Thursday, June 05, 2014

Gotcha of the Day: Unlocking an Android Phone with a Broken Screen

Shira did the second* most unthinkable act with her LG G2 Android phone: she dropped it on concrete and cracked the screen.

The screen was still quite legible, but the touch aspect of it stopped working. That meant that she couldn't swipe her unlock pattern, thereby giving her access. Heck, she couldn't even plug in a USB cable to pull down data from the phone, because without swiping the unlock pattern, the USB drive isn't mounted.

After multiple reboots, long presses, holding down buttons and generally trying everything I could think of, I decided I was going to need to think a little further out of the box.

I grabbed my favorite On The Go (OTG) USB adapter and my IOGear Wireless Keyboard and Trackball and rigged it all up. Immediately, the phone detected the keyboard and mouse, and we were trivially able to unlock the screen using the trackball.

Shira was then able to navigate the phone, backing up various items and generally using it. She even had to admit that typing on a full size keyboard attached to her phone was remarkably effective. (Though, unlike me, she's not interested in ditching her laptop anytime soon)

Crisis averted. I'm telling you, the OTG Cable for $1.17 is one of the best mobile purchases I've ever made.

*The first is obviously dropping it in the toilet. Right?!

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