How to bypass the security pattern lock on your Android device

by: Carl ParkerAugust 30, 2012

Having protection and security on your Android device is one essential thing you should take into consideration, especially if there are people who tend to snoop around your device without your permission. The possibility of actually forgetting the pattern you’ve set to unlock your device is not that high, but it may happen. What’s worse, your friend may have messed around with your Android device and set a completely different unlock pattern, leaving you stumped when you try to unlock your device.

In situations like that, you could lose all hope and start bickering with the perpetrator (either your friend or yourself), not realizing that there is a way to go around that misfortune. Thanks to XDA Developers member m.sabra, an easy way to regain access to your locked device has been made for your perusal.

This guide will work on any Android device, rooted or not. It uses the Android Debug Bridge or ADB. If you are having a hard time recalling what ADB is or you don’t know what it is, check our article about how to install the Android SDK (Software Development Kit) and how to setup and use ADB (Android Debug Bridge).

In this guide, learn how to bypass the security pattern lock on your Android device.


  • The instructions in this guide reportedly work for both rooted and non-rooted devices.  Root privileges, however, make this guide work in most cases.  Several users have reported that the guide does not work in certain non-rooted devices.
  • The information in this guide is provided for instructional and educational purposes only. There is no guarantee that these instructions will work under your specific and unique circumstances.
  • Use these instructions at your own risk. We shall not hold any responsibility or liability for whatever happens to you or your device arising from your use of the info in this guide.
  • Read and understand the whole guide first before actually performing the instructions.


  • Any Android device with USB Debugging enabled, preferably rooted; or, if not rooted, the device must be running a kernel that grants root access to the adb shell.
    • To enable USB Debugging on devices running Android 4.0 and up, go to Settings > Developer Options. Check the box beside the USB Debugging option.
    • For devices running on older versions of Android, go to Settings > Applications > Development. Check the box beside the USB Debugging option.
  • A computer with ADB installed
  • Your device’s USB cable
  • Make sure your device’s battery is charged 75% or more to avoid interruptions during the process.
  • Backup all personal data on your phone to make sure you have a copy of your personal data (e.g., contacts, SMS, MMS, Internet settings, Wi-Fi passwords, and the like) in case the procedure in this guide erases such data.


  1. Connect your device to your PC using the USB cable.
  2. On your computer, open a terminal window (or command prompt on Windows-based machines).
  3. Type in the following commands at the terminal or command prompt window. Press Enter after every line:
    • adb shell
      • The prompt should display a # rather than a $.  Otherwise, enter su to switch to the root user.
    • cd /data/data/
    • sqlite3 settings.db
    • update system set value=0 where name='lock_pattern_autolock';
    • update system set value=0 where name='lockscreen.lockedoutpermanently';
    • .quit
    • exit
    • adb reboot
  4. After your device has rebooted, enter the following commands at the terminal:
    • adb shell
      • The prompt should display a # rather than a $.  Otherwise, enter su to switch to the root user.
    • rm /data/system/gesture.key
    • exit
    • adb reboot
  5. Your device will reboot.  After it reboots and asks for a security pattern, you can use any pattern and the device will still unlock.
  6. Once you regain access to your device, make sure to change the system security settings to re-select another unlock pattern.

Congratulations! You have successfully bypassed the pattern unlock on your device. You don’t need to panic anymore because you now know that there is a way back into your phone after you’ve been locked out.

  • Tanmay Dwivedi

    if a phone has not enabled usb debugging before locking then…For Example taking my mobile its been locked by pattern and has not usb debugging and data mode (Internet) on and is locked but inside it has imp. files and data of mine or is there any possibility to save them???

    • vikrant pawar

      For my defy (rooted )when I go to start menu with Volume key and power button I do get option to Enable Debug mode.

      For other phone it must be something similar

  • Jiří Vlašimský

    [Off-topic] Do you know someone where to get the wallpaper which is on thumbnails in this tutorial? :)

  • gommer strike

    fantastic, well now I know how to strengthen my phone all the more, by disabling USB debugging.

    • Brandon Jiang

      USB debugging is extremely important. for example, if your LCD broke you can still access files from your phone using ADB, but only if USB debugging is enabled. likewise, when you are rooted and something goes awry, having USB debugging enabled can unbrick it.
      whenever i get a new phone the first thing I do is enable USB debugging

    • aZZo

      There must be a way enable USB debuging via ADB? It’s a pitty that developers didn not allow such a option.

  • Sk

    Until and unless you or your friend did a factory reset and changed the google account, Enter any wrong pattern 5 times, click on “forgot pattern” and enter your google username and password to reset the pattern lock.

    • Richard Middleton

      Now this sounds like a much easier way. Thanks

  • hack

    Yes you “Could” go through all that hassle or just hit forgot lock code which will
    have you sign into your google account and reset the code.

    • Luis Amador

      a year ago that was not possible hack. so this was the only way

  • Charles Kyle Kenyon

    When I was locked out because I forgot my pattern, I used Cerberus to lock it with a numeric code that I could then type in.

  • sravan kumar

    If u forgot pattern and google account u just go to your mobile recovery mode and wipe data.

  • pavan

    All the phone news you can get here:

  • vishal

    Though I knew the pattern, i tried this guide for testing and it worked !!!! I tried it on my nexus 4. It doesnt wipe data or anything else. Best of luck :)

  • Daniel

    How do I switch the $ to #? When I write su is not reecognized as an internal or external command program or batch file.

  • Aung Aung Swe

    Try this … real working software for finding pattern lock with nice GUI ..
    and also can remove any screen lock /(Bypass)

  • MLG Rekt

    How do I do this if my password is a pin?