What to Do if You Forget Your Android Phone Password

What to Do if You Forget Your Android Phone Password


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Updated on 1/26/2023 with current instructions for resetting phones and a new screenshot

If you forget your Android lock screen password, is there a way to unlock your phone? The short answer is no – you will have to factory reset your device to be able to use your phone again. And because all recent versions of Android encrypt the data on your phone by default, there is no way to recover any photos, contacts, or other data that you haven’t backed up to your Google account; they will be gone forever after the reset. However, at least your phone will be unlocked, and you’ll be able to use it again.

Hand holding phone showing a Wrong Pin notification

There are two ways to factory reset an Android phone if you’ve forgotten the password and can’t get past the lock screen. The first is to use Google’s Find My Device, which allows you to erase your phone online remotely. If you don’t have Find My Device turned on (it should be on by default), you’ll have to use the second method, Android’s “Recovery Mode.”

It’s critical to note that resetting your phone through either of these methods will require you to know your Google account and password that was used to set up the phone. If you don’t have this information, the device will be permanently locked. This security measure is in place to prevent thieves from using your device after factory resetting it.

How to reset your Android phone through Find My Device

  1. Go to android.com/find. If you’re not already, sign into the Google account that is the main profile on your device. And if you have more than one device, select the phone you want to erase at the top left of the screen.
  2. Select “Erase device.”
  3. Click the “Erase device” button.
  4. Follow the steps to set up your phone again – note that you will need to verify the Google account information you originally used to set up the phone in order to proceed with setting up the device.

Google Find My Device screenshot showing a map with the location of a Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the option to Play Sound, Secure Device, and Erase Device.

How to reset your Android phone through Recovery Mode

The steps to enter Recovery Mode varies by manufacturer, but I’ll provide instructions for the major ones below.

How to reset stock Android phones (Google Pixel phones):

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons for 10 to 15 seconds.
  3. Use the Volume up and Volume down buttons to navigate through the menu options until you get to “Recovery Mode,” then press the Power Button to select it.
  4. You’ll see the words No command.
  5. Press and hold the Power button, then press the Volume up button.
  6. A new menu will pop up. Use the Volume buttons to scroll to “Wipe data/factory reset” and use the Power button to select it.
  7. Use the volume buttons to scroll to “Factory data reset” and press the Power button to select it.
  8. When the reset is finished, you’ll see “Data wipe complete.” Using the volume buttons, scroll to and select “Reboot system now” and use the Power button to select it.

How to reset HTC phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume down button, then press the Power button (for some HTC models, it’s the volume up button).
  3. Continue to hold the Volume button until you see a menu.
  4. Use the Volume buttons to select “Factory reset” and use the Power button to select it.
  5. If you are prompted to confirm the factory rest, use the Volume buttons to select “Yes” and press the Power button to select.

How to reset Huawei phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up and Power buttons until your phone goes into Recovery mode. (If your phone doesn’t have physical volume buttons, press the Power button five times after the phone vibrates while powering on.)
  3. Use the Volume buttons or touchscreen to select the option to clear data. If you’re using the buttons, use the Power button to select it.
  4. Use the Volume buttons to select “restore your device to its factory settings” and use the Power button to select it.
  5. Once your phone is restored to factory settings, you’ll see the Recovery screen. Select the option to restart your device.

How to reset Motorola phones:

  1. Hold down the Power button to power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down button and the Power button.
  3. When the boot menu appears, use the Volume buttons to scroll to “Recovery Mode” and use the Power button to select it.
  4. Select “Factory data reset” using the volume buttons and press the Power button to select it.
  5. Select “Reboot system now” and press the Power button.

How to reset Samsung phones:

  1. Power down your phone by waiting for it to run out of battery. (You can’t power down your phone when it’s locked without inputting your password.)
  2. For Samsung phones without a Home button or separate Power button (such as the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S21, Note10, Note20, Fold, and Z Flip), press and hold the Volume up button and side buttons until you feel the device vibrate and you see the Samsung logo. For Samsung phones with a separate Power button (Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S10), press and hold the Volume up button, Power button, and Bixby button until your phone vibrates and goes into Recovery mode. For Samsung phones with a physical Home button (including the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7), Press and hold the Volume up, Home, and Power buttons until your phone vibrates, and then release just the Power button.
  3. A screen with the recovery menu will appear. When you see this, release the remaining buttons.
  4. Use the Volume buttons to highlight ‘Wipe data/factory reset.’ Press the Power button to select. Press the Power button again to select “Yes,” “Yes – delete all user data,” or “Factory data reset.”

    Note: Samsung reports that for some devices running Android 11, you will need to connect your phone to power via USB to go into recovery mode.

[Image credit: Josh Kirschner/Techlicious, screenshot via Techlicious]

Josh Kirschner is the co-founder of Techlicious and has been covering consumer tech for more than a decade. Josh started his first company while still in college, a consumer electronics retailer focused on students. His writing has been featured in Today.com, NBC News and Time.





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