Tuesday , October 27 2020

How Do I Unlock My Android Phone If the Screen Is Shattered?

Here’s a pop quiz. You drop your phone. When you pick it up, you notice that you’ve shattered the screen. Do you:

(a) Use unkind words to express your disappointment at your clumsiness

(b) Lament never setting up fingerprint or face authentication for your device

(c) Ponder how you’re going to access your phone’s contents, now that you can’t use the screen

(d) Ponder how much spending money you have left this month to buy a fancy new phone

(e) All of the above

I don’t want to put words in Lifehacker reader Dominique’s mouth, but I suspect she at started with (a), moved on to (c), and likely surrendered to (e). We’ve all been there.

It’s no fun to shatter your phone’s screen. While you probably won’t have much in the way of data loss to deal with if you’ve been good about backing up your device, I suspect that many people don’t back up content like their text messages unless their phones do it for them (even then, are you only backing up texts, or including multimedia as well?)

And if you’ve been lax about backing up your photos, or if there are files on your Android—and only your Android—when your device kisses pavement, I can feel your anxiety mounting from here. And that’s probably what Dominique is experiencing right now, in fact. She writes:

There are two obvious methods to access your Android no matter what you did to the screen. I just tested the first (and easiest), and it worked like a charm, though you’ll probably need to run to your favorite local retailer (or Amazon) to pick up a small piece of equipment.

Here’s what you have to do: Look at your phone’s connector. You’re going to want to get an adapter that plugs into that connector—USB of some sort if you’re on Android, and either USB-C or Lightening on iPhone. In your case, you’ll need a USB-C (male) to USB-A (female) adapter, which looks a little something like this:

You’ll plug that into your phone, and then plug a regular ol’ computer mouse directly in the open end. (Yes, using the “male” and “female” naming conventions feels incredibly outdated.)

Once you’ve done that, your phone should immediately recognize your mouse as an input device. You’ll then be able to use it much as you would your finger—pulling up your PIN input, clicking on the numbers, and doing everything else you would normally do on your Android. My advice? Use it to email yourself whatever you might want to access on your phone. That, or make a solid backup of your device (remembering to save any texted photos or videos separately, or use an app that can back up text and media) while you ponder what you’re going to do about your shattered device.

If you happen to have a USB-C hub with multiple USB-A ports, you can plug in both a mouse and keyboard to make this process even easier.

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