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Unlock Android phone after too many pattern attempts

In the FAQ category: Unlock Android phone that is locked after too many pattern attempts. I've seen the question so many times in the Google Mobile Help Forum that I felt that a post could help someone out.
Pattern lock

The pattern lock screen (in Swedish)

On Android phones you can activate a feature called pattern lock. This feature can be compared to a Windows computer asking for password after the screen saver kicked in, only instead of a password you use a pattern. You get a screen with 9 dots and you draw a pattern of your choice with 4 of them. If you forget your pattern (or have kids that likes to play with phones) you will after 3 faulty attempts be unable to use the pattern to unlock it. Instead you are asked for your Google account and password (that is setup with the phone of course). This is where the problem starts.

For many, many users providing the username and password won’t change a thing. For some people changing the password via a computer has worked but that is uncommon. Most people ends up with a very expensive paperweight. Have no fear, there are solutions to almost everything!


Google has a decent article on how to regain access to your account here:
That will still not solve everything but start there and then go through the bullets below.
Some workarounds to try before reading ahead:
1. try entering null as password. (together with your google username)
2. try entering your username without
3. Combine 1 and 2
4. Call yourself from another phone, answer, without hanging up press the home button, then menu button, settings, try to disable pattern-lock
5. Call yourself from another phone, answer, hang-up, directly after hanging up start pressing your buttons like a madman for <30-60 seconds ending with your home button (might take a while to get the timing right). Go into settings and disable pattern-lock.
6.  Try the normal recover password routine from and start over from 1.
7. Perform a factory reset. YOU WILL LOOSE all not-synced DATA (SD card will be left untouched).
1-6 are possible workarounds, these doesn't work for everyone but can be worth a try to avoid factory reset. 6. is what should work but hardly never does. 7 - The factory reset always work

End Update

In this case the solution is to make a factory reset (sometimes referred to as hard reset or wipe). This will erase all data on your phone (not on your SD-card). Your contacts and mails should be in sync with the Google servers, no problem there then. Downloaded applications needs to be installed again but there is a list of your previous downloads in the Android Market->My Downloads. Other things though are lost if you haven’t backed them up manually with a 3-rd party application. Example on things you will lose: Call logs, text messages, application settings.

This is your 3 step solution

  1. Factory reset your phone (links to Android device manuals can be found below, it differs between devices)
  2. Setup your phone just like you did the first time you unpacked it (use the same Google Account if you want your old contacts back!)
  3. Restore any manual back-ups and install your previous applications from the My Downloads list.

How do I factory reset? HTC leads the way and put this information in their manuals, other manufacturers should learn from this!

Dear readers, as much as I would love to keep a directory on how to factory reset every single Android device out there, it's just not possible. Use your rights as a customer, go back to the store and ask them to help you factory reset your device!

HTC Hero manual:

HTC Magic (a.k.a. My Touch) manual:

HTC Tattoo manual:

HTC ERIS manual: or:

  1. With the phone turned off, PRESS and HOLD Volume down and Send buttons CALL buttons (the manual says SEND and with that they obviously mean Call)
  2. Press the END/POWER button. You will see a screen with three Androids at the bottom of your screen
  3. Follow on screen instructions

Samsung Galaxy (note old Galaxy i7500, Galaxy S further down):
1. Turn off your Galaxy.
2. Hold volume_down+call+power button.
3. After boot, press menu button to start recovering.

Motorola Droid (a.k.a. Milestone): 1. Turn the Droid off. If it won’t turn off, take the battery out then place it back in.
2. Open the keyboard and press the X key while pressing and holding Power. The device will power on. Keep holding the buttons down until a yellow triangle appers.

3. Press the Camera and Volume Up buttons at the same time to get to the menu.
4. Use the direction pad to the right of the keyboard to select the Format option.

Nexus One:
1. Turn the phone off. If it’s frozen in the on state, pull the battery.
2. Press and hold both the Home and Back buttons simultaneously.
3. While continuing to hold the buttons, press the Power button.
4. Release Home and Back.
5. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the hard reset.

T-Mobile Pulse
If you want to do a Hard Reset but can't do it through the menu, please use the update from T-Mobile UK website: T-Mobile - Help & Support

But use the file from the "Android updates" section and the following piece:
November 2009: T-Mobile Pulse software

This software update should be used ONLY when your T-Mobile Pulse has been security locked and you do not have a valid password.

