Locked out of my smartphone
Locked out of your smartphone? It's not a situation that any of us would want to face. In today’s complex world of PIN numbers, passwords and security codes it can be all too easy to misremember, or even forget these completely. The question is, what can you do next?
The answer to that question depends very much on the Operating System that your smartphone runs. Let us take a few moments and look at each in turn, to see what options are available to you.
Once a password is set on an iPhone there is nothing that can be done to get round it. By default, you are not limited in the number of attempts you can make at entering it, but if you are unable to get past that point, the handset must be reset. This is not just as simple as plugging the handset into iTunes and clicking the Restore button, because you will then be prompted for the password. The handset must be put into a special mode called Device Firmware Upgrade mode in order for the reset to complete.
To put an iPhone into Device Firmware Upgrade mode:
- Turn it off
- Hold down the Power button for 3 seconds
- Press and hold the Power and Home buttons together, for about 10 seconds
- Let go of Power, still holding Home for an additional 15 seconds
Once the handset has been reset, you can restore your backed up data to the device. It is worth bearing in mind that any iCloud or iTunes backups made while the password is on the phone will require the password to restore them. For this reason, it may be beneficial to take a manual backup through iTunes of your handset without a password on, just in case the unforeseen happens. To find out how to do this, read the backup section of ouriPhone setup guide.
One key feature of Google’s Android Operating System is that it embeds a Gmail account to the handset to backup and sync data online, and also keep track of Play Store downloads. If you find yourself locked out of your Android smartphone, and enter the password/pattern incorrectly several times, you will be asked to enter this Gmail account and password. If these are entered successfully, the handset will unlock. If at this point you are uncertain of your Gmail password, you can reset this through a computer. If you cannot enter the correct details for the Gmail account, then the handset must be reset to factory defaults. This will wipe all the data from it. This reset process uses a combination of buttons, or in some cases PC software, and is different for almost every Android smartphone. A call to Geek Squad will get you up and running again.
BlackBerry handsets have a well-deserved reputation for security, and so it will come as little surprise that there is no getting round the password requirement. The default limit on attempts to enter the password is 10, and after this has been reached you will be prompted to enter the word “blackberry” into a box which will then securely wipe all data from the handset. Once this has completed, and the handset restarts, it will present the same setup options as a new device. If you have a backup made through BlackBerry desktop software, or BlackBerry Protect, you can restore this to the handset. See our BlackBerry setup guide for instructions on backing up your device.
Windows Phone 7
If you enter the wrong password 5 times, the handset will time you out for 1 minute before you can try again. If you make 5 more failed attempts, you will be timed out for 2 minutes, then 5, 10, 15, and so on. If you are still unable to enter the correct password, then resetting your handset to factory default settings is the only alternative. The only way of doing this is through the Zune software on a PC. See our Windows Phone 7 setup guide for instructions on backing up your device.
A quick word on smartphone backups
The one common theme with all of the Operating Systems is that in every case, if you forget your password resetting the phone is the only solution. This will wipe all the data from the handset, so it is vital you take steps to backup your data before you need to worry about the contents of this article! A quick call to GeekSquad will help you make sure that your data is safe, so should you lock yourself out, you can be up and running again as quickly and easily as possible.