Possible fix: Nokia smartphone stuck on Download mode after OTA update

Fix Nokia phone on Download Mode

A number of Nokia users have reported at Nokia Community, Reddit and other places that their smartphone is stuck on Download Mode. For most of the users, it happened after the smartphone downloaded a software update and asked for a restart. I have engaged with users over the past few months, and there’s one solution which worked for a lot of them.

Warnings first, the fix discussed in this article will erase your userdata (apps, photos, videos, and other media). So, try it only after you have tried everything else and the device still does not start up.

Tested devices: I have tested this on a few phones and I have achieved about 80% success. I have tested it on: Nokia 6.1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 7.1. It will work on other Qualcomm powered Nokia phones to except for Nokia 8.1 and Nokia 9 Pureview which restrict slot change.

Pre-test: Try a force reboot

Just to double check that your device is affected and not just entered download mode as an exception, try to force restart it:

  • Press and hold Volume Up & Power (lock) buttons together for about 14 seconds

The phone will reboot and should start normally. You are good to go if it works.

Procedure: Change the active slot to the inactive one

  1. Download and install Nokia USB Drivers on your Windows PC.
  2. Download Minimal ADB and fastboot to communicate with the device in download (fastboot) mode.
  3. Connect the phone to the PC using a USB cable.
  4. Open the minimal ADB and fastboot folder and run “cmd-here.exe”. It will open the Windows Command Processor.
  5. Check that your phone shows up by typing:
    fastboot devices
    The expected response is your device’s serial number followed by the term fastboot.
    If you get an empty response, then your device is not detected. Please check the drivers.
  6. One more test, reboot the phone. As per a comment (below), this fixed a Nokia 7.1 without any loss of data. Type the following and press Enter.
    fastboot reboot
    Your device will either start up or come back to download mode. Good if it starts up, else continue the steps below.
  7. Now check your current boot slot, type:
    fastboot getvar current-slot
  8. Change to the inactive slot. If your current slot (previous command) is a, then run the following command:
    fastboot --set-active=b
    If your active slot is b, then run the following command:
    fastboot --set-active=a
    Some phones use the underscore “_” prefix for the slots. In that case, modify the above commands with the underscore. For example fastboot –set-active=_b
  9. Reboot the phone using the fastboot command:
    fastboot reboot
  10. Your phone will show 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 device.
    Nokia 6.1 Plus cannot load system
  11. Use volume keys to highlight “Factory data reset”. Then press the power key to select it. Select yes on the next screen to confirm the data wipe.

If you are lucky, then your phone will start up normally after the reset.

In case the fix does not work, then you need to send the phone to Nokia care for service.

Alternatively, you can try with a remote software flashing service which should cut down any chance of the issue being related to software.


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  • Worked for nokia 7 plus, just as for keylan below.
    My phone had put itself in download mode and then connected to stereo via bluetooth, which somehow made downloadmode stuck.

    I went on to install fastboot and adb on ubuntu on ubuntu:

    sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot
    just run above commands as sudo.


  • Amigos me ajudem, ja instalei o drive usb, na reconhece, quando baixo outro drive da erro na instalaçao do mesmo, fala sem acesso, o que fazer?

  • This worked brilliantly and since the phone backs up the data constantly I did not even experience significant data loss.
    Thank you so much

  • Worked for Nokia 7 plus.
    I went for ‘Try again’ option instead of Factory reset @step11

    I took a while to boot to OS, but everything is fine now.

  • Thank you Narender Singh for this, brilliant! I was able to get my Nokia 6.1-Plus phone out of “Download mode” and working again. In Step 10, I did “Try again” before doing the “Factory data reset”, and it worked! That is, the phone restarted and I did not lose any data. It was slow in rebooting (on both the initial androidone and the Nokia screens), so you may have to be patient to give it a chance. I mention this because it could save you a total wipe-out of your data.

  • Good evening, whenever I try to change the slot, it gives the error message stating that Slot Change is not allowed in Lock State. Was anyone able to find a way around that?

