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What to Do if You Forget Your Android Phone Password

by on February 04, 2021
in Tips & How-Tos, Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Tech 101 :: 144 comments

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If you forget your Android lock screen password, is there a way to unlock your phone? The short answer is no – you will have to factory reset your device to be able to use your phone again. And because all recent versions of Android encrypt the data on your phone by default, there is no way to recover any photos, contacts or other data that you haven’t backed up to your Google account; they will be gone forever after the reset.  However, at least your phone will be unlocked and you’ll be able to use it again.

There are two ways to factory reset an Android phone if you’ve forgotten the password and can’t get past the lock screen. The first is to use Google’s Find My Device, which allows you to remotely erase your phone online. If you don’t have Find My Device turned on (it should be on by default), you’ll have to use the second method, Android’s “Recovery Mode”.

It’s critical to note that resetting your phone through either of these methods will require you to know your Google account and password that was used to set up the phone. If you don’t have this information, the device will be permanently locked. This security measure is in place to prevent a thief from using your device after factory resetting it.

How to reset your Android phone through Find My Device

  1. Go to android.com/find. If you’re not already, sign in to your Google account that is the main profile on your device. And if you have more than one device, select the phone you want to erase at the top left of the screen.
  2. Select ERASE DEVICE
  3. Click the ERASE DEVICE button
  4. Follow the steps to set up your phone again – note that you will need to verify the Google account information you originally used to set up the phone in order to proceed with setting up the device.

Google Find My Device

How to reset your Android phone through Recovery Mode

The steps to enter Recovery Mode varies by manufacturer, but I’ll provide instructions for the major ones below.

How to reset stock Android phones (Google Pixel or Nexus 6P):

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Power button and the Volume down button until your phone boots into Fastboot Mode. You’ll see a bunch of system info, along with menus option on the right side of your screen.ANdroid fastboot mode
  3. Use the Volume up and Volume down buttons to navigate through the menu options until you get to Recovery Mode, then press the Power Button to select it.
  4. You’ll see the Google logo on a white background, then the Android mascot lying on his back and the words No command.Andouid No command recovery mode
  5. Press and hold the Power button, then press the Volume up button.
  6. A new menu will pop up with a variety of system commands. Use the Volume buttons to get to Wipe data/factory reset and the Power button to select it.

How to reset HTC phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume down button, then press the Power button.
  3. Continue to hold Volume down until the Download mode is displayed
  4. A screen menu will appear. Use the Volume down button to highlight 'Recovery Mode’.
  5. Select ‘WIPE DATA/FACTORY RESET'. Press the Power button to select.

How to reset Huawei phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up button and the Power button.
  3. Once the startup screen appears, release the Power button, and 3 seconds later release the Volume Up button. Your phone will enter recovery mode
  4. Use the Volume buttons or touch the screen to select Wipe data/factory reset.
  5. On the screen that says, “Confirm wipe off all user data?” use the Volume buttons or touch the screen to select Wipe data/factory reset.

How to reset LG phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume down button and the Power/Lock button for approximately 10 seconds.
  3. Release both buttons when the System recovery screen is displayed. (Special note for LG V30: When the LG logo appears, quickly release and then re-hold the Power button while continuing to hold the Volume down button)
  4. Use the Volume buttons to scroll to 'Factory Data Reset’.
  5. Press the Power/Lock button to select.
  6. Press either of the Volume buttons to highlight Yes, then press the Power/Lock button to confirm.

How to reset Motorola phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down button and the Power button.
  3. When the options menu appears, use the Volume buttons to scroll to "RECOVERY MODE"
  4. Press the Power button to restart into Recovery mode.
  5. You'll see an image of an Android robot with a red exclamation mark. While holding down the Power button, press the Volume Up button.
  6. Use the volume buttons to scroll to "Wipe data/factory reset" and press the Power button to select it.
  7. Use the Volume buttons to scroll to "Yes" and press the Power button to select it.

How to reset Samsung phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume up button, the Power button and the Home button.
  3. When you feel the device vibrate, release ONLY the Power button.
  4. A screen menu will appear. When you see this, release the remaining buttons.
  5. Use the Volume down button to highlight 'Delete all user data'. Press the Power button to select. Press the Power button again to select Yes - delete all user data.

For Samsung phones without a Home button (such as Galaxy S10, Galaxy S11, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S21, Note 20), 

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume up button, the Power button and the Bixby button.
  3. When you feel the device vibrate, release all the buttons.
  4. The Android recovery screen menu will appear (may take up to 30 seconds). Use the Volume down button to highlight 'Wipe data/factory reset'. Press the Power button to select. Press the Power button again to select Yes - delete all user data.
  5. Note: Some have reported that, starting with Android 11, your device is now required to be connected to power via USB to go into recovery mode. I have not been able to test this.

