Although the vast majority of Android phones today include a fingerprint reader and face unlock, it may be that you have not configured either of the two systems and use the classic PIN, your point pattern or password. If so, you run the risk of forgetting it and having to find a solution to access the mobile again.
It will be more or less complicated depending on the version of the operating system you use, but we already anticipate that you will most likely have to reset the phone from the factory to be able to reset unlock code. Be that as it may, we are going to see the two possible cases and what options you have.
If you have Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher
Let’s start with the most likely and, unfortunately, most complicated case: you have Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher (i.e. 6 Marhsmallow, 7 Nougat, 8 Oreo, 9 Pie, 10 or Android 11). If you don’t know which version of Android you use on your mobile, here we show you how to find out.
With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google got rid of the system that I used your Google account to get the phone back in case you have forgotten your PIN code or password. That is both good and bad. Well, because it secures your data and prevents a third party from being able to forcibly unlock your mobile. Bad, because it forces you to do a factory reset to be able to recover the phone if all the options fail.
Smart Lock can save you from resetting if you previously set it
But before we reset, let’s try a couple of things. Do you remember activating Google Smart Lock? This system was implemented in Android 5.0 Lollipop (and from then on) and allows bypass phone lock when we are in a specific location, near a trusted device or when it detects our voice. If you set it up at the time, you might have a way out there. If you haven’t, you already have a reason to do it when you get your phone back.
Another option is use manufacturer’s tools. Companies like Samsung allow you to unlock your screen using Find My Mobile from a web browser. You just have to log in with the same Samsung account that you entered on your phone and select the appropriate option. If you have a Samsung mobile, it is an option to consider.
If neither option works, tap factory reset
If you did not set up Google Smart Lock and there is no manufacturer tool that allows you to unlock the phone screen, touch to reset the factory mobile. Remember that this will erase all the data on the mobile, so it is better to have made a complete backup before. You can reset it remotely if the phone is connected to the Internet. For it:
- Go to the “Find my device” website and log in with the same Google account that you set up your phone with.
- In the list of mobiles that will appear, find and select yours.
- Click on “Consider deleting the device’s content.”
- Select “Yes, delete”.
When you do this, the phone will reset automatically erasing all the content inside (whatever is on the SD card, if there is one inside, will stay where it is). When it’s done, you’ll simply have to enter your Google account again and set it up like you did when you took it out of the box. If the mobile does not have access to the Internet, you will have to do it manually using the Recovery mode.
If you have Android 4.4 KitKat or lower
Let’s continue with the least likely case: that you have Android 4.4 KitKat (the version of Android that was released in October 2013) or an earlier version. We say that it is unlikely because only 10.4% of Android devices globally have some of the old versions of Android. The most normal thing is that you have Android 8 Oreo or 9 Pie, especially if you bought your phone between 2017 and 2019, ergo you will have to use the process in the previous section.
It would be weird if your mobile has Android 4.4 KitKat or an earlier version
But suppose the stars have aligned and, for whatever reason, you have Android 4.4 KitKat or lower. To get the phone back, you simply have to enter the wrong PIN or password five times in a row. When you do this, the mobile will show the option “Forgot your password” and will allow you to log into your Google account and receive a code.
Enter your Google account and enter the code that you will have received by mail. That should be enough to access the phone, back up all your data, and then yes, reset the phone in order to reset the PIN or password. If you don’t, you will have to resort to this system every time you lock the screen.