How to Reset Android Lock Screen Password and PIN

Locked out of your Android? Here are ways to reset it

Find my Android Device website on macOS desktop

Ryan Dube 

For owners of smartphones or tablets with fingerprint scanners, the ability to access your phone with a simple touch or swipe of your finger is a wonderful convenience. Then again, they also make it easier to forget your password and PIN number since you don't have to enter them often like you used to.

This is a problem if your phone or tablet suddenly requires your PIN number on its lock screen for some reason. Luckily, there are multiple ways you can remote unlock an Android.

Here are the steps you need to take to reset your PIN or password remotely so you can access your Android phone or tablet again. For folks who may have misplaced their Android phone or had it stolen, make sure you try applications that help you locate it. Now onward to the requisite steps to remotely reset your Android smartphone or tablet.

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android device: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. The Samsung Find My Mobile option only works with Samsung phones.

Google Find My Device

For years, the Google Find My Device web app allowed users to change the lock screen pin. This is no longer an option. Now, you can only send a message to the screen in case someone found your lost phone.

This doesn't mean you won't be able to remote unlock your Android. It just means that it won't be quite so easy. You still have options.

Samsung Find My Mobile

If you own a Samsung Android phone, you're in luck. So long as you've registered your phone with your Samsung account, you can use Samsung Find My Mobile to reset the lock screen.

To enable this:

  1. Open Settings on your phone.

  2. Tap Lock Screen and Security.

  3. Tap Find My Mobile.

  4. Tap Add Account and sign into your Samsung account.

Now you can use the Samsung Find My Mobile web page and click Unlock my screen in the taskbar reset your phone's lock screen.

Android Forgot My Password

If you're using an older version of Android, specifically Android 4.4 KitKat and older, the ability to reset the lock screen is built right into the lock screen itself.

Simply enter the incorrect pattern or PIN five times and you'll see a "Forgot pattern" or "Forgot PIN" message. Tap the message and log into your Google account to reset the lock screen.

Using Minimal ADB and Fastboot (Rooted Phones Only)

One of the easiest ways to reset your lock screen is to use special commands available with Minimal ADB and Fastboot. The only catch here is that this method only works on rooted Android phones.

This advanced feature attempts to edit the database on your phone that stores the lock screen pin. If you're unfamiliar with rooting your android or uncomfortable working with the Minimal ADB and Fastboot tool, it may be best to skip this option.

If you've never used this tool before, you can learn all about setting up Minimal ADB and Fastboot and connecting it to your phone via a USB connection.

Once you've followed the instructions to enable USB debugging on your phone and you have the Minimal ADB command window open, type adb devices to confirm you're connected to your phone.

  1. Type adb shell.

  2. Type the following commands one line at a time.

    cd /data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases
    sqlite3 settings.db
    update system set value=0 where name='lock_pattern_autolock';
    update system set value=0 where name='lockscreen.lockedoutpermanently';
    .quit
  3. Reboot your phone and the lock screen will be reset.

Reset Your Android Device

Screenshot of Google Find My Device.
Ryan Dube

If nothing else works, you have a last resort to recover your device. You can erase your device and start over.

The downside to this is that you'll lose all data and files that you've stored on your phone. The upside is that you won't have to buy a new phone.

It is possible to do a factory reset in recovery mode if you can't get past the lock screen. However, a faster and simpler method is to use Google Find My Device to completely erase the phone.

  1. Make sure the phone is turned on. Visit google.com/android/find in your web browser.

  2. Select the Android phone that you're currently locked out of.

  3. Click on Erase Device in the left panel, and then click on the Erase Device button.

  4. You may be asked to sign into your Google Account before the erase procedure will begin.

Once your phone is erased, it should reboot automatically. The next time you start the phone, you'll need to log into your Google Account and set up the phone just as you did when you first bought it.