I dropped my phone and broke the LCD. Now I can turn the phone on ( I feel the little quick vibrate that happens when you power the phone on ) but I have no display at all.

I got a replacement with the insurance plan, but I need to send the broken phone back. How can I wipe my data? Can I just rub a magnet all over it? How big a magnet?

Any other options? I thought about trying to navigate to the bootloader's reset function without being able to actually see what I'm doing, but I won't know if I succeed or not, and there are a few menus to navigate.

I also was going to ssh to the phone, but apparently I never made it so sshd starts automatically ( doh! ).

Any ideas?

  • can you boot it in fastboot mode? – Alexandre Apr 7 '12 at 0:47
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    You can't use ssh but is USB debugging enabled so that you can use adb? Do you have a custom recovery installed? Is the phone rooted? – eldarerathis Apr 7 '12 at 0:49
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    Flash storage is not affected in any way by magnet. I guess you'd better liaise with the insurance provider how best to deal with the situation, they probably may arrange a licensed technician to physically disconnect the flash storage in front of you (probably at a price). – Lie Ryan Apr 7 '12 at 5:31
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    A less invasive method if your device supports video out, try connecting the video out cable. – Lie Ryan Apr 7 '12 at 6:37

Assuming USB Debugging is on connect it to the computer via USB and wipe it with ADB. If that doesn't work you could throw it in the microwave.

  • But, its not reliable as you can see in accepted answer. Plus, it has side-effects too.. – Android Quesito Apr 7 '12 at 7:34
  • Yikes... is it safe to microwave a device like that? Seems like a bad idea... even just for the microwave. – Andrew Barber Apr 8 '12 at 1:40
  • Dunno, never done it and I'm going to try to keep it that way, but if I were in the OP's position I probably would risk the microwave. – Matt Apr 11 '12 at 8:31

Go to recovery mode of device and wipe data from there. In recovery mode, you need to work with physical keys (touchscreen doesn't work in this mode even in normal situation). Generally, volume keys are used for navigation and home key for Enter/OK.

How to click wipe data option when I can't see it.
See YouTube video of your recovery mode or check it in your friends' device. You can really do it after learning series of keys which needs to be pressed. E.g. down key 5 times, then home key, then down key 3 times and again home key.

How to ensure I am in Recovery Mode when I miss it many times even after proper key combination?
After you think you should be in recovery, leave device idle. If you hear boot music, remove battery, re-insert it and try again.

How about SSH/FTP?
Its very difficult without working touchscreen because it needs particular app/service running on device.

What about other physics based methods like magnetic wiping?
What you see in hacking movies can't be applied in real world. Particularly, powerful magnets can affect data on hard disks. Device storage doesn't store data using magnetic attributes.
Even if you find something which could wipe data such way, I'd strongly not recommend it because there's no reason why it can't damage hardware capabilities if it can wipe data from flash storage. In the last, this part is off-topic on this site.

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