  1. If you right-click on your mouse here and select the "Save target as.." option - it should take about 2 minutes to download depending on your internet connection speed.
    PLEASE NOTE: Installing this update will remove all existing data on your T-Mobile Pulse.
  2. Then in your pc format the SD card. then copy the folder dload to your new formatted SD card. So the folder with the two files will be on there.
  3. Insert your SD card in the phone
  4. Then when your phone is off, do the following:
    Vol + key & "hang up button" - keep them both together pushed and then turn on the phone. Then the update will start automatically. Once the update is finished it might hang to long in the "phone will restart automatically". If so, take out the battery again and turn the phone on normally. then it all will go as normal.
  5. Once the update is done, you will have to configure your phone again, which also means you can choose the language again.

T-Mobile Pulse instructions from "inge75" in the Android forums.

Sony Ericsson X10 -mini, pro etcetera

  1. Go to:
  2. Click the support tab and then Download Software
  3. Download the Update Service application
  4. Run the application as administrator, choose your model and follow the instructions.

Sprint (Samsung) Epic 4G and Samsung Galaxy S

  1. With your phone turned off. Pull the battery out and reinsert it if needed.
  2. Press and Hold "Volume Down" button
  3. Press and Release the "Power" button (while still holding "Volume Down"
  4. Your phone should now boot to a menu where you can choose Fastboot, Recovery, Clear Storage, or Simlock
  5. Select Clear Storage by pressing the "Volume Down" button
  6. Press the "Power" button
  7. Confirm your decision with "Volume up" (Cancel with "Volume down")

Motorola (Nextel) i1 - Now confirmed, working!

  1. Make sure your device is turned off, pull the battery if needed
  2. Push and hold: "Volume Up" + "Volume Down" + "Call" + "Center button", press "Power"

Micromax A25, A54, A57, A60  and A89 (confirmed)

  1.  Press and hold volume up + home button and power on/off shows the android logo
  2.  press home button one time
  3. Entering android system recovery mode… use volume key to select wipe data/factory reset

LG Nexus 4

  1. Make sure your device is turned off, pull the battery if needed
  2. Push and hold: "Volume Down" + "Power"
  3. Push "Volume Down" twice and then select with "Power" taking you to the Recovery menu.
  4. Follow the instructions in the recovery menu and make your way to Wipe data/Factory reset

Carbon Android A2

  1. Turn off your phone
  2. Push and hold [Volume up]+[Volume down]+[Power]
  3. Follow the instructions to get into Recovery mode and then choose Factory reset.

This is information I gathered from both here and there, manuals and end users. The usual suspects: Swedroid, Android forums, xda-developers and knowyourcell

Comments (1478) Trackbacks (35)
  1. I bought the Samsung epic off Craigslist and recieved it dead. I charged it at home and prompts me to a screen that says “Too many pattern attempts!” and underneath prompts me to enter the “Username (email) and Password” neither of which i know. I tried rebooting via hold volume down + power etc. and no luck! PLLLSSS HELP

    • Lucylooch, just follow the instructions above to reset your Samsung/Sprint Epic. Then do the first setup with your own Google Account and you’re good to go!

      • my young cousin got a hold of my HTC Incredible S phone and
        tried random pattern to unlock my phone. needless to say, my phone got locked out. I
        entered my gmail address and password but failed.

  2. Thank you so much! I completely panicked when logging in to goggle didn’t work.
    The null password thing worked on the first try.

  3. This worked for me!!!!!!!!!
    With the phone turned off, PRESS and HOLD Volume down and Send buttons CALL buttons (the manual says SEND and with that they obviously mean Call)
    Press the END/POWER button. You will see a screen with three Androids at the bottom of your screen
    Follow on screen instructions

  4. Samsung Galaxy S doesn’t work for over half the phones out there, because many phones come wiht recovery mode disabled (hardware locked). For the Vibrant, the phone is just stuck at the Vibrant Splash Screen when you hold the Volume Key down. There is absolutely no way to recover it and your only recourse the one which I’m taking: Send it in for a Replacement.

    This bug has existed for over 2 years, and it’s a shame Google hasn’t fixed it.

    I will not buy another Google Phone after this one, and I am surely going to pony up the extra cash for a Windows Phone because the assurance that I will not have to go days-weeks without a phone (Vibrants are backordered now, can be upto a month before I get a usable phone) just because I was asleep and a preteen or toddler decided to play with my phone is worth that much.

    This mobile OS is a security (and recovery) nightmare.

    In short: If you get locked out of your Galaxy S phone, the chances are very high that you are SoL.

    For the person upthread who said she got a borked Epic off CraigsList – you got owned. You should never buy anything off CraigsList, especially which costs as much as that, unless the person lives near you and can show you the device is working before you hand over the cash.

    The phone is likely stolen, and even if you could unlock it – it’s a CDMA Sprint phone and you wouldn’t even be able to activate it, because the ESN will be dirty (reported as Lost/Stolen).

