These days, it seems like more and more of our lives are contained in our smartphones. These devices are incredibly versatile tools that we use for everything from social media and work emails to GPS and fitness tracking.
The more we use our phones for, the more important it becomes to ensure the security of the information they contain. To that end, manufacturers have come up with various and ever-evolving ways of checking users’ identity and locking out intruders.
Unfortunately, these vital safety measures can become a hassle if we forget our password, PIN or the pattern we use to unlock our phones. In such situations, there are a few things you can try before resorting to a full-scale factory reset.
The Android Smart Lock feature
Android phones have a Smart Lock feature that gives you the ability to set certain conditions that will cause your device to unlock automatically. Possible conditions include:
- On-body detection: Once you’ve entered your PIN or password once, your phone will stay unlocked while you’re carrying it around.
- Trusted devices: Select devices you trust that have Bluetooth connectivity (e.g. your car, laptop, fitness tracker, etc.). Your phone will remain unlocked while connected to these devices.
- Trusted places: Select locations you trust (e.g. your home or office) and your phone will remain unlocked while there.
- Voice match and trusted face: Voice and facial recognition used to be Smart Lock options, but they were discontinued with Android 8. Facial recognition is still available as a separate option.
Of course, there are drawbacks to the Smart Lock feature. First of all, it needs to be set up in advance, so if you forget your password before you get the chance to activate it, you’re out of luck. Furthermore, you need to enter your current password in order to change the Smart Lock and password settings, so if you’ve forgotten it, there’s a limit to what you can do.
How to unlock a Samsung phone
People who own a Samsung phone will be glad to know that the manufacturer provides an easy, effective way for you to change your password. As long as you’re signed into your Samsung account on your device, you can use the Samsung Find My Mobile website to sign in and unlock your phone, which will delete all previous unlocking methods (password, PIN, pattern, biometrics) and allow you to create new ones.
Solutions for older versions of Android
There are a few ways to unlock your device that have been discontinued but will still work for older versions of Android.
Google’s ‘Find My Device’ service
Like the Samsung-specific method explained above, there are services meant for lost or stolen phones that you can use to unlock your device in some cases. If your phone is running Android 7.1.1 or lower, you can use Google’s ‘Find My Device’ service to unlock it, as long as it’s logged into a Google account.
Simply go to the website, sign into your Google account and select your device. You’ll see ‘Ring’, ‘Lock’ and ‘Erase’ options. Select ‘Lock’, and you will be prompted to enter a temporary password that you can then use to unlock your phone.
The ‘Forgot Password’ option
Phones running Android 4.4 and older come equipped with an easy way to bypass your password, PIN or pattern. Once you’ve entered an incorrect passcode 5 times on the lock screen, a ‘forgot password’ prompt will appear. If you tap it, you will be able to get in by entering the username and password of the Google account associated with your device.
How to avoid getting locked out of your phone
When it comes to forgetting your phone password, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s best to take preventive measures to ensure that you never find yourself completely locked out of your phone. Here are some strategies you can implement to avoid the situation:
- Set up biometric identification on your device for a reliable, forgetfulness-proof way of getting in.
- Have multiple ways of logging into your device.
- Enable at least one Smart Lock option.
- Keep a physical copy of your passcode in a secure place.
- Make sure you’re signed into your Google account (and Samsung account if applicable).
- Always back up your device so that you can recover your data if a factory reset ends up being your only option.
Great tips and even better phones from Recycell!
Recycell specializes in recycling, refurbishing and reselling used phones. Our experts know every trick in the book to get devices back in working order! Check out the blog section of our website for more helpful phone tips, and if you find yourself in need of a replacement, look no further than our used phone store!