be much better.

Method 3: Force Restart (Soft Reset)

In some cases, the Samsung S21 can completely freeze and it won’t even open the power menu. When that happens, forcing a restart is your best bet. This is called a soft reset, and you can think of it as a virtual way of removing the battery.

To force restart your Samsung S21, hold down the side button and volume down button until the screen turns black. If the power menu appears, ignore it, and continue holding down the buttons. It usually takes about 7 seconds. You will know it works when the phone powers down. It will take a few seconds for it to turn on again.

Force restarting is an easy way to get out of apps that froze your phone. When your phone reboots, you can head to the App Settings and uninstall the app that was causing issues. The app likely was not malicious — chances are it was simply not compatible with your phone. It’s also a good idea to close all open apps to clear the memory.

For more details, read Samsung’s official soft reset guide here.

Method #4: Restart the S21 in Safe Mode

Speaking of problematic apps, another way to get back into your phone is to restart it in Safe mode. In Safe mode, only the system apps will run, allowing you to uninstall any suspicious apps. Some harmful apps can run in the background and consume most of your phone’s resources. Safe mode is one way to bypass those apps.

To restart an S21 in Safe mode, once again, hold down the power button and volume down button until the power options appear. Next, tap and hold the Power Off button. The Safe mode icon will appear, so tap on it to start the reboot process.

When it reboots, you can uninstall the app that was causing problems. Once you cleared out the problematic apps, normally restart your phone to enable all the functions and features. You should notice your phone is much faster now.

Method #5: Reboot to Recovery Mode

Another way to reboot your Samsung S21 is with Recovery Mode. To access Recovery Mode, your phone should be powered down and plugged into a charger.

Next, hold down the side button key and the Volume Up key at the same time, until the Samsung Galaxy logo appears.

Next, you should see a screen with several options in text. To navigate the menu, use the volume up and down keys and the side button to select the option you want. Most of the time, selecting Reboot System Now, the first option, does the trick. It will reboot your phone back to the Android operating system.

Helpful hint: If you suspect an app is causing problems, you can also choose the Repair Apps option.

Schedule Automatic Restarts on Your Samsung S21

Recently, Android added a feature where you can schedule an automatic restart. You can even set the hours you would like it to restart. It’s a handy feature and we highly recommend enabling it because it will keep your phone running smoothly.

To enable automatic restarts, open Settings, Battery and Device Care, and Auto Optimization. Enabling Auto Optimization will clear memory and also restart your phone during off hours. Toggle the switch for Restart When Needed. It doesn’t give you the option to schedule a restart, but it will only restart when your phone is not in use.

Auto Optimization on Android is a neat feature to use and it keeps your phone fresh. The setting is available on most Android phones — it’s not limited to the Samsung S21.

Another point to keep in mind is you may need to enter your passcode once the phone restarts. If your phone automatically restarts during the night, it might take you by surprise when your phone’s biometrics aren’t working when you wake up.

If you don’t like automatic restarts, you can always disable the feature.

restart samsung s21 android
You can schedule your Samsung to restart when needed whenever you’re not using your phone by toggling on this option.

Change Side Key Settings

Thankfully, Android released an update that lets you remap the side button to another function or even a shortcut to an app. Remapping the side button to your power options is highly recommended as it makes manually shutting down your phone a breeze.

The easiest way to remap the side key on an S21 is through the Quick Settings panel. Just swipe down from the top of the screen twice, tap the Power icon, and then tap on Side Key settings.

Under Press and Hold, change the option from Wake Bixby to Power off menu. Now, when you hold down the side button, the power menu will appear as it did with older Android phones.

Note: If you don’t see the power icon in the Quick Settings panel, you can also access the Side Key configuration from inside the Settings menu. It’s located in Advanced Features, and Side Key.

Another way to access the Side Key options is to hold down the side button and volume down simultaneously, as you did to open the power settings earlier. Below the power options, you’ll see a button labeled Side Key Settings.

Now, the next time you want to restart your S21, all you have to do is hold down the side button, and the Power Off options will appear. You also won’t have to worry about accidentally opening Bixby anymore!

restart samsung s21 android
You can turn on Power off menu so it pops up whenever you hold down the side key!

Bottom Line

While the S21 can run for long periods without issues, it’s still a good idea to restart it from time. There are a few different ways to restart your phone. The most practical would be through the Power Menu options. Forcing a restart is only recommended when your phone is completely frozen.

Of course, if restarting your phone doesn’t fix the sluggish performance, the problem could lie elsewhere. Performing a factory reset is a nuclear option for unresponsive phones, but it involves deleting all of your data. You may also want to contact Samsung for specific advice if none of these methods help out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I restart my S21?

Your phone may be frozen. Perform a soft reset by holding the volume down and the side button simultaneously for about 10 seconds, until the screen turns off.

Why is my phone stuck on the startup screen?

The most common cause for a phone stuck on the startup screen is it doesn’t have enough power to complete the boot sequence. Plug your phone into a charger and try starting it again.

Where is the Power Menu on the Samsung S21?

The power menu can be opened through the quick panel settings or by holding the side key and volume down key for a few seconds.

How do I unbind Bixby from side key?

Open Settings, Advanced Features, and Side Key. Configure the action you want for when the side key is double press or held down.

Why does my S21 keep restarting?

It may be stuck in an update loop. Try restarting it in safe mode or disabe Auto Optimizations.

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