    • I don’t have a Galaxy S (and definitely not many enough to do some empirical research but this doesn’t sound right to me. Locking the recovery mode would mean that they can’t fix software broken phones either, via ADB sure but then you need to be able to boot it. It would be a horrible decision from an economic point of view if Samsung had to replace every phone that has problems.

      But after all, I don’t work with phone repairs so I can’t be sure. It obviously works for some at least. Thanks for replying and providing some good thoughts!

  5. I need help please i have a nextel i1 and its android

  6. I need help! I have SASUNG Galuxy S, after my daughter tried to unlock the pattern appear the screen with Google account and then I try to login with my gmail username and password, but didn’t work. I try to find solution through internet (put null password), but didn’t worked for me. I bring to the shop center they said, it must install new software and I should pay for service even I have warranty card, they said is my mistake. I said why not Google or Samsung company mistake that provide not solution/not valid software account. I said I agree to pay, but until now take a week not sold the problem yet, I went to shop center again they said I should wait a week els, because they don’t receive the code yet,
    -My question is, it is really they can sold this problem and then I will get my SAMSUNG GALUXY S back???
    I need my Galuxy S soon as soon if possible. Thanks

  7. Thanks! The Null password worked on my Hero phone.

  8. Hopefully these work because i bought a phone and it said too many unlock attempts. What’s the combination for a Motorolla Blurr?

  9. What is the code for a Motorolla Blurr?

  10. This worked for my tmobile mytouch, from being locked out, for too many password attempts from unlock pattern.

    To reset the phone, follow these intructions below carefully, and note that when you do a reset you’ll loose all of your SMS/MMS & all private Data will be Lost (erased), except for your email, & contacts if you use sync. *on my mytouch I only lost my texts, all contacts saved*

    The phone will again ask you to login as on the first use:

    Steps to Reset The Phone:

    1. Turn Off The Phone, (pushing the end key).
    2. Press & hold the HOME key + Power Key. After It Starts It will take you to the recovery mode screen.
    3. Press Alt + W(trackball). It Will Do Wipe / Factory Reset.
    4. After The 3 lines are displayed, It’ ll ask to press home + back (trackball).
    5. Press Home + Back Keys (trackball).
    The Phone will Reboot & will ask to login using your gmail ID.
    Do it as you did when you on the first got your phone.
    6. Don’t use the lock pattern again ;) LOL!

    • can you tell me something about t mobiles pulse mini because the infoemation given up is for pulse mini u8220 but mine one is u8110


  11. THANKS MAN THE WORKAROUND NULL worked im very gratefull thanx.

  12. the unlock for the motorola ie worked great…thank you so much!!! :)



  14. im having the same problem with samsung galaxy gt-i9000gsmh , after 9 wrong attempts of pattern the phone is lockout, when i try to use the gmail account and null as password, its says checking but nothing happened after a few hours, any other work around solution? i dont want to flash the firmware and accidentally destroy it because of lock out, please help me out..thanks!!!!!

  15. I think i was just scared, before turning on, i press volume up, home then the power button and the recovery mode appears, then i select reset factory settings and it works, thanks ET/Osky for putting up this forum…

  16. when i use this method on my tmobile pulse mini as recommended above for it my phone displays update failed so what do i do now plz help i will and i am greatful to you for these methods u provided for us .

    • i got more information in this case that the link metioned above is for t mobiles pulse mini model is U8220 but mine model is u8110 plz reply me and tell me the link

      • Should be much easier with U8110 (a.k.a. Huawei u8110).
        Turn it off, then push:
        And it should take you to recovery mode where you can follow the instructions to perform a wipe (factory reset/hard reset). Let me now how it goes and I will add the combination to the article.


        • sorry for late reply that actually worked when i pressed these buttons phone turned on and a menu opened where i selected wipe all and then it started loading after then the same menu opened and then i slected reboot option and my phone started .
          thanks osky i am great ful to you .

  17. ok, my 2 year old apparently locked me out ;0 i have a motorola i1 phone and have tried everything what next. NULL didn’t work or the volume,call power option desperate.
    Paid to much for it not to work was working great till those lil’ hands got to it.

  18. Whoooooopie, I got my phone back. I love u Et guy :) thanks for sharing ur knowledge!!
    Motorola i1 user. You need two hands tried doing on my own, didn’t work husband helped and presto. thank u .

