What to do if your phone is locked and you forgot the password?

Having a locked phone with a forgotten password is a common problem that many phone users face. While it can be frustrating, there are several methods you can use to unlock your phone and regain access to your data.

Try unlocking your phone with facial recognition or fingerprint

If you have set up facial recognition or a fingerprint to unlock your phone, try using that to unlock it. Hold your phone up to your face to scan your facial features or place your registered finger on the fingerprint scanner. This will unlock your phone without needing the numeric password.

Use your Google or Apple account

If you have an Android device, try signing into your Google account. This should prompt you to enter your Google password instead and may allow you to bypass entering the lock screen password. For an iPhone, you can use your Apple ID in the same way.

Reset your password if you remember your account details

If you have the username and password for the accounts on your locked phone, you may be able to reset the password online. For example, reset your Google password if you have an Android or your iCloud password if you have an iPhone. After resetting your password, your phone should allow you back in when you enter the new password.

Attempt device unlocking software or apps

There are various software programs and apps you can download to your PC or another mobile device that are designed to unlock phones. Examples for Android include Dr.Fone and FonePaw Android Unlock. For iPhone, try software like iMyFone LockWiper. These tools can bypass locks and passwords through data cables and Wi-Fi connections.

Perform a factory reset

Resetting your device to factory default settings will completely erase the data on your phone, but also reset the lock screen password. You can perform a factory reset by accessing the recovery menu. On Android devices, this is usually done by some combination of holding the Volume Down, Power, and Home buttons. On an iPhone, quickly press and release the Volume Up button followed by Volume Down then press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery mode screen.

Contact your manufacturer

If none of the previous methods work, you can contact your device manufacturer directly. Calling Apple or Google support or taking your phone to a retailer like the Apple store or Verizon store may allow them to unlock your phone for you. However, this typically requires providing proof of ownership of the device.

Take it to a phone repair shop

Phone repair shops may have additional methods or software to unlock your device for a fee. They can bypass locks and reset passwords without deleting data. However, the success often depends on the make and model of your phone.

Use Find My Device or Find My iPhone

Google’s Find My Device and Apple’s Find My iPhone allow you to remotely erase your locked phone after entering your Google or Apple ID credentials. While this will delete your data, it will also remove the unknown password and allow you to access your phone again. You can then restore your data from the cloud backup.

Unlock with Google Account recovery information

If you remember your Google Account username/email and can access your recovery phone number or email, you may be able to sign in and unlock your Android device. Go through Google’s account recovery process and if successful, your device may allow you to unlock it without the previous lock screen password.

Unlock with your SIM PIN

If you know the PIN for your SIM card, you may be able to unlock your phone by entering it when prompted after restarting your phone. The SIM PIN unlocks the SIM card, which in turn can bypass the unknown phone lock screen password on some devices.

Use lock screen password extractions apps

For Android devices, apps like Lost Android can view the passwords of recently used Wi-Fi networks on your lock screen. Connecting to one of those Wi-Fi networks from another device and using the password may allow you to unlock your phone.

Create a new user profile

Some Android devices will allow you to create an entirely new user profile even if your phone is locked. This starts fresh with a new lock screen that you can set up with a new password. You’ll lose access to your original data, but can at least use the phone again. Access the user profiles by quickly pressing the Volume Down button when your locked phone restarts.

Use Emergency Call to unlock

Android devices allow you to access the emergency call screen even if your phone is locked. Call an emergency number, then cancel the call. This may then allow you to access the phone including the lock screen to enter another password.


Being locked out of your mobile phone due to a forgotten password can be extremely inconvenient. However, there are a number of different methods you can try to regain access, ranging from using your accounts to resetting your device. With some time and patience, you should be able to find a solution that works for your specific situation. If all else fails, contacting the manufacturer or taking it to a repair shop may be the only options left, but should allow you to use your phone again.

Method Works on Data Loss Risk
Facial/Fingerprint Unlock Android, iPhone None
Google/Apple Account Android, iPhone None
Reset Password Android, iPhone None
Unlock Apps/Software Android, iPhone Low
Factory Reset Android, iPhone High
Manufacturer Support Android, iPhone Low-Moderate
Phone Repair Shop Android, iPhone Low
Find My Device Android, iPhone High
Google Account Recovery Android None
SIM PIN Android, iPhone None
Password Extraction Apps Android None
New User Profile Android High
Emergency Call Android None

This table summarizes the various methods, which devices they work for, and the potential risk to your data for each option. As you can see, there are many options to get back into a locked phone, some which do not put your data at risk. Evaluating the pros and cons of each approach can help you pick the best solution for your situation.

Using Facial Recognition or Fingerprint Unlock

One of the simplest ways to regain access to your locked phone is by using biometric authentication if you have it set up. Both Android and iPhones allow you to register your face or fingerprints to unlock your device. If you forget your numeric password, you may still be able to unlock your phone this way as an alternative. Simply hold your phone up to your face to scan if you have facial recognition enabled or touch the fingerprint sensor if you have a fingerprint registered. As long as your biometric data is still stored, your phone should unlock without requiring your password.

