Unlock Android Phone If You Forgot the Password or Pattern Lock

Unlock Android Phone If You Forget the Password or Pattern Lock

Forgot Android Password or lock screen pattern? Don’t worry in this guide we will talk about different ways via which you can easily regain access or unlock your Android phone if you forgot the password. 

Our smartphones have become an inseparable part of our lives. They can be considered to be an extension of our identity. All our contacts, messages, emails, work files, documents, photos, videos, songs, and other personal effects are stored on our device. A password lock is set to ensure that no one else is able to access and use our device. It could be a PIN code, an alphanumeric password, pattern, fingerprint, or even face recognition. With time, mobile manufacturers have upgraded the device’s security features to a great extent, thus, protecting your privacy.

However, at times, we find ourselves locked out of our own devices. When too many unsuccessful attempts are made to enter the password, the mobile phone gets permanently locked. It could be an honest mistake of a child trying to play games on your mobile or maybe it is just you forgetting your password. Now, the security measures that were installed to safeguard your Android device have locked you out. It is frustrating to not be able to access and use your own mobile phone. Well, don’t lose hope just yet. In this article, we are going to help you unlock the Android phone without the password. There is a series of methods that you can try yourself, before seeking professional help from a service centre. So, let’s get cracking.

Unlock Android Phone If You Forget the Password or Pattern Lock

Unlock Android Phone If You Forget the Password or Pattern Lock

For Older Android Devices

The solution to this problem depends upon the Android version that is running on your device. For old Android versions, i.e. versions before Android 5.0, it was easier to unlock your device if you forget the password. With time, these security measures become more and more strict and it is almost impossible to unlock your Android phone without a factory reset. However, if you are using an old Android device, then today is your lucky day. There are a number of ways in which you can unlock your device without the password on an old Android device. Let us take a look at them in detail.

1. Using Google Account to Reset your Password

Before we begin with this method, take note that this feature is available only on Android 4.4 or lower. Old Android devices had the option to use your Google Account to reset your device’s password. Every Android device needs a Google Account to activate. This means that every Android user has signed in to their devices using a Google Account. This account and its password can be used to gain access to your device. Follow the steps given below to see how:

  1. Once you have made too many unsuccessful attempts to enter the device’s password or PIN, the lock screen will show a Forgot Password option. Click on it.
  2. The device will now ask you to sign in with your Google Account.
  3. You simply need to fill in the username (which is your email id) and the password for your Google Account.
  4. Then click on the Sign-in button and you are all set.
  5. This will not only unlock your phone but also reset the password for your device. Once you have access to your device, you can set up a new password and make sure that you do not forget this one.

Use Google Account to Reset Android Screenlock Password

However, in order for this method to work, you need to remember the login credentials of your Google Account. If you do not remember the password for that either, then you need to first recover your Google Account using a PC and then try the above-described method. Also, sometimes the phone’s screen gets locked for a period of time like 30 seconds or 5 minutes after too many unsuccessful attempts. You need to wait for the timeout period to elapse before you can click on the Forget Password option.

2. Unlock Android phone using Google’s Find My Device service

This is a simple and straightforward method that works for old Android devices. Google has a Find my Device service that is useful when you lose your device or it gets stolen. Using your Google Account, you can not only track the location of your device but control certain features of it. You can play a sound on the device which would help you locate it. You can also lock your phone and erase data on your device. In order to unlock your phone, open the Google Find My Device on your computer and then simply tap on the Lock option. Doing so will override the existing password/PIN/pattern lock and set a new password for your device. You can now access your phone with this new password.

Using Google Find My Device service

3. Unlock Phone Using the Backup PIN

This method is applicable only for old Samsung devices. If you have a Samsung smartphone that is running Android 4.4 or earlier, then you can unlock your phone using a backup pin. Samsung allows its users to set up a backup just in case you forget the main password or pattern. In order to use it, simply follow these steps:

1. Click on the Backup PIN option on the lower right-hand side of the screen.

Click on the Backup PIN option on the lower right-hand side of the screen

2. Now, enter the PIN code and tap on the Done button.

Now, enter the PIN code and tap on the Done button

3. Your device will be unlocked and you will be asked to reset your primary password.

4. Unlock Android Device Using Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

In order to use this method, you must have USB debugging enabled on your phone. This option is available under Developer options and allows you to access your phone’s files through a computer. ADB is used to enter a series of codes into your device via a computer to delete the program that controls the phone lock. It will, thus, deactivate any existing password or PIN. Also, your device cannot be encrypted. New Android devices are encrypted by default and, thus, this method works only for old Android devices.

Before you begin with this process, you must make sure that you have Android Studio installed on your computer and set up properly. After that, follow the steps given below to unlock your device using ADB.

1. Firstly, connect your mobile phone to the computer via a USB cable.

2. Now, open the Command Prompt window inside your platform-tools folder. You can do this by pressing Shift+Right-click and then select the option to open Command Window here.

3. Once the Command Prompt window is open, type in the following code: adb shell rm /data/system/gesture.key and then press Enter.

