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My Samsung S4 (in an otterbox) was left in a downpour for about 10 mins. I brought it in, shook water out (only a little came out) and then (not knowing) plugged it into USB to try to upload files (I KNOW NOW DUMB) within a few mins, screen went black. So then I put vacuumed it and put it in a combo of rice and silica gel for two days. It has power but has a black screen and I was using the lock screen feature and had a password on it..... Is my data on my SIM Card? Can I get my SIM card reprogrammed for another phone and try to get to my files that way? I don't care about my phone just want the data recovered...

  • Does the phone vibrate if you try to type the password blindly? Does the volume key cause the phone to vibrate? Those are signs that it actually booted up; if you can't get signs of life, you may need to try drying it in rice longer. – Stephen Schrauger Aug 17 '16 at 2:18
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If you know for sure your phone can be powered on, then there might just be another doable (albeit technical) way. I've extracted photos and contacts from another S4 of my classmate a while ago using this. I'll describe it and let you decide whether you can handle it.

  • While in the blind, get to Download Mode by using the key combo.

  • Load a custom recovery onto the phone via Odin. If the phone is recognised in Odin then your blind operation is successful, otherwise reinsert battery and try again.

  • Immediately boot into recovery by using another key combo.

  • Connect phone to PC and try adb devices to detect the phone. If the device is listed, you can proceed to extract stuff from the internal storage using adb pull.

  • If other data from /data/data (e.g. contacts, app data) are needed, navigate to the corresponding recovery menu item to mount /data and then adb pull what you want.

The above steps in practise are much harder than it sounds. You need to know how to use Odin and ADB; you need to get the right custom recovery for your device and Android version; the key combo has to be carried out precisely in time; you also need to know about Android file structure when using adb pull. Even though I'm quite skilled at those, it took me roughly 40 minutes to get the data I wanted for my classmate.

It's up to you to determine if your data is worth all the hurdles and risks above, or if you just want to hand the job to a repair shop.

P.S. The SIM card only holds your cellular details, not your data. Don't even think about it.

  • +1: detailed explanation, nice formatting, nice wording. This is what pleases a critic. – Death Mask Salesman Aug 18 '16 at 14:02
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If it has power then try connect your phone to the computer via USB again. Any files stored on the sim card or expandable storage will stay there (that is if that isn't broken as well). Contact your sim provider if you plan on changing the sim.

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You could try buying an hdmi/mhl cable to hook up to an external monitor or TV. If the touch part of the screen still works, you could then see what you're doing.

Or try using a USB OTG (on-the-go) adapter to plug in a keyboard. Use that to blindly type your pin or password to unlock the screen, and then try plugging it into your computer to access the files.

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