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How to Use ADB on Locked Phone

Unpredictable circumstances such as screen damage can make the standard unlocking process of Android devices challenging. This guide offers a detailed examination of how to use adb on a locked phone to regain access and protect valuable data. The process involves a series of steps using Android Debug Bridge (ADB) commands, various software tools, and even physical devices like a USB mouse with an On-The-Go (OTG) adapter.

Understanding the Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

ADB, short for Android Debug Bridge, is a versatile tool that bridges the gap between an Android device and a personal computer. It’s a part of the Android Software Developer Kit (SDK) and facilitates direct communication between the device and the computer via a USB connection. ADB provides access to an array of device functions and data, making it an invaluable tool for developers and regular users alike.

However, the use of ADB commands requires USB Debugging to be enabled on the device. This can be a hurdle if the device’s screen is inaccessible due to damage or being locked. The following sections illustrate various methods to bypass this obstacle and enable USB Debugging on a locked Android phone.

Preparation: Setting Up ADB

Before diving into the unlocking process, one needs to ensure that the latest SDK Platform-tools are installed on their Windows, Linux, or Mac machine. These tools, which include ADB and Fastboot, play a crucial role in interfacing with the device.

Method 1: Unlocking Android Phone PIN using ADB

This method requires the use of ADB Shell commands to unlock an Android device protected with a PIN, without any interaction with the screen. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to execute this:

  1. Extract the downloaded SDK Platform-tools on your computer.
  2. Open the extracted folder, press the Shift key, right-click on an empty spot, and select ‘Open PowerShell window here’.
  3. Connect the Android device to the computer using a compatible USB cable.
  4. Type the command adb devices in the PowerShell window and press Enter. This action checks if ADB has detected the connected Android device.
  5. Once the device is detected, proceed with the command adb shell.
  6. Input the command input keyevent 26 to wake up the Android device’s screen.
  7. To unlock the device, type the command input text XXXX, replacing ‘XXXX’ with the known PIN or passcode.
  8. If required, simulate the OK button click by using the command input keyevent 66.

This method works in scenarios where the device’s PIN is known. However, if a pattern lock is used instead of a PIN, the process gets complicated.

Unlocking Android Phone Pattern using ADB

Unlocking an Android device locked with a pattern using ADB commands involves drawing a continuous swipe pattern using command-line inputs. This process entails simulating the following finger gestures on the device’s lock screen:

  1. Start touch (finger down)
  2. New point (finger move)
  3. End touch (finger up)

The sendevent command is used to simulate these actions. However, the challenging part is determining the correct coordinates for the pattern points, which can vary based on the device’s screen resolution.

There are tools and scripts available that can help determine these coordinates. For example, the Android pattern unlock script by Matt Wilson and ADB Control by Marian Schedenig can be used to find out the variables by interacting with the pattern lock on your phone.

Remote Control Tools for Unlocking Android Devices

If you’re unable to interact with the device’s touchscreen to unlock it, several remote control tools can come in handy. These tools enable remote control of the device via a computer, making it possible to circumvent the device’s lock screen. Some popular ones are Scrcpy, MonkeyRemote, and Vysor. Note that these tools require USB Debugging to be enabled on the Android device and the computer to be authorized for the operation.

Enabling USB Debugging on Locked Android Phone

There are several methods to enable USB Debugging on a locked Android phone. These methods include using an Android Unlock Tool, using an OTG adapter and a USB mouse, and using ADB commands. Each method has its own set of advantages and limitations, and the best one to use would depend on the specific circumstances.

Use of Android Unlock Tool

An Android Unlock Tool is a professional software that enables users to bypass the lock screen of an Android device. This tool can handle various types of locks such as passwords, patterns, PINs, and fingerprints. It’s compatible with a wide range of Android devices from manufacturers like LG, Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei, HTC, Asus, etc.

Using USB OTG and Mouse

This method involves using an OTG adapter and a USB mouse to enable USB Debugging on an Android device with a broken screen. However, not all devices support this feature, so it’s essential to check whether your device does before proceeding.

Using ADB Commands

ADB commands can be used to backup data from a broken Android device to a PC. This process involves installing the ADB tool on your computer, booting your device in ClockworkMod Recovery mode, and executing a series of ADB commands.

Enabling USB Debugging via Recovery Mode

This method involves entering the device’s recovery mode and performing a factory reset to unlock the device. However, it’s essential to note that this operation will erase all data on the device.


Understanding how to use adb on a locked phone can prove invaluable in situations where the device becomes inaccessible due to a broken screen or forgotten lock pattern. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the different methods to unlock an Android device using ADB commands and other tools.

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