    • Hi, which phone do you have? The Nokia 8, 8.1 and 9 will not support the slot change AFAIK. Mostly only the SDM_660 base devices will work.

      • I see, my phone is indeed Nokia 8. Seems like the only option left is to send it back to the manufacturer. Thank you for your response

  • All I keep getting is “reboot is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file”. So not even got past “reboot devices”!!!!!!!!
    Downloaded all the necessary and followed instructions to the letter, bloody irritating!!!!

  • This was awesome, managed to restore my daughter´s phone without any data loss.It just started normally after phase 9. Thousand Thanks!

  • I am very happy and totally grateful with the support, he did a great job, totally recommended, fixed my NOKIA 7.1 as was stuck on Download Mode for days,

    Thank You and Regards

  • Hi
    Thank you
    I reset port to b and phone asked for reset, I tried to reset port back to a instead of reset and the phone fired up ok, this saved my data
    Thank you

  • I am trying this for Nokia X2 Rm-1013 and after
    fastboot getvar current-slot
    it shows no slot
    and when i type
    fastboot –set-active=b
    it says “device does not support slots”

  • At step 10 I switched the phone off and on again without doing a Factory Reset – this then booted the phone up correctly without any loss of data. I suspect that this isn’t relevant but I did not have a SIM card in at the time as I had moved it to another phone.

  • Today i’ve fixed my Nokia 7 Plus. With the help of Narender Singh we found out that you’ve to be aware that you use ONLY ORIGINAL NOKIA CABLE!!!!

    My phone is working again. Other option was to do buy the flash option what probably would have fix it as well as long as the phone connects with the pc!!

    • Hi,
      I have the same model, but in my case, the pc recognize there is an Android connected to it, but the adb/fastboot commands do not recognize any devices. Should it work with any Nokia cable then?

      Thanks in advance 🙂

  • My andriof nokia.1 hang and not getting start it shows down load mode, after pressing both button not getting start, please get me know how to restart my nokia 6.1

    • Hi,
      I have the same model, but in my case, the pc recognize there is an Android connected to it, but the adb/fastboot commands do not recognize any devices. Any tips on how you did it?

      Thanks in advance 🙂

  • First off Narender Singh is wonderful. He was able to fix my download mode NOKIA 7.1 problem for $8usd dollars. Amazing. It is as good as new, and I will stop auto updates of the Android system. He was so very helpful. Forget all fo the other fixes, THEY DO NOT WORK. The Nokia 7.1 is just prone to this problem and until NOKIA, although they state it is Androids problem, and Android find a solution to this, they phone will continue to have problems. So use the service of Narender to solve the problem. BRAVO and thanks.

  • FYI – I followed these instructions for a Nokia 6.1 (see anonymous helper’s link to drivers below from Aug 5…no others I found worked)

    But, when I got to the step to choose factory reset, I instead just chose “try again” phone started up fine with NO DATA LOSS.

    Literally just finished, so we’ll see if it fixes permanently, but at least promising.

    • Can confirm that selecting Try Again instead of doing the wipe fixed my coworker’s Nokia 7.1. We switched from slot “b” to “a”, got the “Can’t load Android system” screen, pushed the power button once to confirm “Try Again”, and the phone booted again! All data intact.

      Thanks for your write up! You made someone very happy today. 🙂

      • Thanks, J for the alternate fix without data loss and Mike for confirming the fix. I was able to fix my grandfather’s Nokia 6.1 by doing the steps provided. Hopefully, it turns out to be permanent.

  • Got the same after July 1, 2019 update.

    Changing slots works to access the recovery mode, but once I’ve selected “Factory data reset” it’s quickly going into a continuous boot loop and then DM again :-/

  • first i want to thanks for this post, It has been worked after installing Minimum ADB and fastboot, after that follow the steps which has been listed.

