How to unlock an Android phone if you've forgotten your passcode Credit: Adam Patrick Murray

How to unlock an Android phone if you've forgotten your passcode

Locked out of your phone? Don’t panic!

If you’ve forgotten your pattern, pin, or password and can’t get into your phone – don’t worry, all is not lost. While lock screens are deliberately hard to get into by design, we’ve got a couple of potential ways you can get around them.

Android Device Manager

androiddevicemanageredited Tech Adviso

The most immediate solution that springs to mind is to use the Android Device Manager.  You’ll need to log into your google account for this, and it will only work on the more modern devices  - but you can access this service from any device you’d like.

If the service has picked up your device then click the “Lock button”. You will then be asked to enter a new passcode that will replace the current locking method on the phone. Tap the lock button again to confirm the new code.

If the Device Manager isn’t picking up your device, then refresh the page a few times. It should get there eventually. You can also try a hard refresh (CTRL + F5) which will clear your cashe too.

Did you know you can set your favorite song as your alarm on your Android Smartphone? Find out how to do it here.

The ‘Forgot Pattern’ Feature

forgotpattern Tech Advisor

If you’re using an older version of Android, namely 4.4 or lower, then you’ll be able to use the ‘Forgot Pattern’ feature. If you’ve failed to unlock your phone 5 times, you’ll have a message pop up. At the bottom right of your screen, you’ll see a “Forgot Pattern?” button. Tap it.

You can then enter your Google account details and Google will send you through an e-mail with your new unlock code.

Samsung’s ‘Find My Mobile’ Service

samsungfindmymobile1 Tech Adviso

If you have a Samsung device then this would be a good option, however if you haven’t set up your Samsung account prior to this then it’s not going to work.

Much the same with device manager, you will find the ‘Lock my screen’ button on the left hand side. Enter a new pin into the field at the top, and then hit the lock button at the bottom of the screen. After a few moments, your password will change and you can access for phone with the pin you just set.

The Factory Reset

factoryreset Tech Advisor

We’re moving into some slightly more drastic measures now, but if you have all your data backed up and there is nothing on your phone that you can’t live without, a factory reset is a good way of starting over.

There are checks to stop Factory Resets however so you’ll need your Google log in information to complete this step.

The exact factory reset method will vary slightly from phone to phone, so it’s best to look up how to do it on your model first.  You’ll have to enter Android’s bootloader menu, and then go to recovery mode. Then find your way to “Wipe data/factory reset”.

It’s at this point that you’ll be prompted to enter your Google account information

Bypassing a non-stock lock screen with Safe Mode

nonstocklockscreen1 Tech Advis

If the lock screen you’re having trouble with is from a third-party app, and not the stock lock screen that comes with the phone, then you can bypass this by booting the phone into Safe mode.

Bring up the power menu on the lock screen, and then long-press the “Power Off” option. You will then be asked if you’d like to boot into safe mode, confirm this, and when the phone boots up the lock screen will be disabled.

IDG Insider


«Save $400 on a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar today from Amazon


Today only, save $370 on a DJI Phantom 4 Advanced drone from B&H»
IDG Connect

IDG Connect tackles the tech stories that matter to you

Recommended for You


Latin America’s push towards digital transformation

Keri Allan looks at the latest trends and technologies


Meeting Owl brings new wisdom to conferencing

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends


A rare glimpse inside the Chinese cybercrime underground

Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond

Our Case Studies

IDG Connect delivers full creative solutions to meet all your demand generatlon needs. These cover the full scope of options, from customized content and lead delivery through to fully integrated campaigns.


Our Marketing Research

Our in-house analyst and editorial team create a range of insights for the global marketing community. These look at IT buying preferences, the latest soclal media trends and other zeitgeist topics.



Should the government regulate Artificial Intelligence?