Updated 2/4/2021 for newer Samsung devices

[Image credit: Josh Kirschner/Techlicious]



Discussion loading

Does not work for my old Samsung

From Em on December 05, 2020 :: 10:15 am

Have a Samsung Galaxy from a while back and cannot recall the password. Tried this, it freezes on the system recovery screen, when I select wipe data factory reset, press the power button to activate but nothing happens.

Reply

Help

From fran on December 29, 2020 :: 11:26 am

How can I open my phone when I can’t remember the lock screen password and email.  But I can remember the email password? I reset the phone to factory settings but it keeps asking for pin number or Google account username. It’s a new phone and I have not used the email. Please, can someone help?

Reply

You need to log in to the Google account

From Josh Kirschner on December 30, 2020 :: 1:41 pm

To access the phone, you need to log in to the Google account that it was originally set up with.  Is the issue you don’t remember the Google email address that was used to set it up? If not, you’re out of luck, so really try to figure that out.

Reply

Phone problem

From Bhekokwakhe Hlongwa on January 27, 2021 :: 7:33 am

I m forget my email address

Reply

Won't turn off w/o lock code

From Lisa Campbell on January 07, 2021 :: 4:49 pm

I have run into the same problem. I have a Samsung Galaxy A10e. I set a screen lock, now forgot it. The phone will not turn off without the lock code or taking the battery out which on this phone is not an option.

Reply

hi..

From Natalie burns on January 14, 2021 :: 2:32 pm

so i got a v mobile and how do you reset that

Reply

still not working

From Marvin Wilson on February 03, 2021 :: 4:38 pm

My galaxy samsung A11 Android 10, forgot my password, when i power off it asked for password, so i use volume down and power to restart it but just keeps coming up with enter password after restarting, this A11 has no bixby or home buttons only has volume up/down and power, any idea how i can get back in?

Reply

Added info above

From Josh Kirschner on February 04, 2021 :: 11:58 am

Hi Marvin,

I added details to the article for how to reset Samsung phones without a Home button (such as Galaxy S10, Galaxy S11, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S21, Note 20). Look in the Samsung section above.

Best,
Josh

Reply

working now

From Marvin Wilson on February 06, 2021 :: 4:34 pm

Thank You!

Reply

Help

From Claude on February 06, 2021 :: 3:27 am

I’m trying to reset my phone but I have forget my email password what can I do please I only remember my email .it is Tecno pouvoire

Reply

You have to recover your password

From Josh Kirschner on February 06, 2021 :: 4:17 pm

You have to recover your Gmail password, else you are out of luck.

Reply

Factory reset

From Rickey Perrin on February 09, 2021 :: 6:29 am

What can I do if in as already factory reset my phone and I don’t know my google password

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Screen lock PIN still required after Hardreset

From Philip on February 09, 2021 :: 9:44 am

Hi Josh,
Hope you can help.

My HTC U11 I have unlocked using the pattern and fingerprint recognition since new. Last week, instead of the pattern, it suddenly asked for a PIN to unlock the screen. I have never used a PIN(maybe I did at setup when new 3yrs ago but cant remember).

I followed the HTC Hardreset instructions and was hoping to be asked to enter my google a/c details but my phone still asks for the screen lock PIN.

What can I do to unlock my phone? (i also did the phone locator changing PW but this does not solve the problem).
Thank you. Philip

Reply

You reset using the instructions above?

From Josh Kirschner on February 09, 2021 :: 12:16 pm

Hi Philip,

Want to be clear on what you’ve done so far. You did a complete factory reset per the instructions above and it is still asking for a PIN?

Josh

Reply

You reset using the instructions above?

From Philip on February 10, 2021 :: 5:01 am

Hi Josh,

Yes, I did the complete factory reset.
I then restarted the phone. It asked to set the language, enter the SIM card PIN and connect to WiFi. The next step was to enter the PIN again… It did not ask for my Google a/c.

Philip

Reply

Possibly related to SIM card security

From Josh Kirschner on February 10, 2021 :: 1:51 pm

Try setting up the phone without the SIM card installed using WiFi and see if that works. Then you can put the SIM back in once it is set up.

