I can't unlock my Samsung Galaxy device

Samsung devices come with a range of security options, so that you can prevent unauthorised users from accessing your device. You can also set additional security measures that stop unauthorised users from resetting your device and its security methods. It's very important to remember your unlock method and to keep regular backups of your data.

We strongly recommend that you set up a remote unlock method such as Find My Mobile or Smart Lock, just in case you forget your password and need to unlock your device.

If you are locked out of your device and  have not set up a remote unlock method, you will need to perform a factory reset. If you have backed up your device, you can restore your data and settings after resetting your device.

Please note: unlocking issues can sometimes be solved with a soft reset. To perform a soft reset, press and hold down the power and volume down keys until the screen turn black and the Samsung logo appears. Your phone will restart and you can try unlocking it again.

Understanding your unlock method

There are several screen lock options available on Samsung devices. These will vary depending on your specific devices but can include:

  • Swipe
  • Pattern
  • PIN
  • Password
  • Facial recognition
  • Fingerprint recognition

Find out more about which lock methods you can use on your Samsung Galaxy device.

If you can unlock your device using your biometric method (fingerprint or face recognition) but can't change your screen lock type because you've forgotten your PIN, pattern or password, use Find My Mobile to reset the unlock methods. This will remove all unlock data including PIN, pattern, password and biometric methods so that you can reset them again.

 

Check if the problem is due to a fingerprint recognition issue

The first step is to check whether your device is having trouble recognising your fingerprint. Fingerprint performance may be affected by some of the below conditions:

  • Using different fingers. Make sure you use the same finger that you used to set up the lock.
  • If you bend your fingers or only use the tip. Make sure the fingerprint spreads over the fingerprint area if your fingerprint sensor is scratched or damaged.
  • If you have are using a non-Samsung protective screen protector, or a Samsung screen protector that is dirty or scratched.
  • Fingertips that are too dry or too damp. Let your fingers dry out if they have been submerged in water or use moisturiser if they are dry then try again.
  • Fingers affected by scars.

Find out how to set up, register or remove fingerprints.

using fingerprint using fingerprint

Unlock using Find My Mobile

Find My Mobile can help you find your device, or to lock or wipe it if it has been lost or stolen. You can also use it to unlock your device.

In order to unlock your device remotely:

  • your device must be connected to a Wi-Fi or mobile network.
  • your device must be signed into your Samsung Account.
  • remote control and remote unlock settings must be enabled.
  • you will need to enter your Samsung Account username and password.

Please note: To enable Remote Unlock settings, go to Settings, tap Biometrics and security then tap Find My Mobile. Tap the switches to activate Remote controls and Remote unlock.

How to set up a Samsung Account How to set up a Samsung Account
1 On a computer, go to Find My Mobile
Go to Find My Mobile webpage
2 Sign in to your Samsung account
Sign in to your Samsung Account
3 Click Unlock
Click Unlock to unlock Samsung Galaxy device
4 Click Unlock
Click unlock in Find My Mobile
5 A pop-up window will appear requesting that you enter your Samsung Account password. Enter your password, then click Next
Enter your Samsung Account password to confirm
6 A notification will appear on your mobile device to let you know that your unlock method has been reset. You will now be able to unlock your device by swiping the screen

Unlock using Smart Lock

Smart Lock lets you set your phone to stay unlocked when it's in a trusted location or if it detects a trusted device nearby. For example, if you have Smart Lock set up with a trusted device, such as a smartwatch, it will remain unlocked while these devices are connected.

Find out more about Smart Lock and how to use it.

 

Unlock using your Google account

If your device is running Android 4.4 or under, you may be able to unlock your device using your Google password. Once you have entered your unlock method incorrectly five or more times in a row, an option will appear to Unlock via Google. Enter your Google account log in details, then tap Sign in.

 

Make sure you are not opening the Dynamic Lock Screen menu

On certain devices, if you swipe from the right-hand edge of the lock screen, you will open the Dynamic Lock screen menu. To avoid this, unlock your phone by swiping from another part of the screen.

Dynamic Lock screen menu displayed on a Galaxy smartphone
Region and network locks

If you want to remove a network lock, you will need to contact your network or your retailer. Some service providers may allow you to unlock the device for a small charge or for free. This will depend on your device and contract with the network.

If you wish to remove a regional lock (i.e. you want to use your phone in a different country to the one it was purchased in), you will need to make a phone call lasting at least five minutes in the country of origin to disable the regional lock. If you are not able to do this, please get in touch with us using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

 

Reset your device

The final option if you've not been able to unlock your device, is to perform a factory reset using the buttons on your device. This will restore your device to factory settings and allow you to reset your security settings. However, this will remove all personal data from your device.

Please note: Most Android devices have security measures in place to stop them from being factory reset if they are stolen. One of these security measures is called Google Device Protection. This means that if you have a Google account on your phone, when your phone is reset using the buttons it will ask you for your Google account information. Make sure you know the email and password before resetting.

These details will be the same password and email you use for the Play Store. If you're locked out and you don't remember your Google account password, you have a couple of options:

  1. If you know your email but don't know the password, use the Google account recovery tool to recover or reset it. Then, use your new password to unlock your Galaxy device. You might need to wait 24 hours (or longer) for the new password to become active.
  2. If you cannot remember any of your Google account information, you can bring your device, along with proof of purchase, to an authorised Samsung Service Centre.
1 First, your device must be switched off. If you try to switch off your device you will be asked to enter your PIN, password or pattern. If you don't remember your PIN, password or pattern, you will need to wait until the battery runs out so that the device switches off itself.
3

Once you have reset your device, you can restore data on your Galaxy device.

If you're experiencing unusual behaviour on Samsung mobiles, tablets or wearables, you can send us an error report or ask us a question in the Samsung Members app.

This allows us to take a closer look at what is happening. The data is anonymised and only held for the duration of the investigation. Find out more about sending an error report through the Samsung Members app.

 

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