Smartphone screen locks are an important way to keep the contents of your device private. Locking your phone has become a necessity rather than a choice in an age when you have personal, professional, and financial information on it.
However, if you forget your phone’s passcode, you may find yourself locked out of your device. Because of fingerprint scanners on modern devices, which use passwords as a backup, there is a greater risk of forgetting.
Here are some methods for regaining access to your Android phone if you have forgotten your Android password.
Here are some methods for regaining access to your phone.
Unlock With Smart Lock
Smart Lock is an Android feature that allows you to specify which conditions will allow you to bypass your lock screen security. Most phones have it under Settings > Security & location > Smart lock, while Samsung devices have it under Settings > Lock Screen > Smart Lock Type.
You must, however, have set it up before forgetting your PIN!
To make changes to the feature, you must enter your current lock password. Then you have five options for unlocking your smartphone without a password:
- On-body detection: When the phone detects that you’re carrying it, it automatically unlocks and remains unlocked while it’s on your person.
- Trusted locations: Uses your location to unlock your phone when you’re close to an address you’ve specified.
- When connected to a trusted Bluetooth device, such as your fitness tracker or car, your device remains unlocked.
- Trusted face: Unlocks your phone using facial recognition.
- Voice match: When it recognizes your trusted voice, it unlocks your phone.
- Fingerprints: Use your registered fingerprints to unlock your phone.
If you had already set up one or more of these options before forgetting your password, you can use them to regain access to your phone. You cannot, however, change Smart Lock or password settings without first entering your current password. As a result, you may still need to perform a factory reset, but at least you can backup everything first.
Alternatives for Samsung Devices
Do you own a Samsung device? If you forget your lock code, the company provides a couple of options for resetting it.
Making Use of a Backup PIN (Older Android Versions Only)
You may have set a backup PIN on an older Samsung phone running Android 4.4 KitKat or earlier. If you enter your password or pattern incorrectly, take the following steps:
- If you remember your PIN, select Backup PIN.
- Enter your PIN-code and then tap Done.
- To reset the lock screen pattern, navigate to the Screen Unlock settings.
Find My Mobile (All Android Versions)
Samsung provides a feature on all of its phones that allows you to remotely manage the device if it is lost. You must have a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection and be signed in to your Samsung Account on your phone.
To reset your phone’s passcode using Find My Mobile, follow these steps:
- On your computer, navigate to findmymobile.samsung.com.
- Use your Samsung account to sign in.
- Navigate to the Unlock my Device option and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Make use of the Forgot PIN Prompt (Android 4.4 or Earlier)
- If you have an older phone that is running Android 4.4 KitKat or earlier, you can reset your passcode from the lock screen. This makes use of your Google account and necessitates the following steps:
- Input the incorrect pattern into the lock screen until you see an error message. You’ve tried and failed several times. The message “Try again in 30 seconds.”
- When you tap Forgot Pattern, you’ll be prompted to enter your Google account information.
- Enter your email address and password here.
- You can now choose to reset your lock screen pattern. Simply go to the Screen Unlock settings and set a new lock screen pattern after tapping on the Sign-in tab.
Unfortunately, Google has removed this option from modern Android versions.
Attempt Some Workaround Hacks
The above methods will not work if you haven’t enabled Smart Lock, don’t have an old phone, or don’t use a Samsung device. In such cases, you will need to take more drastic measures.
These essentially require you to hack into your phone. They are not guaranteed to work and may damage your phone if you are not careful. As a result, you should only use them if you have no other options.
Delete the PIN File With ADB
You can access your phone’s files from your computer by using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) utility. You can use this to delete the file that controls the lock screen security on your phone.
However, this method will only work if and only if the following conditions are met:
- Your phone has USB debugging enabled. You don’t have it enabled if you’ve never visited the Developer Options panel.
- You’ve given your computer permission to connect to your phone via ADB.
- Your phone is not protected by encryption. Google requires all Android phones to ship encrypted beginning with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. As a result, this will not work with newer devices.
If your phone meets these requirements, you can unlock it using the steps below:
- Use a USB cable to connect your phone to your computer.
- Navigate to your ADB installation directory using a Command Prompt or Terminal window.
- Enter the command adb shell rm /data/system/gesture.key.
- Restart your phone. When you do this, the secure lock screen should be removed.
- Because this is a temporary condition, you should reset your PIN or pattern lock before rebooting.
Crash the Lock Screen
This method is compatible with encrypted devices running Android 5.0 to 5.1.1. As a result, it’s only suitable for a small subset of phones, but it’s worth a shot if you happen to fall into this category.
To bypass the lock screen and gain access to your phone, do the following:
- On your lock screen, select the Emergency Call option.
- Enter 10 asterisks into the dialer.
- Select Copy after double-tapping to highlight this text.
- Copy the selected characters and paste them next to the original copied characters.
- Continue to add more characters to the password space until double-tapping no longer highlights the characters.
- Pull down the notification shade and open the camera shortcut.
- When you tap the settings icon, you will be prompted to enter your password.
- Long-press the input field and select Paste from the menu. Then, to copy and paste more characters, repeat the process several times.
- The lock screen will eventually crash, allowing you to access your device.
Perform an Android Factory Reset
If none of the above solutions work for you, you’ll need to perform a factory reset. Of course, this also erases all data on your phone. If you signed in to your Google account and backed it up, you can sign back in after the reset and restore a lot of your data.
Because you’re locked out, you’ll have to use another method to reset your password. The most straightforward method is to use Google’s Find My Device website. If you’ve enabled this feature on your phone, you can reset it by clicking the Erase device option on this page.
If you are unable to use this method, you must perform a manual factory reset. To do so, follow these steps:
- Turn off your device.
- After the screen goes completely black, press and hold the volume down and power buttons at the same time to access Android’s bootloader menu. Depending on your phone, this button combination may differ.
- Press the volume down button twice to bring up the Recovery Mode menu, then select it with the power button.
- To enter recovery mode, hold down the power button and press the volume up button once.
- To access the Wipe data/Factory Reset option, use the volume buttons. Follow the steps below to perform a factory reset.
- Restart the device and go through the setup process again. You will be prompted to sign back into your Google account, which will restore any previously backed-up data.
These methods will allow you to regain access to your Android phone, but they will not assist you in remembering your password for future logins. You don’t want to go through these steps again, so take precautions to ensure you don’t forget your passcode in the future.
Here are some pointers to help you remember your Android password in the future.
- Keep a physical copy of your password somewhere only you can access it, such as a safe or password manager.
- Choose something memorable rather than something obvious.
- Check that you’re signed in to your Google (and, if applicable, Samsung) accounts and that you’ve enabled at least one Smart Lock option.
- Back up your Android data to lessen the blow if you have to perform another factory reset.
Nowadays, we’re required to have a password for almost everything, and remembering them all can be difficult. Password managers can help you keep track of all of your passwords, but they’re useless if you’ve forgotten your Android phone’s PIN.
To avoid having to read this article again in the future, keep your Android phone passcode written down somewhere safe at home.