Smartphone screen locks are an essential way to protect your phone’s contents. Locking your smartphone is a must in an age where you have financial, professional, and personal information.
You can be locked out of your phone if your passcode is forgotten. Modern devices have fingerprint scanners that can back up passwords, so there’s a higher chance of you forgetting.
These are the steps to help you reset your password and gain access to your Android smartphone.
Are you sure that you have it?
You may have just typed in “How to unlock my Android phone if my PIN is forgotten” into Google. Before you continue, take a moment and verify that you are actually forgetting your passcode. This may seem obvious but it will save you lots of trouble in the end.
Android allows you to choose from any number of digits as your PIN. You may need to consider whether the length of your passcode is different if you are trying to remember a four-digit code or a six-digit code. This could help you to remember the code. You can also allow your muscle memory to do all the work. You can then go away to do something else, and then you can pick up your phone to see which keys your fingers move to automatically.
Here are some options to unlock your Android PIN if you’ve lost it.
1. Lock with Smart Lock
Smart Lock allows you to specify conditions that will bypass your lock screen security. It can be found under Security > Smartlock on most smartphones, and Settings> Lock Screen > Smartlock Type for Samsung devices.
You must however have it set up before you forget your PIN!
To make the feature work, you will need to enter your current lock password. You can then choose from five options to unlock your phone without entering a password.
- On the body detection: The phone detects you are carrying it and locks it automatically while it is in your hand or pocket.
- Trusted locations: Tracks your location to unlock the phone when you are near an address you have selected.
- Trusted Bluetooth devices: This keeps your device locked when it is connected to a trusted Bluetooth device such as your car or fitness tracker.
- Trusted Face: Uses facial recognition for unlocking your phone.
- Voice match Once it recognizes your trusted vocal tone, it unlocks the phone. This option has been removed from Android 8 Oreo and higher, but it works on older devices.
You can use the password you have already created to gain access to your phone if you forget your password.
You can’t change Smart Lock settings or password settings without your current password. You may need to factory reset your Android phone but you can back up everything first.
2. Samsung Devices: There are many options
Have a Samsung device? If you have lost your lock code, there are a few options available from Samsung.
Use Backup PIN only for older Android versions
You may have previously set a backup pin on an older Samsung phone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat. These steps will help you correct any mistakes in your password or pattern.
- If you are able to remember it, tap on the Backup Pin option.
- Tap Done, and type in your PIN code.
- To reset your lock screen pattern, you will be redirected back to the Screen Lock settings.
Find My Mobile (All Android Versions).
If you forget your screen lock code (e.g. PIN, password or pattern), there is no need to worry.
Samsung offers remote management for all its phones. To access your Samsung Account, you must be signed in to your Samsung Account. You also need to have either a WiFi or mobile data connection.
These steps will help you reset your phone’s password using Find My Mobile
- On your computer, navigate to findmymobile.samsung.com.
- Sign in now to your Samsung account
- Once you have done that, click on the Unlock My Device option. Follow the instructions.
3. Use the Forgot PIN Prompt
You can reset your passcode on an older Android 4.4 KitKat phone by going to the lock screen. These steps require you to log in to your Google account.
- Enter the wrong code into the lock screen. You can try again in 30 seconds.
- Click on Forgot pattern to be prompted to enter your Google account details.
- Enter your email address and password.
- Now you have the option to reset your lock screen pattern. Tap on the Log-in tab. Next, go to the Lock Unlock settings to set a new screen pattern.
This option was removed by Google in Android’s latest versions.
4. Here are some workaround hacks
The above methods won’t work if you don’t have Smart Lock or have an older phone. You will need to find a hack that works in those situations.
Delete the PIN File using ADB
Android creates a key file that stores all your user credentials such as fingerprints, patterns, and other passwords. This is so that the correct password is entered and the phone unlocks instantly.
You can access the files on your phone using the Android Debug Bridge utility (ADB). This utility can be used to delete the lock screen security file.
This method is only applicable if:
- USB Debugging is enabled on the phone. You don’t need it if you have never accessed the Developer Options panel.
- Your phone has been allowed to connect to your computer via ADB. If you are not familiar with ADB, we have a guide.
- Your phone isn’t encrypted. Google has made it mandatory that all Android phones ship encrypted starting with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. This won’t apply to older devices.
It’s not guaranteed to work and it can cause damage to your phone. We recommend you backup everything on your Android phone before proceeding.
These requirements will allow you to unlock your phone using the following steps
- Use a USB cable to connect your phone with your computer.
- To access your ADB installation directory, open a Terminal or Command Prompt window.
- Enter adb shell rm /data/system/gesture.key Hit Enter .
- Reboot your phone. After you have done this, the secure lock screen should disappear.
- This is temporary. Before you reboot, reset your PIN and pattern lock.
Crash the Lock Screen
This works with encrypted devices running Android 5.0-5.1. This method is only compatible with a limited number of phones, but it’s worth a try if your phone fits the criteria.
To disable the lock screen on your phone and gain access to it:
- Tap the emergency call button on your lock screen.
- You can input 10 asterisks using the dialer.
- Double-tap to highlight the text and select Copy.
- Paste the chosen characters alongside the copied original characters.
- Continue to add more characters to your password space until you are no longer able double-tap the characters.
- Click on the camera shortcut to open the notification shade.
- Click the settings Icon to be prompted for your password.
- Press the input field with your long-press and select the Paste option. You can then copy and paste additional characters by repeating the process multiple times.
- The lock screen will eventually crash, allowing you to access your device.
5. Do an Android Factory Reset
If none of these options work for you, then you will need to perform a factory reset. This will also erase all data from your phone. After the reset, you can log back into your Google account, and you can restore most of your data.
You will need another method to reset your device since you are locked out. You can use Google’s Find My Device site. To reset your device, as long as this feature is enabled on your phone you can click this Erase device button.
You will need to reset factory settings manually if you are unable to use this method. To do so:
- Turn your device on.
- To bring up Android’s bootloader menu, hold down the volume Down and Power buttons until the screen turns completely black. Depending on the phone, this button combination might be different.
- To highlight the recovery mode option, press twice the volume up button. Then, press the power to select it.
- To enter recovery mode, hold the power key and then press the volume-down key once more.
- To go to the Wipe Data/Factory Repair option, use the volume buttons. Continue with the steps for a factory reset.
- After the device reboots you can go through the setup process again. After the device reboots, you will be asked to log in again to your Google account. This will allow you to restore any backups.
As soon as your phone is set up, we recommend you activate the Smart Lock feature. This will allow you to instantly unlock your Android phone via your Wi-Fi. It also means that you won’t have to manually unlock it each time.
Future lockouts on Android prevented
These methods will allow you to get back into your Android smartphone, but they won’t let you know your password for future logins. These steps are not something you want to repeat. It’s better to be prepared now to ensure that your password isn’t forgotten in the future.
These are some tips to help you remember your Android password for the future.
- A physical copy of your password should be kept somewhere that you have access to, such as in a safe or password manager.
- Use a strong password you can remember, not something easy to remember.
- You must be signed in to your Google and Samsung accounts.
- Backup your Android data in case you need to factory reset.
Remembering Your Passcodes
Nowadays, almost every task requires a password. It can be difficult to remember all of them. Although password managers can be helpful in keeping track of all your passwords, they don’t help you if you forget your Android phone PIN.
It’s a good idea to keep your Android phone passcode safe so you don’t have to read it again.