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 @gmail.com
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 GMail.com 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:
http://member.america.htc.com/download/Web_materials/Manual/DROID_ERIS_Verizon/DROID_ERIS_Verizon_English_UM_11_5.pdf 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: www.sonyericsson.com
  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

Published by


Consultant in the area of IT Project Management and project administration. Dedicated technical enthusiast playing with mobiles, computers etcetera. The rest of my time goes into music (mainly guitar or listening) and friends (including my family).

1,558 thoughts on “Unlock Android phone after too many pattern attempts”

  1. hey, i have a htc desire.. had a pattern to unlock someone tried to unlock my phone so many times i need a gmail username and password which i dont know cause the guy i bought my phone from did that for me.. i dont want to reset my phone and lose everything ..please help me

    1. Hey there.
      You can try the suggested workarounds that doesn’t require your username but if that doesn’t work…factory reset is the way to go.
      Just like you say, since you won’t be able to login with the unknown account you will loose all data tied to that account. Sorry to say but you really need to know your username :(

  2. my brother tried to many times , to unlock it & it asked me for a google account : i made one & it still dont let me go in my phone & i cant do NOTHING with it >_< ughh ..

          1. Well, if the workarounds don’t work you’re quickly running out of options. A factory reset however will always work but erase all non-synced content.

  3. Hi all My oldest Girl got a samsung Galaxy 5 for chrissy and she had a pattern code on it to keep her nosey little sister out of it …..But now some how she cant remember the pattern she put in as shes used so many and kept changing it :-( that now she cant use it ,she never set up a username or password gmail or any of them account so what i need is to know how i can reset or whatever i need to do to clear that bloody pattern code for her to be able to use her phone again …and we live in australia and connected to telstra pre paid …need help please …Regards Stressed out Dad

    1. That’s a tricky one. Since you don’t sync a factory reset would clear all contacts and so on. How about the workarounds not related to username? Try solution 4 and 5 mentioned in the post, you could also try a blank username with null as password, or username @gmail.com with null as password.


    1. READ THE ARTICLE.. If you still don’t understand, please, read the first comment and please read the reply.

  4. hey,, thanks,, i did the same what you said…..
    and really i unlocked my phone…..
    lol.:D:D now for always i will forget my password….
    btw can you tell me is there any firmware update (even custom update) for Samsung Galaxy I7500.

  5. But I can`t open the option to go to factory reset …
    I don`t know what i can do because nothing of workarounds can`t work for Android 2.2.1
    My mobile phone is such as iPhone 3G but with two another buttons between square button.
    The first is for menu with 3 lines and the other is back button.. please HELP ME !!! :(

    P.P – ET/Osky thanks for suggestions but I think this is another way to open my phone

    1. The workarounds is not limited to a single Android version, they are however not 100% effective – after all they are workarounds.

      If I understand you correct you don’t know which phone you have? For almost all Android devices there are hardware-button-combinations for factory reset without logging in. Do you know the manufacturor?

      1. NO I don`t know manufacturor but my phone come from China but I am from Bulgaria and here haven`t any of this version for android and I believe at you to help me because none of these people here know something for android 2.2.1

        1. Well, as mentioned earlier the workarounds are not limited to a specific Android version and might just as well work with 2.2.1 as any other version.

          If you don’t know which device you have finding factory reset instructions are very hard. Sorry, not much that I can do if you can’t find out what it is, could you possibly take a picture?

          1. I can make a photo but where send it. Could you possibly to give me your mail or skype ? If you know another way to send the picture tell me. :)

  6. I have a mytouch 4g the tech guy talked to into a factory reset on my phone without letting my know that I would be locked out of my phone after! I totally forget my gmail username and password any tips so that I can use my phone again?

    1. A factory reset shouldn’t lock you out, quite the opposite actually. If you don’t remember your Google account you will however have very hard to get back any data that you’ve been synchronizing.

  7. hi bb
    i have htc hero
    i tried all that u said but still my phone hasnt been un locked , plz help meeeee
    i dont know what was that gmail id that i connected with my phone before ,but i have another gmail id that i try with that but it doesnt work
    the “null” even doesnt work for me , i dont know why! should my id be exactly what i signed in through my phone, before?
    i have alot of sms and contacet that i dont want to lose them at all
    plz help me
    im waiting :(:(:(:(
    thanks sincerely

    1. Well, you really should try to remember your account. Have you saved it from your computer maybe, at the market website perhaps? Or could you contact someone you’ve emailed? A factory reset would get you in but texts and contacts will be lost.

