My screen is totally destroyed, it's black and unresponsive. The phone turns on just fine, though. I just got my new phone and I have to send this one back now.

I want to wipe the phone before I send it back, but I'm not sure how. I don't care too much about sending back a rooted phone, it seems Asurion doesn't really care about that from what I've read, but I don't want my personal data on the phone when I send it in.

What are my options to wipe the phone without a screen? I've already read a lot of threads on other forums and here on the subject, but everyone seems to say to wipe through ADB shell. Well, I can see the phone in ADB, but I am unable to enter SU through ADB shell. I assume it's because the screen is locked, and I have no way to unlock it. Others have also said to wipe through fastboot in ADB, but I am seeing conflicting recommendations and I'm not sure how to proceed. I'm not that proficient with ABD, so I want to make sure I don't mess this up. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


You can obtain the adb and fastboot utilities as part of the Android Software Development Kit (or separately from third parties, but watch out for Trojan binaries). If you install the SDK, you will need to install the Platform Tools and (if using Windows) the USB Driver for Windows.

Once you have them, from whatever source, this is what you will do:

  • Reboot the phone to the bootloader (fastboot):

    adb reboot bootloader

    adb may not work if the phone hasn't previously been placed in USB Debugging mode. In this case, boot the phone to fastboot mode by first powering it off, then powering it on by holding all three of the Power, Volume Up and Volume Down keys at the same time for two seconds, then releasing all three keys, then touching Volume Down twice, then Volume Up once.

  • Check to see if the phone is in fastboot mode. If it doesn't show anything, wait a few seconds and try again:

    fastboot devices
  • Wipe the user data/cache:

    fastboot -w
  • Ok, I did exactly what you said. userdata is erased. Is that the same as a factory reset? It said it erased cache, so does that mean everything I could possibly want erased is gone? Thanks so much for the info. I know it was simple, but it was very helpful. Thanks so much.
    – Gadsden
    May 19, 2013 at 4:13
  • Yes, fastboot -w erases both user data and cache, which is the same as the wipe/factory reset. That covers all of your data except for the SD card, which you'll have to place into another device or computer if you want to erase it. May 19, 2013 at 4:29
  • Great, thanks so much. I almost had to leave the card in because the it broke right on the sd card slot. I was finally able to pry the card out and get it in my new phone. So, I'm all set!
    – Gadsden
    May 19, 2013 at 5:43
  • I've a SG S2 with the display broken, and with that keystrokes I cannot enter into Fastboot! :( Feb 13, 2014 at 14:00
  • @DareDevil73 That's because the Galaxy S II is not a RAZR MAXX HD. Didn't you see the question title? Feb 14, 2014 at 5:42

Alternatively, you could use adb reboot recovery. If you don't have Fastboot, this will be the only option. Once you've rebooted into recovery, there will be four options:

  • reboot system now
  • apply update from sdcard
  • wipe data/factory reset
  • wipe cache partition

Press the - Volume Button twice and then press the power button. Then go down seven times, since all the other options are 'No'. If done right, your data should be wiped. If you want, wipe the cache partition too. Then go up and reboot the system.

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