It’s probably fair to say that at one point or another we’ve all found ourselves in the position of forgetting the lock screen code that has been set up on our smartphone or tablet. If you’re one of the millions of individuals from around the world who prefer the Android experience over all others then it can be even more problematic and confusing if you happen to have a lapse of memory; was it a numeric PIN code? Was it an alpha-numeric password? Was it a lock screen pattern? Whatever it was, it’s generally a good idea to try and remember it, but all is not lost if you don’t, thanks to some of Android’s built-in recovery methods.
The guide will be split into three parts; one strictly for Android 4.4 and below, one for most Android versions via Android Device Manager, and one for Samsung Android devices only.
Android 5.x / 6.x and up:
These steps will assume that you already have Android Device Manager enabled on your phone or tablet.
Step 1: Using a computer, visit the following URL: google.com/android/devicemanager.
Step 2: Now sign in using the same Google account that your device is associated with.
Step 3: Once you have logged into the ADM website, simply select your device if it isn’t selected by default.
Step 4: You will now see three buttons: Ring, Lock, and Erase.
Step 5: Select Lock, and in the resulting window, enter in the New Password, followed by confirming the password, and hitting the Lock button.
Step 6: Your device’s display will now show you a password field. Enter in the new password, which should unlock your device.
Once done, head over to the lock screen settings on your device and disable this temporary password.
Android 4.4 and below:
Step 1: You will most likely be aware that entering your passcode, pattern lock, or password incorrectly a set number of times will force the Android OS to essentially lock you out of your device for a defined period of time; usually 20-30 seconds. If you’ve forgotten the access credentials then unfortunately this is a necessary, time-consuming evil. You will need to repeat this erroneous process 5 times by entering the incorrect passcode again and again until it locks you out.
Step 2: On the 5th attempt, you will notice that Android will get a little fed up of locking you out of the device and display the “forgot pattern”, “forgot PIN” or “forgot password” button. Tap the button.
Step 3: You will now be presented with a Google sign-in form, so fill it out with your Google account credentials just like you did when you set up your Android device for the first time.
Step 4: Now head on over to your Gmail inbox from a different device. This can be a smartphone, tablet, desktop, or a laptop computer. Open the confirmation email that Google has issued to that address.
Step 5: From the email, confirm that it was indeed you, the owner of the device, who has had the lock screen mishap. Google will then allow you to reset the password.
It’s worth noting that you do need to be conscious of just how many times you go through this process as Google doesn’t let you have an infinite number of resets. If you reset your password or passcode, then remember it.
Samsung Android devices only:
The above mentioned methods will likely work for Android-powered Samsung devices as well, but if they fails for whatever reason then there is another way available on Samsung Android devices.
Step 1: If you have a Samsung Account then you’ll no doubt already be aware that you have access to a Samsung tool called “Find My Mobile”. Head over to the following URL using a tablet or computer: findmymobile.samsung.com.
Step 2: Log in with your Samsung Account credentials.
Step 3: Once logged in, select the “Unlock my screen” from the left panel followed by clicking the Unlock button.
As long as your Android-powered Samsung device is connected to either a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection and has Internet access, the “Unlock my screen” will invoke a popup.
Step 4: Click the “OK” button to process the action and unlock your Samsung device remotely.
You are then free to create an entirely new passcode on the device that you’ll actually remember.
If none of the above mentioned methods worked for you then unfortunately your best bet is to perform a complete factory reset of your device.