How do you reset an Android phone if you forgot the PIN?

Forgetting the PIN to unlock an Android phone is a common issue that many users face. According to a 2021 survey, approximately 32% of mobile users rely on a PIN or numeric passcode to protect access to their device [1]. However, with frequent use over time, it’s easy to forget a 4 or 6 digit PIN. When this happens, users find themselves locked out of their own phone, unable to access contacts, photos, apps, and other data.

Being unable to unlock your Android can be incredibly frustrating. Without access to your device, simple tasks like making calls, checking email, using maps, and taking photos become impossible. While there are ways to reset the phone, doing so comes with the risk of losing personal data. Understanding the available options to unlock the device or reset it without losing data is critical.

Before Resetting

Before resetting your Android phone, first try entering your PIN again carefully, double checking that caps lock is not enabled if you have an alphanumeric PIN code. Many lock screens allow you to use a fingerprint or pattern unlock as a fallback, so you can try using those methods to unlock the phone. As a last resort before fully resetting the device, you may want to contact your carrier to see if they can unlock the phone for you, which would allow you to access it again without wiping all data. According to the article from How To Remove Password Lock From Android Phone, trying these methods first can help avoid resetting unnecessarily.

Back Up Data

It is crucial to back up your Android phone’s data before performing a factory reset. A factory reset will erase all data, settings, and apps from the device, so backing up ensures you don’t lose anything important. There are a few methods you can use to back up an Android phone.

One option is to use your Google account to backup data. Android allows you to sync settings like WiFi networks and passwords, app data, contacts, calendar events, photos, and more to your Google account. As long as you remember the Google account credentials, you can restore the data after resetting your device. To enable Google backup on your Android, go to Settings > System > Backup and tap “Back up to Google Drive.”

You can also manually backup data like photos, videos, and documents by copying them to cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox, or to a computer. Some apps like Samsung Messages let you export app data before resetting your phone.

Backing up beforehand avoids losing your personal data and memories when factory resetting your Android phone due to a forgotten PIN.

Factory Reset

A factory reset completely erases all data, settings, and apps from an Android device and restores it to its original factory settings (source: This process will wipe the phone clean and return it to the state it was in when you first took it out of the box.

Performing a factory reset will delete all apps, photos, accounts, and personal data from the device. It is an irreversible process. Therefore, before factory resetting, it is critical to backup any data you want to keep (source:

Access Recovery Mode

To access recovery mode on Android, you need to use a specific key combination when powering on your device. This Key combo varies slightly across different phone models and manufacturers.

On most Samsung Galaxy models, you can access recovery mode by pressing and holding the Volume Up, Home and Power buttons together when the phone is powered off. Keep holding the buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.

For Google Pixel phones, press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time until you see the recovery menu.

On LG phones, press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons. For Motorola phones, press Volume Down and Power.

If you are still unable to access recovery mode, there are a few troubleshooting steps to try like booting into safe mode first or letting the phone’s battery drain completely before attempting the key combo again [1].

Overall, the key is knowing the right button combination for your specific Android model. Trying a few variations can help if the stock combo doesn’t work right away.

Wipe Data

If you can’t access your phone’s settings to reset it, you can wipe your data and perform a factory reset using recovery mode. Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off your phone completely.
  2. Hold down the Volume Down button and the Power button at the same time until you see the boot up menu.
  3. Use the Volume buttons to scroll to “Wipe data/factory reset” and press the Power button to select it.
  4. Scroll down to “Yes — delete all user data” and select it to confirm.
  5. Your phone will restart and erase all data, resetting it to factory settings. You can now set up the device again.

This will delete all your personal data and reset the device. Be sure to back up anything important first. You will have to re-enter your Google account details when setting up the phone again after the reset.


Re-setup Phone

After resetting your Android device to factory settings, you will need to re-setup the device. Here are the steps:

From the welcome screen, click on the “Get Started” button. This will begin the setup process.

Select your preferred language and tap Next.

Choose your wifi network and enter the password to connect.

You may need to skip the wifi setup if you don’t have access to wifi during initial setup. In that case, continue with the onscreen prompts to setup without wifi.

Agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Choose whether to copy apps & data from another device if prompted.

Sign in with your Google Account and enter your password.

Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to finish setting up your device preferences and restore apps.

Once the setup is complete, your device will be ready to use again.

If you skipped wifi setup earlier, go into Settings and connect to a wifi network.

You can now restore your apps and data from the backup.

Restore Backups

After resetting your Android device, you’ll want to restore your data and settings from a previous backup. The easiest way is to restore a Google backup which contains your contacts, apps, and settings. Here’s how:

On the setup screen after resetting your device, select “Copy your data from an existing device” and sign into your Google account. This will restore the contacts, apps, and settings associated with that Google account (Source).

Alternatively, once your device is setup, go to Settings > System > Backup and tap “Restore from backup now.” Select the Google account backup you want to restore. This will overwrite your current device settings and data with the Google backup.

If you backed up your device locally to external storage, connect that storage to your device after resetting it. Then go to Settings > System > Backup and tap “Restore from local storage.” Select the backup file you want to restore.

Be patient as restoring a full system backup can take up to an hour. Your device may restart multiple times during the process. Once complete, your device settings and data will be restored.

Reset Google Account

If you have forgotten the password for the Google account on your Android device, you can reset the password to gain access again. Here are the steps to reset your Google password if you can no longer access the account on your Android device:

1. On another device where you are still logged into your Google account, go to the Google Account recovery page at

2. Select “Reset your password.” Follow the instructions to reset your Google password.

3. Once your password has been reset, you will be able to sign in to your Google account on your Android device using the new password.

4. If you cannot reset your password because you no longer have access to the recovery email or phone number, you will need to go through the Google account recovery process. This involves proving you are the account owner by providing information like the last password you remember and any other emails/phone numbers you have access to that were previously associated with the account. More details can be found at

Resetting your Google password will allow you to access your account again on your Android device after forgetting your previous password. Just be sure to update the password anywhere else you may have used it as well.


In conclusion, if you have forgotten your Android PIN and need to reset your device, there are a few key steps to follow:

First, back up your data if possible, so you don’t lose anything important. Then, access your device’s recovery mode and perform a factory reset or wipe data to erase everything on the phone.

Once the reset is complete, you can re-setup the device as new and restore any backups you made. Finally, you may need to reset your Google account password if you don’t remember it.

Resetting your Android device to factory default settings will erase all your personal data and customized settings. However, it can be a useful troubleshooting step if you are locked out of your phone or need to solve persistent software issues. Just be sure to backup important data first.