  19. I have my samsung galaxy, my niece played and changed the draw pattern password, unfortunately i haven’t setup an gmail account on it, as it only new. Is there any other options i could unlock it without any restoring. Lot of txt messages and numbers are there that I cannot / allowed to be deleted.
    Please give me other option. Thank you

  20. refer to my query the model of my samsung android is samasung 19000

  21. On my epic 4g Sprint told me to power down the phone then, hold the volume down key, the camera button and the power button at the same time to get to the menu to wipe the phone.



  23. Man! I really appreciate your help, I’ve been looking around the web for at least 2 hours now because I got pattern locked out of my Motorola i1. I did the null password thing and it worked! Thanks a lot man!

  24. I just purchased the velocity micro cruze ereader and am having the same problems. I am locked out of the device. What can i do since it is not a phone and am not allowed to use google password. Already tried to reset…very frustrated

    • If you successfully performed a factory reset the patternlock would be gone.
      How did you do?

      I’ve found two slightly different how to’s for factory reset, only way to know is to try:
      With the Cruz Reader powered off, press and hold the volume up button (keep holding), then press and hold the power button at the same time. Keep holding both buttons, the screen will read CRUZ first, and then the Android robot, follow on screen instructions.

      With the Cruz Reader powered off, press and hold the volume up button (keep holding), then press and hold the reset button (using a the end of a paper clip) at the same time. Keep holding both buttons, the screen will read CRUZ first, and then the Android robot, follow on screen instruction.

      Otherwise take it back to the store and let them reset it for you but they might have to send it to a repair shop.

      Good luck and feel free to post back how it turned out!

      • the reset vol up didnt seem to work but as I tried to enter a code at random it took to fails and it booted me into safe mode and allowed me to change the pattern! thanx for the assist!

  25. Hi I am Samsung Galaxy I5700 user and i am having truoble in doing the hard reset for my mobile . After too many pattern attempts the mobile is ulocked and i need to do the hard reset since i have tried to login with my google account .

    please urgent ..

    • Hi there,
      if the workarounds doesn’t work you need to perform a factory reset:
      Restart it by holding volume down + call + end call! then it will take you to recovery screen where you can switch to home tab for factory reset.

      It seems Samsung had some problems with this one and the factory reset “code” doesn’t work on all devices. Give it a try!


  26. have i done it right if my htc tattoo’s screen just has a phone and a triangle wth an exclamation ark inside it, it wont change unless i take the battery out :/
    please help i need my phone :) xx

    • For the Tattoo you should do the following:

      1. With the phone turned off, press and hold the HOME and BACK buttons, and
      then briefly press the END CALL/POWER button.
      2. Press the ENTER button to begin the reset process

      Could it be that you forgot the Enter part? :)

  27. heyy i got a samsung galaxy s, and ive tried everything, the factory reset wont work my phone just loads like normal, my gmail doesnt work, the “null” password doesnt work either, i have no idea on how to get this unlock ive really tried anything, anyone got any ideas?

  28. unlock my phone plzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  29. hi i have a LG GT540 and i locked myself out and i dont remember my google account details. I tried everything but it just wont work can you help ??? please

    • Hmm…do you remember that username for your google account?
      A factory reset would allow you to get into the phone again but if you don’t know your account you would loose all your contact info, downloaded apps etcetera.

      If it’s “just” the password you don’t remember try the steps here:
      There you can also find a username recovery but that require that you’ve setup a recovery address and that you remember it of course.
      Good luck and post back if I can help in any way.


  30. i locked my self out my phone it wants my google password and email i know my email and half my password wat do i do ?

  31. hi i have a Huawei Ascend and i got locked out becuz of too many pattern attempts i tried to sign in with my google account nada happened it said ivalid username or password nd i tried the null thingy but it didnt work i tried the factory reset didnt work please help me.!

    • How did you do the factory reset? To put it simple: you didn’t succeed. If you performed a factory reset the lock would be gone. I don’t have an Ascend to try on but this should work:
      1. Turn off the phone.
      2. Push and hold the “volume up” button and at the same time push and hold the “end call” button. Keep on holding and push the “power” button.
      3. Follow the instructions on screen.

      If that doesn’t work try with the “send call” button instead of the “end call”, I’ve seen both suggestions.

  32. Hey.. i have a Sony Xperia Mini.. My brother seems to have messed up the pattern.. and after like 3 attempts of entering incorrect patterns, questions like “your favourite place” come up to which i have no answers! Please Help ASAP!

    • If you don’t know your “security question” you options are either the workarounds listed above (works often, not always) or a factory reset (instruction copied from above):
      Sony Ericsson X10 -mini, pro etcetera

      Go to:
      Click the support tab and then Download Software
      Download the Update Service application
      Run the application as administrator, choose your model and follow the instructions.

  33. Hello from Greece, I have galaxy s and i need to boot my phone I press 25 sec for begin to boot , please if you know help me !

