This FAQ will be ever expanding as we gain more information about certain devices, since all behave differently, and all have different methods to unlock them if you have forgotten your password or PIN.
Again this thread basically is going to give some useful Tips for when you lose your phone or it gets stolen and help prevent you from getting locked out of your device because you have forgotten your password/PIN and potentially your Gmail/Google account information.
Importance of a Google Account:
When you boot up your device for the first time you may be thinking to yourself, "OMG I CANT WAIT TO START FIDDLING AROUND WITH MY NEW DEVICE!!!
". While this may be true, you might want to slow down a bit when filling in this starting information. The most important being, your Google/Gmail account. While this account may seem unimportant to you at the time because you have an email affiliated with Yahoo, Outlook, or some other provider, you need to understand the importance of this account.
This account saves all the applications you download. It also, if you want it to, controls your music, online documents, contacts, and emails. However, it also can control whether you might be able to get your device unlocked or not. Typically one may not think, "How could I possibly forget my PIN password into my phone"
, well it happens, unfortunately.
I am here to warn you to please...STOP
...write down this password and log in information because you probably will need it at some point, regardless of whether you use the account or not. Understand that this account holds a lot of information for you.
So please again, when making your Google/Gmail account on your first time set-up, be careful, be wary, and remember to write down or save the account details somewhere if you plan on never using it again or even just write them down just in case.
If you have forgotten your Gmail/Google account information go here: Google Account Recovery
Forgotten PIN/Password to Lockscreen:
If you have forgotten your information to get past your lockscreen some devices, by default, allow you to enter your Gmail/Google account information to get past it, this is why you need that information even if you never use the account for anything.
Another option I can give has been provided by the folks at XDA. This one requires you to have Android Debug Bridge (ADB) installed on your computer. ADB is part of the Android SDK, which you can download here
. You'll also need to have USB debugging enabled on your device, which can be found under Settings >> Applications >> Development.
Here is a video better explaining it:
If you do not know your Gmail/Google account information, even when using the Recovery link
I posted above then your only real option left, if the ADB option doesn't work, is to Factory Reset the device. This is unfortunate and means you will lose all your data, but it is your only real option left.
To do this you will need to boot into Recovery, for each device it is a little different, but works around the premise of holding down the Volume Up/Down then holding the power button. On this screen, which you may/may not have seen before
, if you go into your boot screen you did it wrong and need to try again, there should be an option to factory reset, you can move up and down with the Volume Up/Down and click on the reset with the power button.
Lost or Stolen Devices:
If your device has been lost or stolen and you have not
installed a Find your Device application there could be a slim chance that your device is still on and has Data enabled. Therefore you can access your Gmail/Google account via your computer and go to the Play Store and install an application, possibly from the list below onto your device. If this works you can have a chance at locating your device.
If you feel you are out of options, before buying a new phone, please make sure to tell your carrier that your last phone was lost/stolen so they can properly deactivate it.
Otherwise, if you have
installed one of those applications then you can use that to find your device, simple as that.
Here are some recommended Find your Device applications:
Where's My Droid - FREE
Lookout Security & AntiVirus - $2.99/m
SeekDroid - $2.99
Prey Anti-Theft - FREE
Avast! Mobile Security - FREE
These are just a couple I have heard really good things about.
Hopefully this FAQ will prove to be useful to you and give you good information to remember when it comes to owning an Android device!