Broken Android touch screen—can’t unlock: SOLUTION

Broken Android Touch Screen—Cannot unlock SOLUTION!


This was a trick. How to open an Android phone, in this case a Tracfone ZTE 990G—though it could just as well be a Galaxy II, III, or IV, or and HTC One, or Motorola Defy and so on—when the touch screen doesn’t work? The great thing about this solution is the screen could be cracked or the “touch” could just be not working, as long as you can see the screen you should be good.

Now first a head’s up: I cannot unlock a locked Android device. But what this explains is 1) how to reset phone but save your files. Again: This is is instructions how to save your Android device’s files photos music videos etc. Which is really what matters. That way you get your data (WOOT!) and then you can reset your phone to get rid of screen lock.

NOTE: If you really need to get into your phone you will just have to replace the screen. If saving your files is good enough, you are in the right place.

You will need a PC and to be able to plug your device into the PC. Note: I have no idea if this works with a Mac. Note 2: I make no guarantees other than I read that someone on the internet had done something like this by accident and it worked. So I reproduced the actions and it worked for me. Note 3: IMPORTANT—this may not work for you. If you really need the data then don’t fool around and send the phone away to a professional recovery service or get the screen repaired.

IMPORTANT: My phone said USB debugging enabled before I began this process. It always said “USB debugging enabled” when it was started. This mattered later I believe. I get lucky like that. A lot.

Here’s what I did. First, figure out how to go into Recovery mode. In the case of the ZTE 990G, it was key combo [volume up + power + option] which did it.

(Though sometimes just [power + volume up] or [power + volume down] will put your Android phone into Recovery mode, as well. It’s one of those things.)

In Recovery mode, you will see 3 options:
-Wipe data/factory restor
-Wipe cache partition

It’s the third one that’s the charm. Now when you do this, there will be a warning. Something along the lines of “deleting all user data” kind of thing. If you are like me this probably seems pretty unnerving at this point. But I had nothing to lose. The data was wanted by the phone’s owner but they had no options other than to ask for a favor if I could save the data. And it just so happened I did!

Okay, here’s what to do. Select “wipe cache partition”. You will be brought to a window that looks like:

So if you are bold like me you will choose “no” and repeat the process a couple of times. Because actually when it comes to screwing around with losing data I am a natural scaredy cat.

[…hey! Oh by the way did you read this part earlier:
“IMPORTANT: My phone said USB debugging enabled before I began this process. It always said “USB debugging enabled” when it was started. This mattered later I believe. I get lucky like that. A lot.”

…so just a reminder. You may want to make sure this is on on your device or phone. Simple googling—ie android galaxy usb debugging—can be very informative. Okay back to the process… ]

But eventually if you are like me you will human up and pull the trigger.


There are a few lines of script then back to the 3 choices.

At this point make sure your Android phone or tablet is plugged into your PC. Do this before you press reboot.

Ah, in case you missed that. Because what I said is: NOW make sure your Android phone or device is plugged into your PC. Got it? NOW is that time.

Before you press reboot. K? K.

When your device/phone/tablet is connected to your PC then do it. Scroll to the “Reboot” option and select it. Phone (device) will reboot.

Depending on your device’s startup time, a screen will soon appear on your Android device/phone that says “Turn on USB debugging”. Select it/yes.

Now look on your PC.

On your PC that gives you the option appears to “Import Pictures and Video” or—hey are you listening?—“Open folder to view files”.

Do that: select “Open folder to view files”. A window now opens revealing on the precious files. Now is the appropriate time to move away from the PC and Android device and jump up and down for joy. Or just give one of those Success Kid fist pumps.

Be sure and look in every folder for your files. Or why fool around, just copy the whole thing.

This is how I did it. Hope it works for you!

PS I haven’t looked to see what’s on the phone yet. But my friend’s files are saved and that’s what matters. #WOOT


About Mike Mongo

"My name is Mike Mongo and I am an astronaut teacher. Also: author & space STEM educator. While I travel frequently, I live on the island of Key West in the Florida Caribbean. My primary occupation has me working with students and encouraging students to pursue careers in space and astronautics. Much of my time is spent writing, teaching and learning about space and space travel. Of all the things I love doing being an astronaut teacher is certainly my favorite and most fulfilling."
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One Response to Broken Android touch screen—can’t unlock: SOLUTION

  1. Ravuama Vunivalu says:

    Hullow, my screen is not broken, but the phone can be ON but I don’t know how to manually tuneup the debugging mode

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