A colleague's relative passed away and left behind a Galaxy Nexus phone. It is pattern-locked and we don't have the pattern nor his Google email account password (or access thereto). All my colleague wants off the phone are the photos. I have tried the following without success:

  • Use adb on both Windows and Ubuntu Linux to attach to the device connecting through USB.(USB debugging is definitely off.) -- always unable to attach the device (though on Linux lsusb is able to list the device)

  • Use apps Moborobo and Holo (Simple ADB Backup) -- neither can access the device

  • Attempted to use the emergency dialer hack (dial 0, use back button; does not work)

  • Booted into recovery mode, but there is no backup option (which seems ridiculous unless this is because of security)

  • Connected the phone to Windows, shows up as "Galaxy Nexus" drive, but is empty. "Import pictures" reports "no new photos"

Incidentally, the screen-saver shows these desired photos, but there seems to be no way to share them without unlocking the phone.

Any suggestions for how to get at the photos?

  • I've just added the locked-out tag to your question. Please follow up to the tag's wiki for some first aid.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


Try taking it to the carrier and explain the situation. They often have ways of getting around passwords because people come in regularly having locked themselves out and because many carriers also refurbish and/or resell used devices, which inevitably means they will come across locked devices (of course in the latter scenario I imagine they just factory reset but no matter... They still have the former situation to contend with).

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