I have a mz4 it

From Ana on March 10, 2021 :: 8:43 pm

I have a mz4 it asked for the same things and when I got to my pattern I just got it wrong a cupple times and it let be reset it

Nubia Redmagic 5G - Phone Locked

From Isaac on February 11, 2021 :: 1:38 am

Hi,

I bought a ZTE Nubia Redmagic 5G in October last year and have been using it. Last Saturday night when I tried to change the security lock from password to pattern, it refused the new pattern. So I hard reset the phone and erased all data, but it is still asking me for a pattern, which it is still refusing to accept, and it is not giving me an option to login with my google account.

Reply

password re set

From Randle on February 24, 2021 :: 9:08 pm

will taking out battery stop the phone from asking for pass word on star up and turn it off ?

Reply

No, it won't

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2021 :: 11:35 am

Taking out your battery won’t affect the security required to get into your device except, in some cases, to require you to use your PIN instead of biometric tools (fingerprint, face recognition) to unlock it.

Reply

Need to unlock my Android phone screen..

From Melissa Wipf on February 27, 2021 :: 4:38 am

The hold the volume botton down along with the power botton is for the birds. My other phone is all cracked up and I just bought this Android phone and only got it this week. Please can someone please help me restore my password

Reply

Screen lock PATTERN still required after Hardreset

From Kiana on February 28, 2021 :: 5:12 pm

Hi Josh
Thank you for the thorough explanations.

I have an HTC U11, it ran out of battery and once turned on, required the pattern to log in, which I don’t remember because I always use the fingerprint. I have already used the factory reset, but still asks for Previous Pattern. I know my Google account information but during these processes, it didn’t ask for the information, it only says: Your phone was reset to factory settings. To use this phone enter your previous pattern.

I also tried to reset it via Android Device Manager but according to the tutorial, the erase and secure options are separate, but I only have them together. And even when I click on it, it says notification sent.

What can I do to unlock my phone?

Thank you!
Kiana

Reply

That shouldn't happen

From Josh Kirschner on February 28, 2021 :: 6:59 pm

You shouldn’t see the pattern request after a full factory reset. I would recommend going through factory reset process again for your HTC U11, as I describe in the article, and see if that fixes the issue.

Reply

I did try the method

From Kiana on March 01, 2021 :: 1:46 am

I did try the method a few times, but the problem is still there.

Reply

Should I also wipe the

From Kiana on March 01, 2021 :: 1:47 am

Should I also wipe the cache? Till now I did the wipe all/factory reset.

Reply

That's odd

From Josh Kirschner on March 01, 2021 :: 10:40 am

Not sure why it is behaving that way. You can try wiping the cache, though I don’t think that will make any difference and it should have been wiped during the factory reset, anyhow.

Take a look at this YouTube video on resetting the HTC U11 and follow what he is doing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWJZxtwJpqs. Perhaps there is a step that you are missing or is different than what I laid out in the instructions above.

i read how too reset

From braeden on March 02, 2021 :: 7:43 pm

i read how too reset my phone thanks alot this is great i can get back in my phone

Reply

knowing the password

From chandan on March 05, 2021 :: 12:33 pm

my phone can be unlocked through fingerprint and face recognition, but i forgot the password what can be doneto know my phone lock password?

Reply

Biometrics won't help you

From Josh Kirschner on March 05, 2021 :: 6:09 pm

Unfortunately, if the phone is requiring a password unlock because of a reboot, biometric authentication won’t help you. You will have to follow the steps above to regain use of your device.

Reply

Umx

From Jesse Garland on March 09, 2021 :: 12:56 am

My umx says security issue,I’ve done a factory reset but still same what can I do?

Reply

Unlock infocus phone

From Dhaval Shah on March 18, 2021 :: 1:14 pm

I have forgotten my PIN of infocus phone. Please guide me how to unlock the same.

Reply

thank you very much

From ct on March 20, 2021 :: 6:32 am

Dear Mr Josh Kirschner, thank you for the very useful guide provided. I managed to unlock my phone screen.

Reply

You're welcome

From Josh Kirschner on March 21, 2021 :: 9:50 pm

Glad it worked out for you!

Reply

Find my device not working

From Moderator on March 20, 2021 :: 11:13 am

I used my friends phone to log into my account in find my device. Then it showed my phone and tapped reset everything. After i did everything they said reset was successful but your phone is offline now. I dont know the reason but my phone was on at that time but locked. Is it must that your phone is connected to wifi since my phone was not connected and i couldnt because it was locked. Please i need your help

Reply

You can't reset it if your device isn't connected

From Josh Kirschner on March 21, 2021 :: 9:54 pm

You can’t reset your device if it isn’t connected to cellular or WiFi - how would it get the command to reset from Google? If it is offline, you will need to reset it manually through recovery mode.

