Terry asks:

I just got an Android tablet. I was playing with it, getting used to it, and was doing pretty good. The next time I went to use the tablet, it told me I needed a password! I don’t remember setting a password. What can I do?

Hello Terry. We get this question at Worldstart a lot. Unfortunately, unless you can figure out the password, there isn’t a whole lot you can do in many cases.

In a lot of the cases we get asked about, a password or lock code was set up on accident. Tablets DO NOT come with a password set up. It is something that must be set up by the user. This is done by going to the Settings under Security. You’ll see a list of options including PIN number, Password, Pattern, and even Face Unlock.

 

When you tap on these, it will make you choose a the number, word, or pattern you’d like to use, and also make you verify it. But as soon as you do this, it will be required each time the tablet turns off. It is not a bad idea to have a lock screen set up to protect the tablet if it is lost or stolen.

If you forget what you put in, it is not easy to remove the lock. If it were, what would be the point of the password? If it were easy to remove, then anyone who picks up your tablet can easily use the same method to bypass the password. After all, the reason you set a password is to protect your information.

However, if you did accidentally set it and want to try to bypass it, there have been some options that have worked, but not in all situations. First, your best bet is to immediately set up a Google account on the Android tablet, before anything else, as this makes it easier in some cases to unlock the tablet. Also, note that on some of the non-branded tablets, these options do not always work, even with this account set up.

The first suggestion I have is to just keep trying. If its a pin or password, pick something you’d likely use on another device or that you have used in the past. You will get a notice that after 5 tries, you have to wait 30 seconds before trying again. But it’s worth a shot.

On some tablets, after you get the 5 attempts warning, you may have an option to tap Next. (Mine didn’t, as shown in the picture.) If you have set up a Google account, you have a much better chance of this happening. If it does give you the option of next, or if there is an option during the count down for Forgot Pattern or Password, you will be asked for your Google information. If you enter this, you will be taken to the tablet’s password reset screen. Again, this does NOT work on all tablets.

You can also try to boot into safe mode on some devices. The easiest way to do this is to hold the power button until the Power Off menu pops up on the screen. Press and hold power off until a Safe Mode warning pops up. On some devices, in safe mode you do not have access to apps, but you can sometimes access the settings. (This did not work on the tablet I was testing it on, the lock screen still appeared, but may be worth a shot on your device.)

 You could also try a factory reset. Make sure you remove your SD card before doing this. On some devices, you can do this by pressing down on the Power Button plus the Volume Up and Down button, or the Power Button, Volume Up and Home button, if there is one, while the tablet is off. It will load up to an Android Recovery Screen. If you see the robot, hit the volume buttons until you see Recovery Mode about his head, then press the Power button. Press volume down until you see wipe data/factory reset highlights, press the power button once more and the tablet will reset. Remember, this will erase EVERYTHING you have done on the tablet, and you will need to set it up just like you did when you first got the tablet.

Just as a note, the tablet I tested this on, not one of these methods was successful in bypassing the lock code, so keep that in mind. Your best bet is simply to be careful when playing with your security settings and to remember your lock code.

– Audra