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Old March 5th, 2013, 02:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bypassing the "pattern"-type screen lock of the suicide's phone

Hello,

I am having an unusual situation. A teen who was an acquaintance of mine has commited suicide. His parents, knowing that I'm "into computers", asked me for help. They want me to make it possible to read the SMS messages from the boy's phone - HTC Desire S. They can't read them by themselves, because the phone has a screen lock "pattern" - in which you have to connect 4 of 9 dots in a correct order. We don't know the right pattern and therefore we can't unlock the phone and read the SMS messages stored in it.

What should we do in such a situation? Our purpose is not to regain control of the phone - we just want to read the SMS messages. We don't care if we will do it from the phone itself or after connecting the phone to the computer.

I'd like to also tell You that I was accused of being a thief on another Android forum. I want to ensure You that I'm not one. If I were a thief, I would just hard reset the phone and the problem would be gone. But as I highlighted before, we want to read the messages from the phone, to know the reasons of the boy's decision to commit suicide.

I will really appreciate every idea on how to solve the problem, and thank You in advance.

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Old March 5th, 2013, 06:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tilt the screen and unless the screen has been wiped, you can very often see the pattern traced in grease. You then have a 50/50 chance of getting the direction right first time.
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Old March 5th, 2013, 08:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roarred View Post
Hello,

I am having an unusual situation. A teen who was an acquaintance of mine has commited suicide. His parents, knowing that I'm "into computers", asked me for help. They want me to make it possible to read the SMS messages from the boy's phone - HTC Desire S. They can't read them by themselves, because the phone has a screen lock "pattern" - in which you have to connect 4 of 9 dots in a correct order. We don't know the right pattern and therefore we can't unlock the phone and read the SMS messages stored in it.

What should we do in such a situation? Our purpose is not to regain control of the phone - we just want to read the SMS messages. We don't care if we will do it from the phone itself or after connecting the phone to the computer.

I'd like to also tell You that I was accused of being a thief on another Android forum. I want to ensure You that I'm not one. If I were a thief, I would just hard reset the phone and the problem would be gone. But as I highlighted before, we want to read the messages from the phone, to know the reasons of the boy's decision to commit suicide.

I will really appreciate every idea on how to solve the problem, and thank You in advance.
I would suggest you respect the deceased's privacy and leave that phone alone. Especially as he/she cannot enforce that privacy himself/herself anymore.
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Old March 5th, 2013, 08:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I am sorry for your loss, I can't imagine how hard suicide is on family and friends. Having said that, I don't know if you can do anything to bypass the lock. I believe you can do it if you can access his gmail account. Googling the issue returns some of these results:

Getting Locked Out of Your Android Phone | Cricket Wireless
Locked Out of Your Phone? Here's How You Bypass the Android Pattern Lock Screen Null Byte

Just remember that a factory reset will delete the SMS messages you are looking for. Good luck.


Edit: Also I don't know the legality of any of this. Besides that, there may be items on his phone that he wanted kept private and which may ultimately upset his parents. If their last memories of him are good then opening up private SMS messages with potential information that may harm his character may not be such a great idea. I won't argue the moral aspect of this, but just realize the can of worms you may open up.
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Old March 5th, 2013, 09:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The carrier will have a record of the SMSs, however I'm sure they will only make them available for law enforcement and certain three letter government agencies.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 03:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for Your advice, also for the moral aspect of this case. I'll talk about it seriously with his mum and leave the decision to her.

About the phone carrier: I think that if the phone company has an agreement with one of the parents, it should give him/her the text records after applying for them, shouldn't they?
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