  8. what about Telsra smart touch.. my friend was being stupid and tried to unlock my phone and ” Too many pattern attempts came up ive tried everything including the factory reset but im afraid im doing it wrong :(

    WHAT DO I DOOO!!!!

    1. You can of course try with the workarounds listed above. Have you found any instructions for factory reset of Smart Touch?
      Try this and please report back if it works so that I can add it to the instructions:
      power off the phone
      hold the [volume up] button + the [send] button and then [power]

      Remember, Factory reset will erase all data on your device! IF you’ve syncronized it before and you remember your Google account that data will get back once you perform initial setup.

      Good luck!

  9. PLZ helch me!!!!!!! i have a silver thrive and my 6 yr old got on it and now it is stuck on too many attempts and will not even respond to factory reset!!!!!

    1. Your phone will respond to factory reset, you are not trying to access factory reset in the right manor. You should research online how to factory reset your SPECIFIC phone model!

  10. I have the droid phone and i just tried to reset it. I got the triangle to come up w/ an exclamation point, but when i pressed the up volume and camera, nothing :( Please, please, please help. This is the only phone in my household, I have no form of communication. Thanks

    1. just because you have a droid phone, it doesn’t mean you have a Motorola Droid. You need to know the specific model of your phone and look it up online. Google is your friend, use it!

  11. i have a u.sc cellular lg apex. i accidently locked my phone (the android xt pattern thingy) is there any way i can reset it without takin it to s astore. idk what the pattern was that i did…

  12. hey hiee…
    i have google nexus s…my sister set some pattern while she was playing…n forgot… cnt open my phone i used al ur turn arounds.. couldnt do nythng
    but.jus tell me how to reset my phone nw… pls pls…am waiting badly for reply…

  13. For some reason the factory reset didn’t fix it. I have a samsung mesmerize(galaxy s). I figured out if you call the phone and reject the call with a message you can get in. The first time I did that I disabled the lock but it still told me to enter my google information. Any tips for that?

  14. I unlocked the mine by calling it from another phone and then disable the setting to use the pattern to unlock

    1. Good job for following directions, you still reached this page because you were an idiot. Learn and KNOW your Google account

  15. when you call it, you can answer it without putting the pattern. then hang up, and you will be @ your home screen, again without putting the pattern, then disable it in settings.

  16. my android got locked and i have to enter my username and password. which i forgot so i went to gmail to reset my password and i still cant login with the new password!!!! HELP!

  17. i have a samsung galaxy s 19000 i cant remember the pattern and i didnt make a google account :-( how can i get into the fone? theres no call button to hold it down.

  18. Hi, I have got a galaxy s and have tried to fix the unlock by factory resetting it. It has reset everything but I still cannot get on. If anyone knows what i should od now please let me know. thanks

  19. hi ive a samsung galexy ace i put de pattern in too many times and its askin for my user name and password now but i dont remember them i tried re boot it an emergency d load it comin up but nothin else is happening can u tell me anything else i can do …. thanks

    1. Read Post 2. There is no way to receive the PUK code other than calling the provider of the mobile network that you are currently on.

      To be honest, your worse than all of them, there should have been no reason to be trying to mess with your sim lock, messing with those is the only way that you can get puk locked. you can only blame yourself.

  20. I just can’t listen to people ask the exact same question over and over again to just get the EXACT same answer every time.

    I don’t understand what is so hard to understand here.. It’s in plain text of what you have to do, if you cannot understand this post then you need, and i mean “need” to get rid of your android powered device and get a phone that is not smarter than you.

    First of all, smart phones are not idiot proof, i imagine that’s why most of you were here. Whether it be letting your friends look at your phone when you know damn well they don’t know your password or letting your child play with your phone, you should know that something like this is going to happen.

    Second, when you set up your device you should either use your Gmail account or MAKE one that YOU WILL REMEMBER, forgetting or not knowing your Google account is just asking for trouble. Google will run your life if you have an android, you will have email from them, if and I’m sure you have and will again but if you download off of the android market google will have your credit card information. Shame on you for not keeping track of your phone and accounts or just being careless and not organized enough.

