I have a fairly common issue: a screen damaged android phone. These devices are highly vulnerable to broken screens (this particular phone, the samsung galaxy note 3, had 2 replacement screens before this one) I refuse to purchase another to simply get my data.

As I read about it I am disgusted at the attitude of the data thieves at google: (I make no bones about it, it is laughable to call it "security" - it is simply deliberate data theft in the guise of obscurity - and I know this because I write systems that do much more security for far less damage)

But forget the disgust, for the purposes of this question just ignore it, just don't try to defend it, or censor that I wrote it. I know what I am talking about.

As I say, I am a developer on Android so I already had adb installed on my pc and already had usb debugging enabled:

First I tried this: 1) Since my Google Account was set up on the phone I went to Google "remote locking" service http:www.android.com devicemanager only to discover that while this service LOCKS phones it does not UNLOCK them (...?) (x ANDROID FAIL)

Secondly I tried to : 2) use adb to adb shell rm /data/system/gesture.key but it is permission denied (x ANDROID FAIL)

Thirdly I tried to root the phone so I could use adb: 3) However even though I have now rooted the phone, I rooted it with the lock screen locked, so I cannot get the initial gesture unlock, to work to "confirm click" the root: (x ANDROID FAIL)

my now able to "weirdly" use su

Fourthly I tried : 4) the tool "Android Control.exe" http: android-control.software.informer.com/ seems to show the most promise but it only replicates gestures in on gesture vector, i.e. if your unlock gesture changes direction (as mine does) then h will not work - i.e. more than a single direction in a swipe and you have no way in: (x ANDROID FAIL)

Fifthly I learnt : 5) I could use a VNC if I had installed the server on the phone before hand (x ANDROID FAIL)

So, my question is, while locked out of my property by a bunch of slack idiots who are paid far too much, can anyone suggest a way out other than the five ridiculous android fails tried and the with I want to wait to try:

Options 6) is to buy a [micro usb hdmi/ usb mouse dongle][3] but it is a lot of money for a device that I need to use only once to swipe only once

  • To do 2), you must run the adb shell as root.
    – SarpSTA
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 20:28
  • .. that's why it is good to read 3)
    – Mr Heelis
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 20:28
  • 1
    @SarpSTA I don't know, I haven't used CWM in a while. I know PhilZ recovery has (I'm using it on my S6 Edge).
    – GiantTree
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 21:24
  • 1
    @SarpSTA, well turns out Philz does not have a built in file manager like TWRP, but an always active adb daemon in root mode, which helps far more than just a file manager.
    – GiantTree
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 22:08
  • 1
    @SarpSTA It is not mandatory though, but if you genuinely think that an answer is really good, make sure to upvote it. It gives a better signal to others that the post is helpful. Just a suggestion. :)
    – Firelord
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


WARNING: Follow these instructions only, if you are aware of the risks!

I am not responsible for any hard-/soft-brick! Proceed only if you know what you are doing!

Possible loss of warranty by triggering KNOX flags, flash counters etc.!!!


Install CWM and Philz recovery.

If you not already have a custom recovery installed:

Use ODIN to flash a third party recovery. I recommend PhilZ recovery, because you can navigate through all menus using only the buttons on your device:

First: Download ODIN, CWM recovery and PhilZ touch recovery from this XDA-thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-note-3/general/n900-one-guide-t3252033 (you may want to read that post, too).
You will need to install Philz with CWM, because CWM does not feature a file manager and Philz can only be flashed through another non-stock recovery.

Next: Shutdown your device and boot into the bootloader.
You may use adb reboot bootloader or the combination: Power + Home + Volume-DOWN

Install CWM (this will trigger any flash counter, KNOX warranty void bit etc., only proceed if there is a way to undo this or you will most certainly loose your warranty):

  1. Unpack ODIN and launch the application.
  2. In ODIN: Click on the PDA button and select the CWM .tar archive
  3. Now, connect your phone to your PC and click the Start button.

You now have CWM installed!

  1. Your phone should reboot automatically, so after it finished booting, copy the Philz recovery .zip onto your device's storage. You can use either the Windows Explorer or adb push <zip file> /sdcard/ for this. I'm not sure if the Windows Explorer method works with a locked screen, though.
  2. Reboot into the CWM recovery by either shutting down your device and pressing the combination Power + Home + Volume-UP or using adb reboot recovery
  3. Use your volume up/down buttons to select install zip from sdcard and confirm it by pressing the power button (it's possible to install a zip through sideload, but sideloading is not very reliable from others' and my experience)
  4. Select your philz recovery .zip file and confirm to flash it.
  5. Reboot the recovery by going into the Advanced menu and selecting reboot recovery
  6. You will now be greeted by the Philz recovery screen.

Do all sorts of root commands:

  1. Use your PC to run adb shell. You will automatically be in root mode (check whoami -> root)
  2. Remove the .key files that prevent you from unlocking your device. (rm /data/system/gesture.key)
  3. Reboot the device by simply selecting Reboot System Now and pressing the power button.

You should now have no screen lock, as Android is unable to find the key that is used to compare your input gesture to and will fall back to either no lock at all or swipe to unlock.

I can confirm that this guide is working with the Galaxy S6 Edge (SM-G925F), if the proper files are used.

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