I connected my Nexus 4 to my PC via USB.

When I open the device in Windows Explorer, though, it's empty.

I made sure to install an MTP driver.

How can I access the file system of my phone?

Edit: I have not unlocked my phone, because I'm unable to: the screen cracked, and is nonresponsive. Can I get around that?

Edit: So the Nexus 4 actually doesn't support OTG. Do I have another option? Take out the hard drive and put it in a new phone?

  • 2
    Have you unlocked your device (if you have a look screen)? If not, this is why it will show up empty as it's a security feature.
    – bmdixon
    Dec 26 '15 at 23:07
  • Oh! Please see my edit Dec 26 '15 at 23:09
  • If you have a USB OTG cable you can connect a mouse or keyboard to enter the password Dec 27 '15 at 1:27
  • Please see my newest edit. Dec 28 '15 at 1:25

Here are 2 methods to access your phone

Method 1: Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

You will need:Your device, Access to a PC

This method has proved to be the most helpful for users in terms of their feedback after completion. However, this method will only work if you have USB debugging enabled on your Android phone. If you don’t have this option enabled, move on to the second method on the list.

The ADB is used to create a bridge between your PC and your Android device. This bridge can be used to unlock the device and to access your files.

Download the Android SDK package on your PC. You can download it here. Make sure that you download the correct version for your PC. Once downloaded, extract the zip file on your PC.

Download the relevant USB drivers for your phone. You can get the USB drivers for your device from your manufacturer’s website.

Launch the Command Prompt on your PC and change the directory to where the ADB file is located. Type in the following command in Command Prompt.

cd C:/android/platform-tools

Connect your Android phone to your PC using a micro USB cable and enter the following command. If your phone is recognized, you’ll see some numbers in the Command Prompt message.

adb device

Type in the following two commands. You’ll need to type in the second command immediately after the first one. Replace 1234 in the first command with your actual password.

adb shell input text 1234

shell input keyevent 66

If the process is successful, your phone should be unlocked. You can now backup your important files and contacts.

Method 2: USB On the Go Mouse Method

You will need: Your device An OTG adaptor, A USB mouse

If you can’t access USB debugging , you can try the USB mouse method. This involves connecting your phone to a USB mouse with an OTG adaptor. Here’s a full list of compatible devices where you check to see if your device is covered. If not, users have reported that a USB keyboard can be used to unlock a device locked behind a passcode when a mouse hasn’t worked, so it’s worth giving the cable a try.

You can find the adaptor cable online, and it’s reasonably inexpensive. If it lets you access your device, than it’s definitely worth the price.

Once connected, the mouse will drain your battery, and some devices, (such as the Galaxy S3 Mini) will also be unable to charge during the process, so make sure your battery is sufficiently charged beforehand.

Once you have the wire to hand, the process itself is reasonably easy to complete.

Connect the micro USB side of the OTG cable in your Android tablet or phone and plug in the USB mouse in the OTG adapter.

As soon as you connect the mouse, you should see a pointer on your screen. You can now use the mouse to unlock the pattern or use it to press the keys of the on-screen keyboard if you have a password lock.


  • Thank you. I just found this source, too, and tried the Android Debug Bridge. When I enter adb devices, however, I get no devices found. Does that mean I don't have USB debugging enabled? Dec 27 '15 at 1:41
  • USB debug mode is something that you would have had to turn on. Most people (besides developers) would have no reason to enable it so it would not be found. Dec 27 '15 at 2:56
  • So the Nexus 4 actually doesn't support OTG. Do I have another option? Take out the hard drive and put it in a new phone? Dec 28 '15 at 1:25
  • In most cases the internal storage is on the main board of the phone. If you have cloud backup turned on (through google or another service) the data on your phone should be available. If not it would be possible to replace the screen of your phone to access it. Dec 28 '15 at 1:42

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