Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken screen)

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.
Please check the Affiliate Disclaimer for more information.

How to proceed with Android file transfer with locked screen or if it’s broken? One day you’re walking, you grab your Android device from your pocket and it slips from your fingers and crashes straight to the floor facing down. We all have been through that, crossing fingers whenever it happened for the Android screen to escape unscathed.

It can be very distressing to inadvertently break the screen of our Android phone, and even worse if it gets broken to an extent we can’t see anything or even use the touch panel. The display is the most important component of our phones, it is its main interface.

After all, it’s through the screen that we’re able to navigate between apps, watch videos, access social networks, text our friends, check e-mails, do phone calls, and access all of the stored data.

That’s after you go through the screen lock. If your screen is no longer working, not only it gets unusable, but all that information stored in the internal storage of your mobile device gets inaccessible. It can be very stressful if it gets broken.

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken screen)

If you now have a broken Android phone, keep reading to retrieve your data from the device. Your first action will probably be to try to backup the files on your mobile phone and for that you need to use the correct Android unlock method, like a pattern lock or a PIN.

Let me take the chance to tell you that you should have enabled the backup data option that you can find in the settings, which will allow you to restore part of your data when you do a hard reset (or a factory reset).

Check out our awesome article on File sizes and their conversions explained: kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes and much more!

And no matter how careful we are with our mobile devices, it is expected that we’re gonna drop it accidentally sometime during its lifespan.

If you’ve recently smashed your phone screen, don’t worry and keep on reading, we have good news and very useful information.

By the way, this works on an Android mobile phone, like a Samsung phone. And yes, also on your Android tablet. It will not work on an iPhone, though.

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken screen)

If your touchscreen refuses to respond to your fingers or the broken phone screen is so damaged you can’t see a thing, don’t be in pain.

Trying will probably be in vain, you risk losing minutes or hours and even not being able to overcome the Android lock screen password. Even if you would, you wouldn’t notice it.

Luckily, there are some solutions to retrieve your precious data.

Use an OTG adapter

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken)

The OTG (On-The-Go) adapter is nothing but a form of USB connection. In this case, it’s a USB to micro-USB (or USB to USB-C) cable, so you can connect your Android phone to your personal computer via a regular USB port. Once you connect both devices, you’ll be able to use your smartphone without the need to use the touchscreen.

  • Plug your broken phone into your computer via its USB cable;
  • As soon as your Android broken screen gets detected, an “Open folder to view files” will be shown on your computer screen;
  • Now you have access to most of your phone’s files, both in internal memory and on the SD memory card, if you have one;
  • Chose the files you’re willing to recover (app data, personal files, photos, videos, etc), and copy those from locked Android phone to your computer.

This method will only work if you have the USB debugging mode turned on before your Android phone screen got damaged.

How to activate USB debugging?

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken)

To activate USB debugging, first, you need to activate “Developer Options”, which is hidden by default since Android 4.2.

Follow the next steps to activate “Developer Options”:

  • Open the menu and access “Settings”;
  • On the “Settings” screen, scroll down to the bottom, and tap “About phone”;
  • Now, scroll down the menu to the bottom, and find the “Build number” field;
  • Tap the “Build number” field seven times to enable Developer Options;
  • If it’s done properly, you’ll see the message: “You are now a developer!”.

Tap the Back button and you’ll notice that a new “Developer Options” field appeared above the “About Phone” section in the Settings menu.

Now, let’s enable “USB Debugging”:

  • Open the “Developer Options” menu;
  • Scroll down to the “Debugging” section;
  • Toggle the “USB Debugging” switch to activate it, and that’s it!

If USB debugging is not enabled and you can’t use your phone’s touch screen by any means to activate it, check the following procedures.

Use an HDMI cable

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken)

If you don’t have a personal computer or you can’t access one to transfer your personal files, or even if you don’t have the USB Debugging capability enabled, you can connect your Android phone to a TV or a monitor via the HDMI port, so you can access your data and activate that feature.

Some phones have a built-in micro-HDMI port but most don’t. If your Android doesn’t have one, you should get a suitable converter box. A converter box connects to your phone via micro-USB o USB-C and features a bunch of other ports such as USB-A (conventional USB), HDMI, etc.

This is how you’ll use the converter box:

  • Connect the box to your phone;
  • Connect the HDMI port on the box to your TV or external monitor;
  • Connect an external mouse to a USB port on the converter box;
  • Turn on your TV or monitor and use your mouse to unlock your phone, browse its contents, or to enable USB debugging.

Using third-party software to access your files

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken)

If you don’t have the USB Debugging option enabled and your touchscreen is unusable, and you also don’t have any ways to connect it to a TV or an external monitor, some third-party software may help.

Broken Android Data Recovery is an Android app by MobiKin, will help you access your Android system and retrieve all the important information you have there. With it, you’ll be able to extract the existing data such as contacts, text messages, documents, music, photos, videos, etc. both from the internal phone memory and also from the SD card.

You just need to follow those steps:

  • Install Broken Android Data Recovery on a PC;
  • Connect your broken Android device to that PC via USB cable;
  • Choose the proper data recovery mode which would be “Broken Android Data Extraction”;
  • Match your device with the program by choosing the device name and model;
  • Enter the download mode by following the on-screen prompts;
  • Then you’ll get an interface where you can choose the data you wish to extract and click the “Recover” button to save it on your personal computer.

Note: If you have a Samsung Android smartphone you can use its proprietary software Kies to recover and transfer data.

Android transfer files to PC over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth are also possible and there are apps designed to do it when both devices are connected to the same wireless network. However, bear in mind this can only be done if you can access your phone and use the touchscreen if it is not non-operational

Android file transfer with locked screen (or broken screen)

Wrap Up

Inadvertently breaking the screen of our phone can be painful and, even more, if it gets damaged to a point the device is unusable. Not being able to access our important contacts and all the personal data is distressing, a terrible thing to happen.

For some people the data on their device is even more valuable than the device itself.

To copy files from locked Android phone is still possible and throughout this article, there were some tips given on how to retrieve your data even if your phone’s cracked screen isn’t working. We hope it was useful and able to save you from the worry of losing your important files contained in your device.