I forgot my security lock pattern and my Wifi and 3G connections are switched off. I can hard reset the phone (Galaxy Nexus) from recovery mode, but that would wipe all my data. ADB is also turned off so I cannot recover my data unless there is a way to turn on ADB while the phone is locked. I understand that ClockWorkMod recovery turns ADB on automatically when it is installed.

  • Do I need to root the phone to install ClockWorkMod?
  • If yes, can I root the phone while it is locked?
  • Is there any other way to recover the data from the phone before I reset it?
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    Since the FBI cannot bypass the screen lock, i guess you will not. wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/fbi-android-phone-lock – Intrepidd Nov 23 '12 at 20:11
  • @Intrepidd This is the correct answer. It's not doable. The phone must either have USB debugging on or it's bootloader should have been previously unlocked. I'll mark this as the correct answer if you post it. – Zak Nov 26 '12 at 17:09
  • @Intrepidd FBI can't but you can bypass it. :P – avirk Nov 26 '12 at 18:50
  • @Zak Just trace the smudges on the screen if you can. – avirk Nov 26 '12 at 19:27
  • @avirk Those are long gone :) – Zak Nov 26 '12 at 19:38

Since the FBI cannot bypass the screen lock, I guess you will not. Check out http://wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/fbi-android-phone-lock


If your bootloader is not unlocked already, you will need to unlock the bootloader in order to flash the ClockWorkMod recovery. Unlocking the bootloader wipes the device. So as far as I know, that won't be an option for you.

Perhaps you have seen this toolkit to root the Nexus. It looks promising, but I would bet it won't work without USB debugging / ADB enabled. It may be worth a shot anyway. If it doesn't work, you will still be in the same boat.

Alternatively, you could just keep trying lock screen patterns. Hopefully muscle memory will kick in.


To use the toolkit, you need to know your build number. See this thread for some info that might helph you figure out what your's is. If you can't narrow it down enough, you might be able to use the Android *.*.* Any Build option for your carrier. Since you mentioned Jelly Bean, we can assume the build will be 4.1.* This doesn't give you the exact one you need, but it will help some. Based on the FAQs for the toolkit, it looks like you should be able to use the Android *.*.* Any Build, but you must select the right version for your carrier. If you want more info on this, post your carrier and region (US, Korea, etc.) and we can probably narrow things down a little more.

  • I would vote you up for that excellent toolkit, but I still don't have enough reputation. This hasn't solved it for me yet, mainly because it asks for the build number when it starts up, and I can't get the number because my phone is obviously locked and I'm afraid to pick a random build number, fearing that I might brick my phone. – Zak Nov 23 '12 at 10:03
  • @Zak I updated my answer to give you a little information about the build numbers. It might be enough to solve your issue. If you are satisfied with my answer, you can always choose the check mark to mark it as the answer to your question. – CatShoes Nov 23 '12 at 16:47

Normally after five unsuccessful attempts you will be prompted with forget password option. Your Google email and its password will be asked and upon successful verification you will be able to unlock. This will work even without Internet connection. At least this certainly works in ginger bread loaded LG P500

  • This doesn't work on my Galaxy Nexus (Jelly Bean) – Zak Nov 20 '12 at 16:43

You can reset it very easily with just few steps. I have tested it myself.

1: Enter wrong pattern 5 times and wait for 30 seconds.

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2: Select “Next” and enter your G-mail account username and password or you can answer your security question as well. Now just login in your G-mail account and when you authenticated to your G-mail account then the screen will unlock.

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Make sure you use the same account that was used to activate the phone and double check the password by logging in to that Google account in a browser.

  • This won't work with Wifi and 3G data connection turned off. – Zak Nov 26 '12 at 19:35
  • My bad forget about your data connection. Well did you not set up any security question? – avirk Nov 26 '12 at 19:38

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