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Friday, October 5, 2018

What To Do If You Lose Your Phone's Password And Need To Unlock Your Phone

Nine out of ten people will probably tell you now that one of their worst nightmares is that they forget the password / pattern to unlock their android phones. Their phones are their lifeline.  Admit it, we can't live without our phones, right? Right?  Tell me, what's the first thing that you do when you get out of bed? Be honest.

I'm not one who likes to keep changing passwords to my phone or desktop computer. But I have a terrorizer at home who keeps snitching my phone from me the moment I turn my back on her or are busy with my stuff.  And this terrorizer is so 'terror' that she could even remember what my password is though I thought that I had typed the numbers fast enough to confuse her. When it comes to telecommunication crimes, this little terrorizer has a photographic memory in registering the pattern and numbers of all our phones. She can hack any phone. If only she can hack all the exam questions with such precision! If only!

And this terrorizer has her finals to sit for in a week's time but she keeps snitching on my phone. So I changed the password to my phone yesterday to deter her from playing Clash Royale with her grandaunt. This game can be played with your opponents remotely. After changing the password, I didn't know that I had to wait for a while before I can try to log in.  When I keyed in the new password to my phone, my not very smart smartphone did not recognize the new password. Thinking that I had keyed in the wrong new password, I tried another password, and another.

That was the beginning of my nightmare!!

After more than two dozens of tries, my phone locked me out. This is one of the security features of most android phones. Even Find My Phone  cannot unlock my phone.  Google recently replaced the Android Device Manager with 'Find My Phone' and the "Forgot Password" option has been removed so that hackers cannot get a new password.  You can now lock your phone but NOT unlock it with Find My Phone. I found out after reading it from related forums. I spent my entire day reading up for solutions to unlock my phone without having to wipe out the data.

And it looks like the ONLY way to unlock the phone is to perform a 'factory reset', which means wiping out all user data, i.e. every single app, message, photo, video and phone number will be deleted. After resetting, the phone will be like a brand new phone from the factory with no data. There is a way to backup the data by connecting the phone to a computer but the problem is the phone is already locked out and my two desktop computers could not read the files. Another alternative to unlock the phone is to purchase a software from some US companies which is a big NO NO for el-cheapo me.

I was fuming mad and stressed out. Because of this 10-year old terrorizer, I am about to lose all my phone data and money.  I discussed the problem with the hubs and he advised me to bring my phone to a phone clinic to have the resetting properly done, which means having to spend some money to recover my phone.

This morning, I told the hubs that I wanted to save the money by performing my phone's 'factory  reset' myself. It looks pretty easy from You Tube.  Moreover, the phone clinic is located a a place which I have no frigging idea how to go to and the hubs had to rush off to an event and couldn't help. Five minutes after the hubs left the house, he came back and said the sweetest thing to me - "quickly pass me your phone. I'll bring it to the shop later after I return from my customer's office".

Awwww, so sweet of him to do this favor for me, which meant wasting several hours on his busy day.  Sometimes he can be the sweetest white knight that sweeps me off my feet 💔

Good thing all the data on my phone is synced to my Google account. I only found out today that all the phone numbers that I stored on my phone is synced to my Google account. Yay! My photos and videos are synced to my Google Photos too. The only data that I lost are all the apps, Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, etc which the guy at the phone clinic helped to re-download into my phone.  Once my baby was discharged from the clinic, I had to re-download other frequently used apps and reset my alarm clock and other features in Settings.  Previous Whatsapp messages were all wiped out too and I had to re-download Whatsapp Web onto my desktop computer.

And the damage for restoring my phone is  RM80.  It is a pretty simple job but a tad time consuming.

Moral of the story is:

1. Always, always sync your phone's data with your Google account. Or perform a backup regularly by transferring the data from your phone to your computer / laptop via a USB.

2. Download Whatsapp Web on your desktop computer or laptop. If your phone is locked out, you can still Whatsapp from your computer (must have internet). You can still check / copy all the contact numbers from your Whatsapp Web and later key them into your phone.  But if you sync your phone with Google, then you will not lose any contact number.

If you ever lose / forget / mess up with your phone's password / pattern, chill. Don't panic.  Go to You Tube to watch how to do a factory reset and then spend an hour or two to re-download the apps and programs and resetting it back to its original settings. The reset will also do a clean-up of your phone and this will help your phone to clear up some space.

Your phone will never be the same again after a factory reset but at least you have it back and most importantly, you can recover most of the data if you take the above steps.

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