18/07/2013

Forgot your Android’s Pattern/Password? Use these 5 methods to regain access

I have been in the following conversation at least a hundred times literally.
They: “Hey bro, I have forgot my pattern/password. Even worse, I also don’t have access to the google account I have tied to my phone. How can I get it back?”
Me: “Boot your phone to recovery mode and reset it.”
They: “Aww… I have to lose all my data :(“
Me: “Yep.”
I am a person with a soft heart and listening to that aww in the second last dialogue dampens it. That’s when I decided to find a solution to this solution that keeps popping up again and again. Let’s solve it for once and for all.

The Problem:

The problem arises when the combination of these three things occur:
  • You have forgotten your password/PIN/pattern.
  • You don’t remember the password of the Google account you have set up on the device.
  • You don’t want to loose your data. Opting for the factory reset method means that your internal memory will be formatted which mainly includes all your user apps and their data.
If you don't want to read all the story and just want to get to the solution, here are the 5 methods that will get your Android device back, in an unlocked state! By the way, all the first 3 methods given there have been crafted by me.

How I got to the solution:

So, I started scouring all the files my Android phone has. As my Android phone is rooted, I can literally access any file. Two files which a rang a bell in my soft heart were the Gesture.key and Password.key file present in the /data/system folder on my Android 2.2 phone. I cross checked the presence of the very same files on my Android 4.1.2 tablet, which comes from a different manufacturer. This confirmed that these files were universally present on all Android devices, from one of the oldest versions to one of the latest versions.

Changing the screen protection to password or pattern brought change in the file size of these files. This, along with the name of the files i.e. gesture.key and password.key led me to the conclusion that these are the two files which store the lock information on the Android platform. A quick deletion of these files cleared the lock protection, bringing the simple slide to unlock lock screen. However, having access to these files and modifying them requires your Android device to be rooted. If you aren’t rooted, don’t exit this article just now, we have an option for non-root users too. No bedtime story about how I got a solution for non-root users.

Stop all the nonsense, gimme the solution:

I know many of you are getting impatient to regain access to your Android device with forgotten password. As there are more type of Android devices than the different wavelengths of different colors, not all methods will work on all phones. Some of these problems could be worked out by discussions and discussions are better off in a place like a forum. We have a forum for our blog, in fact, We is the forum where you’d actually find all the different methods that can help you get back your locked Android phone/tablet.
Here is the topic you should be heading to, right now!
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