How to

How to recover files on an Android phone with a broken screen

No matter how careful we are with our phones, there are times that we drop our devices accidentally. We end up damaging our phone, the screen can crack, and our device is now useless. But at least I can help you with recovering your photos from a broken phone.

The screen on an Android phone or tablet is its main interface, its focal point, and its window to the world. So when that window shatters, what happens to everything on the other side? Even if your screen is beyond repair, your files are still locked away in your Android device and they can be recovered. There are many ways to solve this problem available on the internet, but I can help you here.

Whether your screen is still functioning or entirely beyond repair, you don’t have to worry because you’ll find tips below that can help you recover photos as well as precious files within a few minutes. I tried and tested these solutions on my mobile device.

See also: How to Recover Deleted Photos from SD Card – Easy Steps to Retrieve


Method 1: Moving files using a data cable

To move your data from your phone, you need a PC and a USB data cable. With the appropriate USB cable, you can connect your device to your PC and copy everything you need.

USB debugging needs to be turned on for this to work correctly. If you don’t have USB debugging enabled, don’t worry, it will just take a little longer for the workaround. I’ll cover the option without USB debugging after this section.


Step 1:

Have a USB cable ready because you need to power up your phone or tablet and connect it to your PC. Let’s go through it step by step:

  1. Power on your Android device. If the screen went to the point where you can’t see anything, wait for a minute or two after turning it on to ensure it’s activated.
  2. Power on your PC if it isn’t open already.
  3. Connect your Android device to your PC via your data cable.

If USB debugging is enabled, your phone or tablet will show up as one of your devices within your computer. If you have autoplay enabled on your PC, this notification will appear on the screen to show you that your device is connected.

Recover photos by having USB debugging enabled
Click “Open folder to view files”

If you didn’t enable USB debugging, it will still appear, but you will not have access or permission to transfer files.


Step 2:

You now have access to all of your files. You can click and drag any folders or files from your Android device to your PC. It can take some time to find the exact files you want, but if you don’t have time to sift through them, you can drag and drop every folder and sort through them later.

Recover photos from your phone's internal storage
Copy your files from your internal storage

If you’re looking for photos, you’ll find them in the DCIM folder–those vacation pictures will be safe on your PC in no time. That’s all you have to do if your USB debugging is already enabled.


Method 2: Move files using a data cable (Without USB Debugging)

Step 1 and 2 above are still going to come in handy here, but only after you manage to enable USB debugging. If your screen is still usable, this is easy enough, but if it isn’t, you’ll need to go through some extra steps.


Step 1:

Let’s start with the easiest way to turn on USB debugging. If you can still use your screen, go to your “Developer Options” to enable the required setting.

debugging recover
Access your developer options

If you don’t have Developer Options available, you can enable it by doing this:

  • Navigate to your Settings
  • Scroll down to “About Phone” and select it
  • Scroll down to “Build number
  • Tap your build number several times until you get a popup message
  • Go back to your Settings and then scroll all the way down

You’ll see your Developer Options now available near the bottom of your Settings screen.

developer options recover
Tap “Developer options”

One of the first settings you can toggle in your Developer Options is USB debugging. You can switch it on or off with just one tap.


Step 2:

Step 1 works if you can still use your screen, but if it isn’t responding to your touch, don’t worry. You can still use USB OTG to access your phone with the help of a second screen. If you can still access your phone or tablet screen, you don’t need to follow this step. But you can use an USB OTG cable and a USB mouse to act as your phone’s cursor.

To do this:

  • Turn on your phone or tablet
  • Connect the USB OTG cable to your device like you would a charger
  • Connect a USB mouse to the other end of the cable and wait a moment

If it worked and you’ve enabled USB debugging by following these steps: Follow Method 1: Step 1.


