How can I recover data from my Samsung phone with a broken screen?

A broken or cracked screen is one of the most common issues with smartphones. It can occur from dropping your phone, having it get stepped on, or hitting it against a hard surface. Once the screen is damaged, it often becomes unresponsive or difficult to use.

While a cracked screen is frustrating, the bigger issue is the data trapped inside your now unusable phone. Your photos, videos, contacts, notes, and other personal information is inaccessible with a broken screen. Recovering this data from the internal memory or SD card is crucial.

In this guide, we’ll walk through various methods to retrieve your data from a Samsung phone with a broken screen. With the right tools and techniques, you can successfully back up your files before attempting any repairs. Keep reading to learn how to rescue your valuable data.

Assess the Damage

Before attempting data recovery on a phone with a broken screen, it’s important to assess the extent of the damage. There are a few main types of screen damage to look out for:

Screen cracks – One of the most common issues is cracked glass on the screen surface. Screen cracks occur when a device is dropped or impacted, resulting in fractures across the glass The screen may still function with cracks, but it’s prone to spreading.

Display failure – More severe damage can cause the screen display to stop working entirely. This may be due to damage to the LCD display panel or other internal components. The phone may still power on, but the screen remains black and unresponsive.

Digitizer issues – The digitizer is the touch-sensitive layer of the screen. If it’s damaged, the display may still show visuals but won’t respond to touch input. This makes it impossible to unlock or navigate the phone.

Identifying whether the issue is a broken screen or display failure is important for recovery. With a cracked but working display, data may still be accessible by interacting with the touchscreen. But a non-functioning black display will require alternative methods to get the data off the device.

Back Up Data First

Before attempting any repair or data recovery process on a Samsung device with a broken screen, it is crucial to back up your data first. This ensures you have a copy of your important files, photos, videos, contacts, and other irreplaceable information in case the repair does not go as planned.

Luckily, Samsung makes it easy to fully back up your phone’s data using Samsung Smart Switch. As recommended by Samsung support (source), you can back up to either your computer or external storage using a USB cable. Smart Switch will transfer contacts, messages, photos, videos, calendar events, and more.

To back up via computer, download Smart Switch on both your PC and Samsung phone. Connect them via USB cable, select the data to transfer, and hit “Back Up” to create a backup file on your computer (source). You can also use Smart Switch to restore the data to the same or a new phone later.

Backing up beforehand avoids losing your personal data permanently if the repair goes wrong. With your files safely stored, you can proceed with more confidence.

Remove SIM and SD Card

Before attempting to recover any data, it’s important to first safely remove the SIM card and SD card from the damaged Samsung device. This allows you to access the data stored on those cards using another working device.

To remove the SIM card, you’ll need to locate the SIM card tray, usually found on the side or top edge of the phone. Use a SIM card removal tool or a paperclip to gently press into the small hole next to the tray to release it. Slide out the SIM card. Avoid using excessive force and prying tools that could further damage the phone body.

For the SD card, open the device per manufacturer instructions to locate the card slot, avoiding areas with broken glass. Use a fingernail to gently extract the memory card. SD cards are fragile, so take care not to bend or scratch the contacts.

Once removed, you can insert the SIM and SD card into another phone or card reader connected to a computer to access the data. Back up any important files before attempting data recovery methods. Be sure to safely store the cards so you can reinstall them later if the damaged device is repaired. For more details, see Samsung’s guide on installing and removing SIM and SD cards.

Connect to PC

One way to recover data from a Samsung phone with a broken screen is to connect it to a computer via a USB cable. This allows you to access the files on your phone through your computer rather than through the phone’s screen.

First, locate a USB cable that is compatible with your Samsung device, such as the cable that came with your phone. With the phone turned on, plug the USB cable into your phone and connect it to your computer. Your computer should detect the connected device.

However, if USB debugging was not already enabled on your phone prior to the screen breaking, you will need to enable it to access your data. Since the touchscreen is broken, you can use a mouse connected to your computer to enable USB debugging remotely:

1. On your computer, open the Smart Switch app [1]. Smart Switch will detect your connected Samsung device.

2. Follow the on-screen instructions to enter your phone’s PIN to confirm the connection. This will enable USB debugging.

3. Once USB debugging is enabled, your phone’s data and internal storage will show up on your computer as external drives. You can now access photos, videos, documents, contacts, app data, and other files to back them up.