    • You’ve tried the instructions above? Is it the patternlock you need to get rid of or do you just want to perform a factory reset? If you can get into the phone you can do it through the settings menu.

  34. can you pleaseeeeee help me!
    i have a Sony Ericsson xperia x10 and ive locked it and i cant get into it!?
    and ive forgotten my google account because i never use it? ive tried the google account with the ” null ” password but that failed for me, ive also tried ringing my phone and getting on the home page but that didnt work either!

    • It’s very hard if you don’t know your username. You can always factory reset (instructions in the post) and create a new one but your contacts, downloaded apps, mail etcetera will be gone.

      Google password recovery instructions can be found here:
      There you can also find a username recovery but that require that you’ve setup a recovery address and that you remember it of course.
      Good luck and post back if I can help in any way.




    • The null workaround is an Android bug and sometimes work for all models not just the Droid or MyTouch. For example I know for a fact that it helped people with: NexusOne, SE X10, SE X8, Samsung Galaxy (original, Spica and S) etcetera etcetera.

      Would be very interesting to know when it works, cause it’s not 100%. I actually now of one guy that locked his phone, broke in with null used it for a couple of months, locked it again and this time null didn’t work. Very very strange.

  37. Friend of mine had too many failed attempts with the drawn pattern on his HTC MAGIC. the “NULL” post worked just fine for him.. thanks..

  38. what about the G1?
    I don’t see any G1 help on here, and it’s an android phone

    • The G1 information is in the manual, but just in case you’ve lost it:
      Turn off your device.
      1. Press and hold the [home] + [power] keys. Hold for about 30 seconds until you get a screen showing a phone and a Warning triangle.
      2. Slide out the Qwerty keyboard and press [ALT]+[L] keys
      3. Follow the on screen instructions and press [ALT]+[W]

      Sit back and wait while it does it thing!

  39. omg thank u null works perfect i was going crazy

  40. Well bassically, i was messing around with my mates sony erricson X10, and put too many password attempts in, and now its locked, and he says he doesnt have a gmail account. so he asked me too try fix it, so i took it home and tried fixing it.

    so i made a gmail account, but that didnt work, even with the pasword being ‘null’

    what shall i do?

    • Are you sure he doesn’t have a Google account but just doesn’t use the mail? Since you need an account to use the market most users setup one without thinking of it.

      Getting in is not a big problem, just perform the factory reset as instructed above, BUT if he doesn’t have an account/don’t remember it you won’t be able to get the synced data back (most notably: bought apps, contacts saved on the phone).

      There is really no easy way to fix it without loosing data if you don’t know/have an account. Which in one way is good, that’s the only security that protects my data stored on my phone.

  41. Hi, thanks for the “null” tip. It worked on my HTC Tattoo after I inadvertently locked it and it wouldn’t accept my password.

  42. I need help for galaxy 3….

    all ways are not working…

    • To factory reset Galaxy 3 (a.k.a. Apollo or GT-i5800):
      Turn of your device.
      Hold [Volume -] and [Home] buttons and power on.

      Follow the on screen instructions to perform a format.

  43. plz help my sister locked my phone i have a lg gt540 and non of the solutions work for me. i created a google account and even that doesnt even work.

    • If the workarounds doesn’t work you will have to perform a factory reset, this will erase Everything on your device!

      1. Turn of your device
      2. Hold [Volume down] and [Home] then [Power]
      3. Keep holding until it start up and then follow the on screen instructions.

      Good luck!

  44. PLEASE I NEED HELP PLEASE :( i have the samsung galaxy and i forgot my email and password i tried null
    also i tried resetting my password with my recovery email but it didn’t work

    • Which Galaxy? There are several different models from Samsung carrying the Galaxy name. If the workarounds or password recovery doesn’t work you will have to perform a factory reset to get past the lock-screen.

      Good luck!

  45. thank you very much worked perfectly on Motorola Milestone. Merry Christmas to you!

  46. i got the samsung galaxy s i tryed all of the above and nothing has worked i need help soo bad

  47. HELP ME PLEASE!! I have a samsung galaxy s i9000 that my son has activated the pattern lock on i cant remember the username and password for and have tried all the recovery processes for as well as got a new account, but nothing has worked i even tried the factory reset mentioned above and still i am locked out. Please help!!!

    • Factory reset always work, the problem is just performing it. Did you try to follow the instructions for Galaxy S above?

      • I have the exact same thing, with the same phone, even when i tried the factory resetting (i’m sure it went as it should) i still get the same stuff again, only now the language is german for some reason. (when i first got my phone, before installing everything the language was german too)

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