Step 3:

If your screen doesn’t work, but your Android device can still power on, you can use a TV or a monitor as a secondary screen. It means you’ll need an HDMI cable and a converter box so you can use both HDMI and a USB mouse at the same time.

adapter recover
An OTG card reader for your Android

The only way that you won’t need a converter box is if your phone or tablet already has a micro HDMI port installed. In case your phone doesn’t have a micro HDMI port, you can purchase a converter box on Amazon or other markets.

This method will work the same way as Step 2, except this time, you’ll be plugging in the converter box first, and then everything else.

diagram recover
Use a mouse for your Android


Now turn on your TV or monitor and use your mouse to unlock your phone and enable USB debugging. From this point on, you can follow Step 1 and 2 of Method 1 to recovery and transfer your data as usual.


Method 3: Use Samsung Kies / Smart Switch

Next, let’s talk about Samsung Smart Switch, or if you aren’t using a Samsung device, Samsung Kies. To see instructions for Samsung Kies, skip to Step 5.

samsung switch kies recover
Samsung Smart Switch and Samsung Kies for Android

Both programs make use of your PC your phone or tablet, to transfer photos, contact details, and other essential files as easily as possible. I’ll start with Smart Switch first to show you how to transfer data from your Samsung device.


Step 1:

You can download Smart Switch for PC or Mac. If you want to switch files from phone to phone, you’ll need to download the app. However, you can’t use Smart Switch if your phone doesn’t work, so this won’t work for everyone.


Step 2:

On a PC or Mac, install the Samsung Smart Switch. Make sure you have an appropriate data cable to use for the transfer, and make sure your device is on.


Step 3:

After you finish installing Smart Switch, fill out the checkbox to launch the program. Doing this will launch Smart Switch, and the application opens up with instructions.

Launch Smart Switch Recovery
Connect your device

From here, connect your Samsung device and follow the on-screen instructions to recover all of your import files for later transfer. This will help you recover photos and other important files on your Android device.


Step 4:

If you’re trying to use the app instead of the PC or Mac program, while your screen is completely broken, Use one of the unlock methods here to install the app on your damaged device.


Step 5:

For phones and tablets that aren’t Samsung devices, you’ll need to use Kies instead.

Choose Samsung Kies version
Choose your version

Download the version of Kies that matches up with your version of Android. Although people recommend using Kies with Samsung devices, you can also use Kies with other device brands. You can also create backups of important files with it.

Recover photos and files using Samsung Kies
Connect your device to Kies


Just like in the Smart Switch, Kies gives you all of the instructions you need to follow after you correctly connect your device to your PC or Mac. If you cannot open your device to use Kies, please follow one of the unlock methods mentioned here. If your screen is broken, follow one of the methods mentioned here.


Method 4: Backup apps

When I mention backup apps, I’m talking about programs like Helium or Titanium Backup. There are even services like Nandroid backups that make use of custom recoveries. Most of these are tough to use if you can’t use your screen, but with a mouse and a second screen, you can easily bypass your screen problems.


Step 1:

I’m going to talk about Helium first since I’m a pretty big advocate of its service. Helium requires both the PC equivalent and the Android version for your device. If your screen is beyond usable, you can still use a USB mouse instead of the touch screen.

Helium file recovery
Choose which one you need

Download and install both versions of Helium for both your PC/Mac and Android devices. Once you’ve finished installing both, open Helium on your PC first.


Step 2:

With Helium open on your PC, connect your Android device to your PC via an appropriate USB data cable.


Step 3:

Once you establish the connection, launch the Helium app on your Android device. If your screen is unusable without a mouse, launch Helium before connecting your Android device.

helium app recover
Launch Helium

Once Helium establishes that both connections are in order, it will give instructions on how to do a backup, and what to do past that point.


Step 4:

Now that I’ve covered Helium, I’m going to spend a minute on Nandroid backups. If you don’t know what Nandroid is, I can explain. Nandroid mainly takes a “snapshot” of your phone’s current internal state using your custom recovery. You can then take that snapshot and revert your phone to that snapshot’s state at any point in time.