Unlock Android Phone Using Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

4. After this, simply restart your device. And you will see that the device is no longer locked.

5. Now, set up a new PIN or password for your mobile phone.

5. Crashing the Lock Screen UI

This method works only for those devices that are running on Android 5.0. This means that other devices having older or newer Android versions can’t use this method to gain access to their devices. This is a simple hack that would cause the lock screen to crash, thus, allowing you to gain access to your device. The basic idea is to push it beyond the processing capacity of the phone. Follow the steps given below to unlock your Android phone without the password:

  1. There is an Emergency button on the Lock screen that allows you to make emergency phone calls and opens up the dialer for that purpose. Tap on it.
  2. Now enter ten asterisks in the dialer.
  3. Copy the entire text and then paste it next to the pre-existed asterisks. Continue this method until the option to paste is no longer available.
  4. Now go back to the lock screen and click on the Camera icon.
  5. Here, drag down the notification panel, and from the drop-down menu, click on the Settings button.
  6. Now you will be asked to enter the password.
  7. Paste the previously copied asterisks from the dialer and press enter.
  8. Repeat this a couple of times and the Lock screen UI will crash.
  9. Now you can gain access to your device and set a new password.

Crashing the Lock Screen UI

For New Android Devices

New smartphones running on Android Marshmallow or higher have much more complex security measures. This makes it extremely difficult to gain access or unlock your Android phone if you forget your password. There are, however, a couple of workarounds and we are going to discuss them in this section.

1. Unlock Android phone using Smart Lock

Some Android smartphones have a smart lock feature. It allows you to bypass the primary password or pattern lock under certain special circumstances. This could be a familiar environment like when the device is connected to your home Wi-Fi or it is connected to a trusted Bluetooth device. The following is the list of various options that you can set as a smart lock.

1. Trusted Places: You can unlock your device if you are connected to your home Wi-Fi. So, if you forget your primary password, simply go back home and use the smart lock feature to get in.

2. Trusted Face: Most of the modern Android smartphones are equipped with Facial Recognition and can be used as an alternative to password/PIN.

3. Trusted Device: You can also unlock your phone using a trusted device like a Bluetooth Headset.

4. Trusted Voice: Some Android smartphones especially those running on Stock Android like Google Pixel or Nexus allows you to unlock your device using your voice.

5. On-body Detection: The smartphone is capable of sensing that the device is on your person and, thus, gets unlocked. This feature, however, has its drawbacks as it is not very safe. It will unlock the device irrespective of who is in possession of it. As soon as the motion sensors detect any activity, it unlocks the phone. Only when the mobile is stationary and lying somewhere will it stay locked. Thus, enabling this feature is not usually advisable.

Unlock Android phone using Smart Lock

Take note that in order to unlock your phone using a smart lock, you need to set it up first. You can find the Smart Lock feature in your Settings under Security and Location. All these settings and features described above require you to give them the green light to unlock your device. So make sure you set up at least a couple of them to bail you out in case you forget your password.

2. Perform a Factory Reset

The only other alternative that you have is to perform a Factory Reset on your device. You will lose all your data but at least you will be able to use your phone again. Due to this reason, it is always a good idea to back up your data as an when possible. After the Factory Reset is complete you can download all your personal files from the cloud or some other backup drive.

There are two ways in which you can Factory Reset your phone:

a. Using Google Find my Device service

When you open Google Find my Device website on your computer and sign in with your Google Account, you can make certain changes to your phone remotely. You can remotely erase all the files from your mobile with a single click. Simply tap on the Erase Device option and it will reset your phone to the factory settings. This means that the previous password/pin will also get removed. This way you can easily unlock Android phone if you forgot the password. And once you regain access to your device, you can set a new password. 

A pop-up dialog would show the IMEI number of your device

b. Factory Reset your phone Manually

In order to use the above-described method, you need to enable it from before-hand. If you haven’t done that already then you need to opt for a manual factory reset. Now, this method differs from one device to another. Therefore, you need to search for your phone and its model and see how to initiate a factory reset. Following are some general steps that work for most devices:

1. First, you need to turn off your device.

2. Once your mobile phone is switched off, press and hold the power button along with the volume down button as long as it does not start the Android bootloader. Now the combination of keys can be different for your mobile, it could be the power button along with both the volume keys.

Factory Reset your phone Manually

3. When the bootloader starts, your touchscreen won’t work, so you have to use the volume keys to navigate.

4. Use the volume down button to navigate to Recovery mode and then press the Power button to select it.

5. Here, navigate to the Wipe data/ Factory reset option using the volume keys and then press the Power button to select it.

Wipe data or Factory reset

6. This will initiate factory reset and once completed your device will be brand new again.

7. You will now have to go through the entire process of signing in to your device with your Google Account as you did for the first time.

Needless to say, your existing device lock has been removed and you will have no problem gaining access to your device.


I hope the above guide was helpful and you were able to unlock your Android phone without the password. But if you still have any queries regarding this guide feel free to ask them in the comment section.

Posted by

Elon Decker

Elon is a tech writer at TechCult. He's been writing how-to guides for about 6 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to cover topics related to Windows, Android, and the latest tricks and tips.

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