I recently dropped my Nexus 5 and the touchscreen stopped working, no matter what I do it won't function. I have files on this phone that I didn't backup (I know, real smart of me), and I'm wondering how to get them back using my computer and a USB cable, considering it's the only way possible since the screen isn't working.

The catch is that with Android Marshmallow, came the feature in which when you connect your phone to a PC, it won't get recognized right away. You have to unlock your phone and swipe down the notification tray and tap on a "USB Enabled for Charging" (Or something similar) and select "USB for File Transfer" (Or something like that...). Since my screen is broken, I can't complete the aforementioned process.

What can I do to recover my files? The screen is completely broken, it registers some touches when I put pressure on it but it's just random taps all around the screen that make it go crazy. I have no pin or any form of security enabled, so I can just press the screen a bit and it'll unlock (with some luck and several tries), but beyond that any action is impossible to realize.

Thanks in advance!

  • Nexus 5 supports USB OTG. You can use a standard mouse to enable USB debugging (if it is the first time you're enabling it, you would've trouble authorizing debugging) or do some sort of backup using network connectivity, or you know, there are multitude of options available now. BTW, is the bootloader unlocked?
    – Firelord
    Apr 29, 2016 at 0:27
  • USB Debugging is on. Bootloader is not unlocked. It is connected to Wifi.
    – Guijcm
    Apr 29, 2016 at 0:35
  • Have you seen our nice broken-screen tag-wiki already? Peeking into that, you'll find a "Data Recovery" section at the end with a couple of helpful links to answered questions on the topic. Due to the additional "USB protection", you might have to combine some solutions (e.g. using an USB mouse to unlock your screen and enable USB mode, then follow one of the recovery guides).
    – Izzy
    Apr 29, 2016 at 5:39

2 Answers 2


Turn off phone using power button. Boot into recovery mode. Connect it to the PC and most probably it would be connected as MTP. If not, then recover your files via adb.

Edit: As pointed by @Firelord this will work on custom recoveries only. The other method is as follows. If you're connected to a Wi-Fi network, then find the IP address of your phone, most likely from the router setup page. You can then use ssh to copy files from the device. If ssh is not an option, then boot into fastboot mode. Flash a custom recovery for your phone and then follow the original answer.

  • @Firelord Edited as per your advice. Stock recovery should still however mount as a storage device, At least on some Samsung phones that I tried.
    – adeen-s
    Apr 29, 2016 at 15:02

Backup for media files in Internal storage:

Connect your device via OTG cable to Mouse. Go to settings and then Developer Options (If it is first time, go to Settings > About phone. Scroll to the bottom and tap on the Build number. After a number of taps, you'll unlock the developer options.)

In developer options, select the "Select USB Configuration". Click on MTP (Media Transfer Protocol).

Now quickly disconnect the OTG and then plug in your device to computer via USB. You can access the internal storage and take the backup.

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