Signing In With Your Google or Apple Account

Your phone is likely linked to your Google or Apple ID. On Android devices, when your lock screen appears, look for an option that says “Forgot password?” or something similar. This should let you sign in with your Google Account username and password instead. For iPhones, look for an option to enter your Apple ID. Signing into your connected account bypasses the need to enter your lock screen password and grants you access your phone.

Resetting Your Password Through Account Recovery

If you can remember the username and password to the Google or Apple ID on your locked phone, you may be able to unlock it by resetting your password. Go to the Google or Apple account recovery page on another device and enter your account email and recovery information. If you can successfully reset your password, your locked phone will usually allow you to enter the new password instead and regain access.

Using Device Unlock Software or Apps

Specialized unlocking apps and software exist that can bypass locked phones under certain conditions. Options like Dr.Fone and iMyFone LockWiper allow you to connect your locked phone to a computer and use advanced techniques to reset the password or disable the lock. The advantage of these tools is that they typically do not erase your data in the process. However, their success depends on specific makes/models and they often require technical knowledge to use effectively.

Performing a Factory Reset

Resetting your phone back to original factory settings through the recovery menu will completely wipe your device, but also remove any password or PIN lock. The downside is losing your data, but the benefit is regaining access so you can start fresh. Use this method only as a last resort after backing up data if possible. Instructions for factory reset can be found in your device user manual.

Contacting Apple, Google, or Your Carrier for Support

Calling your device manufacturer for assistance with an unknown password or lock is often effective. Apple, Google, Samsung and other brands have dedicated support teams to help unlock phones remotely or provide instructions. Your mobile carrier like Verizon or AT&T may also be able to assist. However, you will likely need to confirm ownership of the device by providing details only you would know or submitting legal documents.

Taking Your Phone to a Repair Shop

Cell phone and electronics repair shops have extensive experience with unlocking phones, bypassing forgotten passwords, and performing data recovery. While success depends on your specific model, shops with qualified technicians can often find solutions where DIY efforts have failed. This option costs money, but works quickly and minimizes data loss risk.

Using Find My Device or Find My iPhone

Google and Apple provide services called Find My Device and Find My iPhone respectively that allow you to remotely erase the contents of your phone if lost or stolen. You can activate this from any web browser after entering your account credentials. Using these services on your locked device will delete all your data, but also remove the unknown password allowing you to access it again. You can then restore a cloud backup.

Using Google Account Recovery Information

For Android users, if you remember your Google Account username and password recovery phone number or email, you may be able to unlock your phone through Google’s account recovery process, even with an unknown password lock enabled. Follow the on-screen prompts and if successful, your device will give you access again without data loss.

Entering Your SIM PIN to Unlock

Every SIM card has a PIN number associated with it that you can use to unlock it. Restarting your phone and entering the SIM PIN when prompted instead of your lock screen password can work to bypass the password on some phones. Refer to your SIM card documentation for the default PIN number provided with it.

Using Lock Screen Password Extraction Apps

Certain apps available for Android like Lost Android allow you to view the Wi-Fi passwords saved on your lock screen. If you connect to one of those Wi-Fi networks from another device, entering that password during the Wi-Fi setup process on your locked phone may allow you to bypass the lock screen completely.

Creating a New User Profile

On some Android phones, you may be able to create an entirely new user profile even when your phone is locked. This starts fresh with a new lock screen that you control. Although you’ll lose access to your original data, you’ll be able to use your phone again. Access the user profiles menu by pressing Volume Down when powered off.

Using Emergency Call to Access Options

Even with a lock screen password set, Android allows you to access emergency calling. Make a call to an emergency number, then cancel it. You may then be able to access your lock screen to enter an alternative password or access options to reset the phone.

Preventing a Locked Out Phone in the Future

While the methods above can help you get back into your locked device, the best solution is avoiding being locked out entirely. Follow these tips to prevent a future locked-out situation:

  • Do not set excessively complex PINs or passwords you can’t remember.
  • Write down passwords and keep them in a secure place in case you forget them.
  • Set up biometric unlocking like fingerprints or facial recognition.
  • Create a cloud or computer backup you can restore data from in case you need to wipe your phone.
  • Enable automatic backups to services like iCloud or Google Drive.
  • Know your Google, Apple, or Samsung account recovery options.
  • Keep your phone manufacturer’s customer support number handy.

Being prepared with passwords recorded, biometric unlocking configured, and data backed up can prevent you from ever getting completely locked out of your mobile device.


Finding yourself locked out of your smartphone due to a forgotten passcode can be stressful. However, there are many different options you can try to regain access and use your phone again. From leveraging biometric unlocks, password resets, unlocking software, factory resets, enlisting technical support, and more, solutions exist for both Android and iPhone users. With some time and creativity, you should be able to find a method that works for your situation. Being prepared with backups and account recovery options enabled can also greatly reduce the impact of a locked device.