If you have forgotten the password to unlock your Android device, you still may be able to unlock it. You’re likely here because you want to do this without losing data, because, well, who wants that? There are a few methods you can use to unlock your android without having to do a factory reset. Let’s go over your options.
Use your Google account
You can use your Google account to unlock your device without erasing data. Here’s how:
- On your locked Android device, enter an incorrect PIN, pattern, or password multiple times until you see a message that says, “You have incorrectly attempted to unlock this device x times. Tap the screen to unlock your device with your Google account.”
- Tap the screen, and you will be prompted to enter the email address and password associated with your Google account.
- Enter the email address and password, and then tap “Sign in” or “Next.”
- If your email address and password are correct, your device will unlock, and you will be prompted to set a new PIN, pattern, or password.
This method is for those brave souls who are willing to dig into some code. If you have previously enabled USB debugging on your device, you can use Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to remove the pattern lock without losing data.
Connect your device to your computer. Then, use the command prompt to execute the following command: “adb shell rm /data/system/gesture.key”. This will remove the pattern lock. You should then be able to access your device without entering a pattern.
Using Smart Lock
Another way to unlock an Android without a factory reset is by using Smart Lock. Smart Lock is a feature on newer Android devices (those running at least Android 5.0.) Smart Lock allows you to unlock your device without having to enter a PIN, pattern, or password under certain circumstances such as when your device is connected to a trusted device, location, or face recognition. Here are the steps to set up and use Smart Lock to unlock your Android device:
- Go to Settings on your Android device.
- Scroll down and select “Security & Location” or “Security.”
- Select “Smart Lock” and enter your PIN, pattern, or password if prompted.
- Choose from the following Smart Lock options:
- Trusted Devices: Connect your Android device to a Bluetooth device, such as a smartwatch or a car, to automatically unlock your device when it’s nearby.
- Trusted Places: Set up a location, such as your home or office, to automatically unlock your device when you’re in that area.
- Trusted Face: Use facial recognition to unlock your device when it recognizes your face.
- On-Body Detection: Keep your device unlocked when it’s on your person, such as in your pocket or handbag.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Smart Lock option.
Once you’ve set up Smart Lock, you can simply wake up your Android device and it will automatically unlock when it detects a trusted device, location, or face.
Samsung’s “Find My Mobile” to Unlock an Android
If you’re lucky enough to have an Android made by Samsung, you can use Samsung’s Find My Mobile service. You can use this to remotely unlock your device if you’re locked out. Here’s how:
- Go to the Find My Mobile website: https://findmymobile.samsung.com/.
- Log in with your Samsung account credentials that you used to set up Find My Mobile on your device.
- Once you’re logged in, select your locked Samsung device from the list of devices associated with your account.
- Click on “Unlock My Device” option from the available options.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to unlock your device remotely.
Keep in mind that this method will only work if you have previously set up Samsung’s Find My Mobile service on your Samsung device and have the remote unlock feature enabled. Additionally, your device must be connected to the internet for this method to work.
Unlock Using Your Gmail Account
This method only works with an older phone (Android 4.4 or lower.) Follow these steps:
- Enter an incorrect PIN, pattern, or password multiple times until you see a message that says, “You have incorrectly attempted to unlock this device x times. Tap the screen to unlock your device with your Google account.”
- Tap the screen, and you will be prompted to enter your Gmail address and password associated with your Google account.
- Enter your Gmail address and password and then tap “Sign in” or “Next”.
- If your Gmail address and password are correct, your device will unlock, and you will be prompted to set a new PIN, pattern, or password.
Please note that these methods may not work on all Android devices and versions. If none of these methods work, you may have to perform a factory reset to unlock your device, which will erase all your data.