You can make multiple Nandroid backups and store them for later use, so the service is beneficial. I highly recommend you giving it a try as long as you don’t mind spending extra time on recovery.


Step 5:

Last but certainly not least, I want to draw some attention to Titanium Backup. It’s a fantastic service and app. Titanium makes a backup of virtually everything on your phone, which you can restore at a later date.

titanium recover
Choose which to restore

You don’t need to use the backup file on the phone or tablet you’re using, it can be on any other Titanium enabled device. You can read our full explanation on how to use Titanium to see how it works, broken screen, or not.


Frequently Asked Questions


Conclusion

I know that sinking feeling in your stomach when you drop your phone, screen first, onto the pavement. Even though seeing that shattered screen makes your heart sink, at least you can still retrieve all of your essential files. You just have to stay calm and use all of the tools you have at hand.

Still can’t get to your photos, files, and other relevant documents? Leave a comment below, and I’ll help you out as soon as I can!

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162 Comments

  1. The site was extremely helpful. It was easy to uderstand. Rather or not thecadvice works, I’m not certain yet. However, I’m excited to try. I have hope now. Thank you,

      1. does this work for samsung galaxy s6? I mean the TV and maus part. Do mauses and Tvs require permission from the phone to work on the phone or do they work automatically?

      2. Hello, I have a S7 phone and have read that a HDMI comnector / MHL connector is not compatible
        Is this true? I have a blank broken screen, pass code locked
        How can I access phone to retrieve my data, photos etc?
        Thanks in advance

        1. Unfortunately S6 and S7 phones are not compatible with HDMI/MHL connectors. You can still use a USB cable to transfer data, either using your computer’s file manager (Method 1) or Smart Switch (Method 3). Once you’ve got your new phone or have your screen repaired, remember to install a backup app to help make the process easier if it happens again.

    1. We need often online backup our data on mobile or tablet! I remember this when I lost my photos on Samsung S6! But luckily, I got Leadersoft Android Recovery Master from t.co/75sVlOOeSc easily!

      1. Hi Millen,
        That´s great that you were able to get your files back. Backing up your files whenever you can is a must since if anything goes wrong, you don´t have to worry about how to get them back. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  2. This only works if your phone is already unlocked, what if i cant unlock my phone because my screen is broken AND i cant see my screen so the otg cable and a mouse do me no good

    1. If you can’t unlock your phone go on Amazon or eBay and get a hdmi connection kit. It only costs about $10. Also make sure you have a simple usb plug in mouse and an hdmi cord. Plug the hdmi connection kit into your phone. Then, plug the hdmi cord and your mouse into the hdmi connection kit. Plug the other side of the mouse and hdmi cable into either your computer or tv. This will let you control your phone with your mouse, while also letting you see your phone screen to unlock it. Hope this helps

      1. Hello there, I have a first edition Droid that I need to get the pictures off of but, I have since forgotten the password. I have gone through and realized that the USB debugging has not been activated and I am unsure how to access that without being able to unlock the phone itself. If I do not know the password is the option suggested above by Adriana going to work for me??? Or what do I need to do… Thank you in advance!

  3. This trick worked for me but only on certain things, I was wondering if there is a way to access my apps using this or a similar method, I have successfully backed up all other data except some very important pictures of my daughters birth that where stored in a app. I really need to access this app! My screen is broke and completely black but everything els works. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. By the way it is a galaxy s4.

      1. I have a samsung galaxy s5 and this method did not work for me. I hooked it up to my tv with an hdmi converter box and nothing happened. What else can I do?????

      1. I have recovered most of my photos using this method but there are still several very important pics if my daughter’s birth that I had stored in a app. Was wondering if there was a way to get them out of the app, my galaxy s4 still works just has busted screen, it shows me just about everything when plugged to pc except the apps and the pics in the app. I really need these pics, any help very appreciated.

  4. my screen only has a tiny strip for me to see anything, I’m trying to get my contacts from my phone because i didn’t send them to my gmail account like i should have. What can i do to retrieve my contacts from my phone ?