Reply

Forgot password to unlock screen for a Samsung phone

From Glenn Simmons on March 24, 2021 :: 4:47 am

Good day, all I really need is to recover my voice notes from my old Samsung. Afraid if I keep guessing password it will permanently lock me out.Since which I have a new phone. Gladly looking for assistance, thanks.

Reply

RLM621S

From FRANSINA on April 05, 2021 :: 11:35 pm

Facebook is a great way to success

Reply

It worked thank you

From Tristan on April 07, 2021 :: 6:41 pm

i just changed my password last night and after i woke up i forgot it
then i searched for a solution and i found this gladly

Reply

Handing down and s10 galaxy

From Javier J on April 12, 2021 :: 11:11 pm

My wife had gave my daughter a s10galaxy but she forgot her pin to open phone just want to hard reset phone but when I try to power off it takes me back to enter pin
Any suggestions

Reply

You followed steps above for Samsung?

From Josh Kirschner on April 17, 2021 :: 4:41 pm

Can you clarify - when you try to power off it asks for a PIN or when you try to power on? It should be the latter, but if you follow the steps above specifically for the Samsung S10, is it not taking you to the recovery mode menu?

Reply

Power Off

From Don Axon on April 18, 2021 :: 5:05 am

How do you power off phone, it asks for a pin, and I have forgotten it!

Also, in the section where you give directions for phones without a home button, step 2 says to hold 3 buttons, one of which is the home button, seems impossible as I don’t have one!

Reply

Hold down the power button

From Josh Kirschner on April 18, 2021 :: 10:06 am

If you hold down the power button, it should give you the power off option, even if you don’t have the pin. Else, let it run out of battery. Recharge it, then follow the recovery steps while turning it back on.

Apologies for the confusion in the steps. That should have said “Bixby” button. I fixed it in the article. Also, I found some mentions that Android 11 devices need to be powered via USB to enter recovery mode - I have not been able to test that yet.

Reply

It won't work

From Jason on April 29, 2021 :: 8:45 am

Hey, guys when I am trying to erase my phone because I forgot my password I can’t shut it down if I don’t have the password.

Reply

Need to unlock my Android phone

From Melissa Wipf on April 29, 2021 :: 10:04 am

Hey Josh I really need help with unlocking my phone. I’ve tried everything. Holding down the - volume along with the power button. Then holding down the - volume button along with the + volume button along with holding down the power button. Nothing seems to work. When I hold down the - and + volume button along with the power button all that happens the phone goes into Safe mode.

I’d be outta this world thankful if you could help me with unlocking my phone. Plus my IMEI NUMBER IS [redacted] if that helps

Reply

What model phone do you have?

From Josh Kirschner on April 29, 2021 :: 9:10 pm

It would be helpful to know your phone model since each one works slightly differently. Also, I removed the IMEI number from your post since that is a specific device identifier and it’s generally not a good idea to make that public.

Reply

I can't fastboot the phone

From Jan Yves Abalos on May 12, 2021 :: 2:39 am

I can’t fastboot the phone since it has fingerprint power button. Long pressing power and volume down leads to safe mode

Reply

How?!

From Kyla on May 19, 2021 :: 9:24 pm

It does not work. My phone keeps going back to the lock screen.

Reply

What model phone?

From Josh Kirschner on May 25, 2021 :: 2:08 pm

If you follow the steps, it shouldn’t go back to the main lock screen. What model phone do you have?

Note that when you reset it correctly, there will be a screen that asks for your previous pin, but there is an option below it to log in using your previous Google account.

Reply

Factory Reset Protection Issue on Nexus 5x

From Erik on May 24, 2021 :: 7:25 pm

I set up my Nexus 5x for my non-english speaking mother-in-law in her language, showed her how to use Google translate, and added the phone back to our Google Fi account while she was visiting in Jan of 2020. When she left I tossed it in my drawer and didn’t think about it; however, a month ago I pulled it out to set it up for my 6 year old to see if it can be used for games. I quickly realized I do not remember the pin, so I decide to hard reset the device and when it comes back up it wants….the pin due to this lovely feature I learned about called Factory Reset Protection. I attempted to log in with my Google account which failed, and through some communication hurdles I was able to get my mother-in-laws Google account info and tried logging in that way and it failed. Those were the only two accounts used on this phone. How do I get access to the device to reset it?

Reply

How is it failing?

From Josh Kirschner on May 25, 2021 :: 2:12 pm

When you say logging in with your Google account is “failing”, do you mean you don’t remember your Google passwords or you enter them correctly but you are getting an error message of some sort?

Reply

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