Smartphones require codes these days to lock and secure your important data. Facial unlock is a new element but even this feature requires an alternate PIN, pattern or passcode to unlock your Android phone. It’s good to put a few words, characters, numbers and create a strong password to save your credentials from being stolen by nefarious heads, but at times we tend to forget that mind-boggling password and voila, we lock ourselves out of our own Android device. However, there are a few ways that can help ‘restore usability’ and get back in. Here are some instructions that you can follow to be able to unlock your Android phone in case you get locked out.
You can reset your phone by using your Google account
Android devices that run Android 4.4 KitKat or below have a built-in security feature that allows you to bypass your pattern, PIN, or other password if you forget it. All you need is to simply access your Google account and reset your password. Here’s how you can do it:
1. First thing you need to ensure is that your device is connected to the Internet
2. Enter an incorrect PIN, pattern or other password a few times
3. After few failed attempts, an option will appear on the phone screen saying “forgot PIN/password”
4. Click it and you will be asked to enter the username and password of the Google account that is linked to your Android device
While it is easy to restore password on the older version of Android, this feature was removed on Android 5.0. Although this was meant to provide additional protection to safeguard your data, the simple recovery process is now down the drain. But thankfully, there are a few modern workarounds that can help get back into your device and backup your apps before wiping it off.
Android’s Smart lock is one such feature that helps to automatically unlock your phone. The option saves the problem of typing the password, PIN countlessly or even while waiting for facial recognition to work seamlessly (in a dimly-lit situation). Smart lock was introduced on Android 5.0 Lollipop OS and it has improved ever since. To enable this feature:
1. Head to the Settings menu on your phone tap on Security and then click on Smart unlock
2. You will be required to set a pattern or PIN to continue further
3. Once the feature is enabled, it will take you to next page showing four options – On-body detection (detects when the device is in your hand or pocket and keeps it unlocked), Trusted places (enables you to add location such as home or office and unlock device for extended time), Trusted devices (lets you add another device and keep your phone unlocked when it’s nearby), and Voice match (unlocks your phone with your voice command)
4. For few modes, you will have to fill the prerequisites, for instance, Trusted places require you to enable Location mode
5. The Smart Lock feature once set, you will see a ring at the bottom of your lock screen
Use Android device manager
Android Device Manager is Google’s security tool that enables you to find, locate and erase your device remotely. The tool has got a new moniker ‘Find my device’ and sits under Google Play protect parasol. With this tool, you can locate your phone and wipe your data but the caveat is you need to enable it before-hand. If you had strong notion that you will face a pitfall and you have set it up, then all you have to do is visit the Android Device Manager and follow these simple steps:
1. Log in with the Google account that you use on your Android device
2. Select the device you are locked out of and you will see three options below the Device name
3. Tap on the erase option to wipe off the content remotely
4. Your phone will then be erased completely and the lock code will be removed
If everything fails use hard reset
If these simple and easy options don’t work, then you will probably have to give up your precious data stored on your device by performing hard reset. For hard reset, you will need to Power off your phone and then press Volume Up button, home and power button simultaneously. The screen will pop up a few options; use the Volume Down key and select factory reset. Unfortunately, this will clear off all your data and you will have to set up your phone from scratch.But at least you can use your phone again.