  5. I have read these instructions and am hopeful that they will assist me in recovering photos from my busted phone. My phone has a completely dark and unresponsive screen and is also encrypted. I understand the steps for how to unlock the phone, but it is less clear to me how I should then be able to copy the files from the phone to my computer. The unlocking instructions use a TV for the display so how do I go from that step to having the phone connected to the PC to copy the files? Thank you for your assistance!

    Win

    1. Win Noren,
      If you’re using mouse at the same time, connecting to a PC through micro USB wont be possible. Try a bluetooth connection or another wireless method.

    2. Install Dropbox on your android first, upload all the files from your phone to your DB account. Then install Dropbox on your PC, sign in to exactly same account as you singned in on your phone – and voila, you have all the files on your PC.

  6. And a follow up question. I am in the middle of switching my service from one provider/network to another. Do I need to wait to activate my new phone and switch the number from my broken phone to the new service?

  7. When I connect phone and PC,it says there aren’t any files and I know there are,can you tell me what may the problem be?

  8. here what i have …..i have andrioid phone that is very very white screen ….i take it to where i place it …they say that water cause it and it cant repaired ….that is fine but i need my contact numbers that i cant view on my phone due to white screen ….am trying to backup to google but i cant see to do that …..i already saves my pictures on my memorty card (SD)

    is there any way i can get my contact numbers that save in my phonebook to computer via usb

  9. I would love if you could possibly help me recover my data …I tried using the steps however my phone is locked, maybe that is why it failed. any other suggestions?

  10. My motorola G phone got smashed and will not turn on. The screen is cracked and the phone body was actually twisted some and there is no sd card etc. installed. Is there a service for me to send the broken phone to in order to get the pictures out of it? Thanks

    1. You can get your phone repaired from your manufacturer in order to get the pictures. You can also contact your local mobile shop for help.

  11. Hi I have got a Sony Ericsson Z1 I recently cracked the screen and when I plugged the USB in to the PC it says there are no photos on the device and unless I perform a miracle the wife won’t forgive me

  12. I need to retrieve my information on a phone that does not allow me to interact with. The phone was set to “charge only” and not to “storage device”. How can I retrieve my information? can I ?

  13. My phone screen is black and I had a app for my pictures to be on back up google + but none of the pictures are showing up from the 4th of July, also tried the usb and connecting my phone nothing is coming up for me import data. It is only charging the phone…Please help me.
    Thanks,
    stress out smart phone owner

  14. How do I transfer the data I save from my old android device to the pc to a new android device? My old phone has a cracked screen and only responds to touch in 1 spot so I can’t transfer data to new phone because the confirmation ok button is never in the spot that the screen responds to touch in on the old phone.

  15. My phone has a dead screen but I can still connect it to the compute via USB. Yet when I do, the computer displays that there’s no files on my phone? Does this mean that I lost my files when I broke it?

  16. My old phone broke and I had an insurance plan. I returned the broken phone and got a new one, but I want my pictures from my one phone. How do I get it?

  17. I have a nexus 5 that got smashed in my backpack, and I can’t see the screen, but I have photos and videos that I want back. I do have an app called “shoebox installed on both my new phone and the broken one, I’m wondering if there is a way to sync the photos and videos from the broken phone to the shoebox app using the new phone? If not how else can I get my photos and videos back (my phone is locked)?

    1. Hi Jackie,
      Since Shoebox stores your photos and videos to the cloud, I think that you would only have to sign into your account to get your pictures and videos. Please try that and tell me if it worked. Thanks for commenting! =-)

  18. my screen is busted on my S5. I have pictures that I would like to get from my “private” folder. How can I recover those? I already have all of the other photos downloaded to my pc.

      1. I am having a similar issue with mine PLEASE HELP!! This does not work because the private mode folder is recognized as a separate file system. How do I access this via Windows or Linux?