With a USB connection, you can preview and recover data from a Samsung device even with a cracked or damaged screen. Just be sure to enable USB debugging first if you had not already.

Use ADB and Fastboot

One method to recover data from a Samsung phone with a broken screen is by using Android Debug Bridge (ADB) and fastboot tools. ADB allows you to send commands to your device to copy data, while fastboot gives access to bootloader modes.

First, install the ADB and fastboot tools on your computer. You can download the Android SDK platform-tools package to get them. Next, enable USB debugging on your phone if it’s not already enabled by going to Settings > Developer options.

Then, boot your phone into fastboot mode by holding Volume Down + Power. Connect the phone to your PC using a USB cable. Verify that your PC detects your device by running adb devices in a terminal.

Now you can use ADB pull commands to copy data folders from your phone to your computer. For example:

  • adb pull /sdcard/DCIM/Camera . – Copies your camera photos and videos
  • adb pull /sdcard/Music . – Copies your music files
  • adb pull /sdcard/Download . – Copies your downloads folder

Run these commands from your computer’s terminal to extract the data folders you need. With some patience, you can recover a large amount of data using just ADB and fastboot.

Try Data Recovery Software

If you can’t access your Samsung phone’s data directly, you can try using third-party data recovery software like Dr.Fone and EaseUS. These tools can scan your Samsung device and extract data even with a broken screen.

To use Dr.Fone for data recovery:

  1. Download and install Dr.Fone on your computer.
  2. Connect your Samsung device via USB cable.
  3. Allow USB debugging if prompted.
  4. Select “Recover” and the data types to scan.
  5. Dr.Fone will scan your device and list the recoverable data.
  6. Preview and select the data to recover.
  7. Choose a location on your computer to save the recovered data.

EaseUS has a similar straightforward process. These tools provide an easy way to recover data from your Samsung device even with screen damage, as long as the phone can be detected by your computer.

Use Cloud Backup

One of the easiest ways to recover data from a Samsung phone with a broken screen is to access and download a cloud backup. Before your phone screen was damaged, hopefully you had enabled automatic backups to a cloud storage service like Samsung Cloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox. As long as the phone’s data connection is still working, it should continue backing up data in the background.

To access your Samsung Cloud backup, go to Find My Mobile on a computer, sign in with your Samsung account, and click “Back up.” You can then select which data to download like photos, messages, contacts, etc. For Google Drive, simply visit to access your backup. Download any important files you need to recover.

The key is having an existing cloud backup that was syncing regularly before your phone screen broke. As long as you can still sign in from another device, you should be able to recover the majority of your lost data this way.

Take to Repair Shop

If you don’t feel comfortable attempting data recovery yourself, taking your phone to a professional repair shop is an option. Many repair shops offer data recovery services performed by technicians who specialize in retrieving data from damaged devices.

The cost for professional data recovery can range widely depending on the device, damage, and amount of data to be recovered. According to Yelp, costs typically range from $200-$1600. Shops like Geek Squad offer diagnostics starting at $49.99 before providing a recovery quote.

While repair shops can retrieve your data, there are risks to consider. The repair process may overwrite or further damage data if not done properly. Also, some shops charge fees even if the data is unrecoverable. To avoid surprises, get a written quote for services and understand any guarantees before authorizing work.

Data Recovery Success

After following the steps outlined in this guide, you should have a high chance of successfully recovering data from your Samsung phone with a broken screen. Professional data recovery services report success rates between 80-95% [1]. This means they are usually able to recover at least some of the data on devices. However, there are a few final tips to keep in mind for maximizing your chances of full data recovery:

First, make sure to follow all the steps carefully and in order. Backing up data first, removing the SIM and SD card, trying ADB and recovery software, and finally taking it to a repair shop cover all the bases. Don’t skip steps in the process.

Second, act quickly if possible. The longer you wait to attempt data recovery, the more likely data may be overwritten or corrupted on the device. Time is of the essence.

Third, only let trusted professionals handle disassembling your device and extracting data directly from it. DIY tampering could make things worse.

Finally, be prepared that even professional services cannot guarantee full data recovery, especially if the phone screen and internal hardware are badly damaged. But following the right process maximizes your chances.

With some care and effort, you should be able to recover your lost data from the broken Samsung device. Just be sure to back up regularly in the future to avoid needing to go through this process again!

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