    Third, I know that accidents happen. In fact I know that every one of you are here because of an accident, I also know that for every one of you this accident could have been avoided if you would have just remembered your Google credentials.

    If none of the work-around’s worked for you, then get over it and do a factory reset on your device. If you don’t know how to factory reset your device, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You need to go online, go to Google or another search engine and search on how to factory reset your phone, it is no excuse to not know what phone you have, even if it came from china, the phone has some type of identification on it.

    This person wrote this article to help all the idiots who were dumb enough not to know your Google credentials. If you have an android powered device, it is powered by Google, your Google credentials are the most important piece of information that you can have in your phone. All of your contacts, all of your apps are tied to that account. I did notice he stopped answering posts, to be honest i can completely understand why. Every person in some way, shape, or form was asking the same thing and the author was giving the same solution to everyone, FACTORY RESET.

    Just get over your idiocy, go online and do your own research, be happy with your fresh software load on your phone and get on with your life.

    I’m sorry if i was crude or if any of you idiots found me offensive in any way. I’m just being honest, pointing out the obvious, and enjoying my life.

    Good day!

  21. Hi!

    I have the same problem, haven´t used the phone for a few months and now i couldn´t remember the pattern witch lead me to lock the phone. Gmail login doesnt work in any form and I am prepared to loose everything via a factory reset. BUT, it doesn´t work, I can´t seem to reach that meny. It´s a galaxy s and when i pull volume down and hit power the only respons is a full turnon from the phone, no emergency meny etc? What am I doing wrong? / Micha

  22. Hello..
    just tried on Galaxy S… I don’t know about others.. but it works with Galaxy s

    Power off >> Press Vol up + Home + Power

    Select factory reset

    Vola… It will resume..

  23. Jai un acer mini liquid ya eu tro de tentatives donc il me demande de me connecté sur mon compte google? jai essayé toutes les solution que vous proposiez dont celui ou je dois mappeller avec un autre téléphone. Sa ne marche tourjour pas.

  24. type ur google mail id
    then type “null” as ur password without the quotes.
    it worked for me in my zte link.
    hope it works for u guys also.

  25. Hello, i have a Huawei u8800/ Ideos x5… The screen is locked and have to be unlocked with gmail.. I’ve tried all the methods, none of them works, and i cant figure out how to factory reset the mobile.. Help?

  26. I have a galaxy S from At&t i have tried the volume down and pressing power and releasing and the phone starts up as usual. Why isn’t it working for me? I want to reset the phone. Is there anything else I can do?

  27. Hi Guys,

    A friend of mine tried to unlock my phone to often and now it’s locked. I can’t remember my Gmail account and i cant recover it from the Gmail site. How can I perform a Factory Reset? I have a LG p350 Optimus Me. Please help

  28. I have a Galaxy S 4G. my little sister kept playing with the pattern. so it locked. i thought i knew my username and password but i wasn’t successful. i tried to reset my phone. (ihad no choice *:'(*) but idont have a send button on my phone. i just have the volume down and the power button. the send button is a touchscreen and you said i had to power off my phone. please help. im clueless and i’ve been crying for DAYS.

  29. A big “oh my god I love you” thank you from my girlfriend which couldn’t remember what she typed in, null was the answer. How is this possible? Anyway: a lot of thanks to you man…

  30. Hello!
    Just the other day I wanted to change the password on my Droid Incredible. I made a new passcode and used the pattern lock. However, I forgot my passcode and my Gmail account name and passcode. How do I unlock my phone? I tried everything. Can you please help me? Thanks!

  31. someone was trying to use my pattern lock and was locked and am trying to unlock didn’t work because i forgot my Google account and open a new account but did not work.

  32. please help my galaxy s 19000 is locked and asking for a google account which it wont accept. i ve tryed all the options above twice ive rang it entered null ect n still no joy ive even tryed resetting the handset and thats not working. the phone is just goin straight on the to locked screen as soon as its turned on. please help

  33. hello i have a t-mobile pulse mini i cant enter factory reset mode neither do the steps work WHAT DO I DO!!!!!!!!!! plz reply thanks

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