Locked Out From Your Android Phone? Here’s How to Get back in
Passwords, pins and patterns are there to protect the privacy of Android Phone users. However, a lot of us are a tad overzealous with our choice of passwords, patterns or pins, getting ourselves locked out of our own devices (raise your hand if that has happened to you before; perhaps why you’re here in the first place). Well, all is not doom and gloom as there are ways to bypass your lock screen should you forget your password, pin or unlock pattern. This post expounds on the different approaches to access your device when locked out.
Android Device Manager (ADM)
Android Device Manager (ADM) is a service from Google for accessing your device from a remote location in case it was stolen or in this case, you’re locked out. You can use ADM via your native browsers or by downloading the app on a friend’s Android phone. One caveat though, your device needs to be linked to your Google account for this method to work. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s how you use ADMVisit google.com/android/devicemanager and input your login details or launch the app you downloaded on your friend’s Android device and do likewise.
If your credentials have been accepted, you’ll see three options – ‘ring’, ‘lock’, and ‘erase’ – under your device name. Click on ‘Lock’.
2. Create a temporary password after the ensuing prompt. Ensure the password is simple enough to remember, or you’ll just have to repeat steps 1 and 2 again.
3. Confirm the new password and click the ‘Lock’ button to set the new password. The new password can sometimes take as long as five minutes to come into effect.
4. Enter your new password on your device, and bam, you’re in. Don’t forget to change the password if you feel it’s not strong enough, but make sure it’s something you would remember easily.
Samsung’s ‘Find My Mobile’
Samsung’s Find My Mobile is similar to ADM, but only works for Samsung devices. If your locked Android device is a Samsung, then this option is perhaps the first method you should try. Again, you would need to have registered with the tool in order to use it. Also, ensure your device has active internet, either through a Wi-Fi or mobile network. To use Find My Mobile, do the following:
Go to findmymobile.samsung.com
Log in with your registered credentials.
Locate ‘Lock my screen’ on the left-hand-side of the window and click on it.
Input a new ‘Unlock PIN’ and then click on ‘Lock’ blue button at the bottom of the screen to unlock your smartphone’s screen.
In a minute or two, you should be able to access your device with your new PIN.
Disabling the Lock Screen using the Android SDK
This might seem a bit techie, but it’s fairly easy; just follow the steps we highlight below. Android SDK is one of the tools used to create Android apps. This method will only work if you’ve enabled USD debugging in the developer menu. Also, you’ll need to have connected your device to your computer using Android Debug Bridge (ADB). To unlock your device using this tool, follow the steps below:
- Download the SDK
- Extract the file and install it at a known location
- Plug in your device to your computer
- Remember the location you installed the SDK installation? Now, go there and find the ‘Tools’ folder. In there, you’ll find another folder titled ‘ADB’.
- Right-click on the ADB folder while holding down the ‘Shift’ button.
- In the menu that follows, select ‘Open Command Window here’ to launch the Command Prompt.
- In the Command Prompt, enter the following command: adb shell rm /data/system/gesture.key and press ‘Enter’.
- Disconnect your device from your PC and restart it. After that, the lock screen should be off.
Broken Android Phone? You Can Still Get In
What about if the device’s screen is broken and not operational enough for you to input any password, PIN or pattern? What if you needed to get important information off of your broken device or all the other options listed above doesn’t just work for you? That’s where Broken Android Data Extraction comes in. As the name suggests, you can use the app to pull out all kinds of information from your device even if it’s broken. Follow these steps to get data from your locked device:
- Download Android Data Extraction and install it on your PC.
- Launch the application and connect your device to your PC.
- Select the name and model of your Android Phone and click ‘Confirm’ to accept the disclaimer (make sure you read it, to know what you’re signing up for).
- Hold down the ‘Home’, volume down button and power button to put your device in ‘Download Mode’ and click ‘Start’ on the app.
- Wait patiently for the application to scan your device for all available data.
- Tick on all the type of data you need and click ‘Recover’ button to save the files to your computer.
If you still can’t unlock your Android Phone, then a factory reset is your next best bet, but before you do that, you should save your data using the Broken Android Data Extraction. Please note that from Android 5.1 and above, you’re required to enter your Google account credentials in order to perform a factory reset. Here’s how to perform a factory reset on an Android device:
- Power off your smartphone
- Hold down the ‘Home’, volume down button and power button for a few seconds till you see Android recovery.
- Tap the power button to select “reboot system now”.
- Use the volume button to navigate to ‘wipe data/factory reset’ and use the power button to select.
- Use the volume button to navigate to “yes” and select with the power button to confirm your action.
- The reset process takes about 20-25 minutes, so be patient!
- When the factory reset is done, you’ll be prompted to input your Google credentials if your device is powered by Android 5.1 and above in order to unlock the device.
- After you’ve unlocked your device, you can then restore previous data either from your local computer, or using Android Device Manager.