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Nokia Phone Stuck in Download Mode? Here’s the Fix!

On Android-powered Nokia smartphones, the Download mode is equivalent to the Fastboot mode on other Android devices. You can flash firmware updates on Nokia devices using the OST Tool. If your Nokia phone is stuck in the Download mode with the Android One logo after the official OTA update or for some other reason, here is a solution to fix the Download mode problem.

Being powered by the stock Android, most Nokia phones receive regular OS and security patch updates. Since new software updates bring new features, performance improvements, bug fixes, and security enhancements, most users tend to install the OTA. Just imagine, you get a system update notification and you download it in a hope that installing it will make your phone better. When the update is downloaded, you are prompted to reboot your device to install it. It is at this point that something horrible happens and you start regretting it. A number of Nokia 6/6.1/6.1 Plus and Nokia 7 Plus/ 7.1 users ended up with a phone stuck in the Download mode after a software update.

nokia system update

Nokia software update download


It’s really unfortunate that installing an official software update causes the Download mode problem on Nokia devices. The first time I ever heard about this issue when a friend of mine who owns a Nokia 6.1 Plus knocked at my door a few months ago. Since I hadn’t any experience with Nokia Android phones, I started looking for a Nokia Download mode fix to solve his problem. Having tried several things, I was finally able to get out of the Download mode on his Nokia 6.1 Plus.

What is the Download mode in Nokia phones?

If you have ever used a Samsung Galaxy device, you must be familiar with the Odin or Download mode. This mode lets users flash stock firmware using the Odin flash tool. You can boot your Nokia phone into the Download mode by connecting the device to PC via a USB cable and pressing and holding the Volume down + Power keys simultaneously for 2-4 seconds.

nokia download mode

Download Mode on Nokia

While some Nokia devices come with a regular Fastboot mode, most Nokia phones have a Download mode that works like the Bootloader or Fastboot mode. The Download mode on Nokia Android phones functions like a gateway to facilitate firmware installation, erase user data, remove Firmware Reset Protection, and backup NV data.

Besides, the Nokia Download mode also lets you use fastboot commands to flash files. One of the solutions to fix the Nokia phones stuck in the Download mode involves using Fastboot commands to change the current slot. Since the Nokia 8.1 and Nokia 9 PureView don’t support changing slots, this method may not work with them. You may get FAILED (remote: Slot Change is not allowed in Lock State) issues on such phones.

Fixing the Nokia Download Mode Problem

As I told you above, I tested the methods described below on Nokia 6.1 only but it should work on other phones as well. If your Nokia phone is stuck in the Download mode after an official software update, here’re 4 possible fixes for you. We would start from the easiest method to the more complicated ones. You might find the first 2 workarounds a bit funny but believe me, they have worked for some people.

Method 1: Hold the Power Key

I have read about some funny incidents on the Nokia community forums. A Nokia 7 user ignorantly got into the Download mode and since he didn’t know how to get out of it, he panicked. I don’t mean to imply that yours is the same case, but I’ll still mention it below. Maybe it helps some not-so-techie person.

If you are one who booted his device by mistake, you can exit the Download mode on Nokia devices by holding the Power button for 10-15 seconds. Your phone should reboot normally if it didn’t get stuck in the Download mode due to a system upgrade.

Method 2: Let the Phone’s Battery Drain

Holding the Power button didn’t help you? Don’t worry, here’s another easy thing to try. Just do nothing!! That’s to say, just leave your phone for a few hours until it drains out all battery juice by itself. When your Nokia phone turns off, plug in the charging cable and wait until it charges up to 30%. After that power on your device to check if you are able to get

Method 3: Perform a Factory Reset via Recovery

Warning: As I already warned above, the following 2 methods described below to fix the Download mode problem on Nokia devices demand more time and effort. Not just that, they will wipe installed apps and all data (photos, videos, call logs, text messages, etc.) stored on the internal storage as well as reset the device to the factory state. Please, proceed carefully.

If the above-mentioned simple suggestions to fix the Nokia Download mode problem didn’t help you at all, maybe the solution lies in wiping and resetting your device.