  • Hi,
    I have tried “fastboot” but my phone did not showed up. I then tried “fastboot reboot” but then also I was not able to recover my phone. I have did some research and in one of the nokia community forums the moderator said that Nokia Phones do not need USB Drivers as they are native to Windows 10. My phone is nokia 7 plus. Your comments are mainly of nokia 7.1 or 6.1 plus. Please help me.
    I do not want to loose data.

    • I had to finally perform all the steps since I was not getting any response from you or maybe this was not right time to contact you. And for the first time I could see NOKIA logo and the welcome sound on the phone rather download mode and android one logo. Oh! it is so relieving to hear this sound as I thought I was loosing more than just the data.
      I lost all my precious data but I still would like to why and how this happened.
      Please enlighten me.

  • Thanks, worked fine, shame I lost my data.

    At step 9 I needed to do
    fastboot reboot emergency
    to get to recovery screen at step 10

    It might be that fastboot reboot emergency was all that was needed.

  • My Nokia 6.1 plus is in download mode and couldn’t restart.
    It means this phone has some software program problem.
    Nokia need to check the phone manufacturing.

  • had to reset my phone using the instructions above, but at least it did not turn my phone into a paper weight. thank you.

  • I followed all steps as mentioned with my nokia 6.1 plus. But at step 9 when i set to b inactive slots and made it restart. after restarting it did show the screen as you have mentioned, Android recovery screen, Rather my device is now keeps restarting and after some times it comes back to download mode again. Any help?

    • Looks like your device will not be recoverable by this method. It needs to be flashed with factory firmware. I’d advise bringing to Nokia Care as it will be a free service. Else you need to pay for remote services.

  • Saved my Nokia 6.1, and I’m so thankful because I really can’t afford a new phone at the moment. Thank you!

      • hi step 5, you say check drivers. how do i check drivers?
        I already :
        1. Download and install Nokia USB Drivers on your Windows PC.
        2. Minimal ADB and fastboot to communicate with the device in download (fastboot) mode.

        • So, you are not receiving any response with the drivers installed? Please see the Windows device manager confirm that the phone appears as a “Fastboot device”.

  • Mod edit (translated from Spanish using Google Translate):
    Sorry, I do not write and I would like to know if you could help me.

    Original comment:
    disculpa no me sale escribiendo y quisiera saber si podrias ayudarme

  • Thank you a lot, Nokia 6,1 Plus is back to live. I loose all data but phone is alive. Nokia realy disapoit me, phone have less than 4 months.

  • Didn’t work. I tried all the methods and steps on my Nokia 6.1 plus. I was installing the April security patch during which my phone got stuck on download mode. It is still stuck after trying everything. What should I do next to solve this issue? Please help.

  • One comment from me.
    After all commands in fastboot in you dont want lose your data try option “try again”.

    Be me the phone was started in normal mode and everything was fine.

    After the phone was start in normal mode i have done “developer mode” and i make system update and phone its working ok without data loss

  • Hi 🙂

    Thank you my hero(es)!
    My Nokia 7.1 gone to download mode without any reason. There was no update before.
    No response to all button commands. The battery drained and the device was off.
    I connected to my pc using a USB C to USB C cable and it gone to download mode again.

    Just the fast reboot command woke my phone up and for a long time only the nokia logo was to be seen.
    Then android started normally and i had to enter the pin.
    Now it comes strange. All apps i had open before the download mode were still open.
    After the battery was drained down and it did this reboot.

    Whatever. Thank you very much! I am glad that i had no loss of data since i have seen now.

    Bye 🙂

    • Hi (I wish there was a name to address), I am not sure if you should be thanking us here because well, you have tested something on your own and that worked! I am honestly surprised that a mere fastboot reboot has worked. It didn’t work for all the test cases which I have had. In the end, what matters is that your phone is alive again and you have not lost your data. Maybe I’ll just add that to the step 1 too. The phone will either boot up or else come back to download mode. Doesn’t hurt anybody!
      Thank you for your kind words. Really appreciate the input 🙂

    • Hello, you can install the official Chinese version of the software. It will receive all the updates but will not have full support for Google services. However, an official “global” version is not available, because the Nokia 7 was never released in any other market.

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