  1. Power off your Nokia smartphone.
  2. Connect the device to a charger. When you see the battery charging animation on the screen, press and hold the Volume Up + Power buttons at the same time.
  3. When you see the Android or Android One logo, release the Power button but keep the Volume Up key pressed.
  4. Within a few seconds, your Nokia device will be booted into Recovery mode.
  5. Don’t panic if you see a ‘No Command” screen with a dead Android robot.
  6. Just press and hold the Volume Up and Power keys together for a few seconds. On some Nokia phones, you need to press the fingerprint sensor as well with the Power and Volume up keys.
  7. You should then see the Android Recovery menu on your Nokia phone.

    recovery menu on nokia

    Nokia recovery mode menu

  8. Since the Recovery mode doesn’t support touch, you’ll have to use the Volume up and down keys to navigate the menu and the Power key to select an option. Go to Wipe data/factory reset option and select it.
  9. Now highlight the yes option and select it.
  10. When your phone has been wiped, go back to the main menu and select the Reboot system now option.

Nokia device should get out of the Download mode now. If it still goes back to the Download mode screen, try the next method.

Method 4: Change Active Slot using Fastboot Commands

This is the most effective workaround to fix a Nokia phone that is stuck in the Download mode. Android devices have two system partitions that are also known as slots: system_a and system_b. The A/B partition system on some Nokia devices may misbehave sometimes and result in the Download mode problem.

At one time, only one partition or slot is active and that is called the current slot. Whether you install a major OTA update (Android 8 to 9, for example) or just a security patch update, the A and B slots keep changing before and after the update on the same device. I made an image to simplify things for your understanding.

current active partition

Current active slot before and after software update

Thus, when you install a software update via OTA, the update patches the inactive slot on the system. If an update fails, the Android device rolls back to the slot that still has the working build of the OS version along with the user data stored on it. However, in case your device is unable to switch to the inactive slot after installing the software update, it won’t boot normally.

Having understood the function and behavior of the A/B partition or slot, let’s proceed to the actual drill to fix the Download mode problem on Nokia phones. Since your phone is stuck in the download mode, it can respond to Fastboot commands.

  1. Download the latest Android SDK Platform-tools on your computer and set up ADB and Fastboot.
  2. Download and install Nokia USB driver on your Windows PC. Don’t forget to restart your computer after the installation.
  3. Connect your Nokia phone to the computer using the genuine USB cable to avoid any connectivity issues.
  4. Now open the folder that contains the ADB and Fastboot files. Type “cmd” in the folder address bar and hit the Enter key to launch a command prompt window.

    launch command window

    type cmd to launch the command prompt

  5. To check that your Nokia device is properly connected to the PC, type the following command and press the Enter key.fastboot devices command
    fastboot devices
  6. You will get an alphanumeric string or serial number representing your connected device. In case you don’t get the expected output, try the following things:
    • Disconnect the USB cable and connect it again
    • Try a different USB port
    • Re-install the USB driver
  7. Anyway, now execute the following command to reboot the Download or Fastboot mode.
    fastboot reboot
  8. Your Nokia device will reboot into the Download mode again. According to some users, their phones booted normally after the above step. If you aren’t as lucky as they were, find out the current active partition or slot on your Nokia device.
    fastboot getvar current-slot

    fastboot getvar current-slot command

    fastboot getvar current-slot
  9. If the currently active slot on your Nokia phone is B (current-slot: b), type the following command and hit the Enter key to set the slot to A.
    fastboot --set-active=a
  10. In the same way, if the currently active slot of your device is A, change it to B using this command.
    fastboot --set-active=b
  11. It’s time now to reboot your phone using the command given below.
    fastboot reboot
  12. Your phone will reboot to the Recovery mode with a warning: “Can’t load Android system. Your data may be corrupt. If you continue to get this message, you may need to perform a factory data reset and erase all user data stored on the recovery wipe data option
  13. Ignore that warning message and highlight the Factory data reset option using the Volume down key and press the Power button to select it.
  14. On the next screen, you’ll be prompted to confirm the reset. Select yes and confirm.

Now, wait for your device to reboot. If it boots up normally, you’ll be greeted by the welcome setup screen. In case your phone still enters the Download mode try pressing the Power key for about 15 seconds.

Method 5: Flash Stock ROM with Nokia OST Tool

Well, we have already tried many things to fix the Nokia phone stuck in the Download mode. As a last resort, you can download the stock Nokia ROM for your Nokia device and flash it using the Nokia Online Service tool. Don’t forget to select the Erase user data option in the tool.

I am really not sure which of the 5 methods mentioned above will help you fix the Download mode problem on your device. It depends, you know. If nothing helps, visiting a Nokia Care center is the only hope you are left with. Good luck!


1 thought on “Nokia Phone Stuck in Download Mode? Here’s the Fix!”

  1. in my nokia 8 , whenever i tried to change the active slot it says FAILED (remote: Slot Change is not allowed in Lock State
    now what should i do ???

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