  19. Hi all, I have a nexus 6 with a broken screen (black screen and no touch access) is there a way to cast my phone. I know I cant use hdmi output cause its a nexus 6. I was going to try to use chromecast for my screen but its going to be hard to figure all that out with a black screen.. any other suggestions?

  20. Hi I recently accidentally erased an album off my phone not the sd card… so is there a way to recover that album mind you that that phone is now broken and screan doesn’t work. So using a Intel laptop can I retrieve my pictures??!!! :((

  21. Hey I have an android pantech AT&T phone any my display cracked and went all Black.
    If I go get it fixed do all my pictures and music get deleted??.

    1. Hi Liliana,
      I don´t see why they should wipe your phone clean for this type of repair. I would recommend calling the place where you want to take your phone to make sure it is not something they do. Some repair places may do it, while others won´t. Call to be on the safe side. Hope this helps. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  22. My phone won’t turn on. No matter how much I charge the battery. How can I get my pictures and music out of the phone? It is a Samsung Galaxy 4.

  23. I’m trying method one but the command prompt is giving me this: “The system cannot find the path specified”
    I followed all the steps and waited for the program to download. Not sure what i’m doing wrong. Please help

      1. My phone did not have USB debugging turned on how i can turn it on if my screen is broken it just lights up

  24. I have a locked droid turbo the screen is completely broken and I’m trying to retrieve pictures and data. I don’t have a micro usb but no hdmi but when I plug it into my computer it does not appear at all.

    1. Hi Amy,
      Did you download the necessary drivers? or many the cables you are using or the ports are faulty and that´s why your computer doesn´t recognize your phone. =-)

      1. JOA Team,

        I have the same problem. Where can I find the necessary drivers? I can plug my phone in and it just shows an empty drive. I know I should be turning on USB debugging to get through this step, but I can’t due to the unusable screen. Is there a way around this?

  25. Hi Y’all,
    I just ran across the post of Amy. I had the same problem with broken/locked screen. It is a very easy fix. Go to the store and get a USB OTG cord and a keyboard. (Google it so you can see what it looks like) Maybe $20 for both. I took them back to the store after I used them. Connect the keyboard to your phone using the USB cord. Turn your phone on and type your pin on the keyboard to unlock your screen then immediately (before it goes back to lock) disconnect the phone from the keyboard and plug the phone into your computer with a usb cord and your computer will now recognize your phone. I suppose this will only work with a pin you can type, not with a slide your finger type pin. Good luck!

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      That is a great idea and thanks for sharing. I ´sure your idea will help many. With Swype type passwords, things are a little more complicated. =-)

  26. with my broken screen i got all my data back by following the instructions here but i realized you need to be a little bit technical for you to achieve what is said here, i instead used adb-toolkit which i found easier for dont need to worry if your password is on or if you had the option of charging only enabled for the usb port like it was in my case.thanks guys and i salute you. one thing you need to keep in mind the usb debugging option must be enabled.

    1. Hi Ben,
      I am glad that you were able to get your data and thanks for your suggestion- You are most welcome and yes, USB debugging is very important. =-)

  27. I’ve moved my files through a data cable before and it has worked perfectly. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Laurie,
      Good to hear that you were able to transfer your files without any problems and you are most welcome for the information. Thanks for reading. =-)

  28. For Method 2 #3 – will that adapter also work for a Galaxy note 5? (on Amazon it says only compatible with note 2/3 but that might only be when the product came out) If not, is there another adapter I should get to hook up my phone to the TV for use? My phone turns on, does not respond to my finger but does respond to the stylus but I broke the inner screen and it’s completely black. I did not set up USB debugging before this happened so I am trying to get the phone onto the TV so that I can initiate USB debugging and then I have SmartSwitch on my computer so I can access the files. Please help!

  29. I dont own a computer nor do i have access to one. I shattered my screen to my s7 and im getting a new one today, am i sol and just lost over 5 years of files? Please help

  30. I have a LG G2 & the screen is cracked but it still turns on. My phone is set to when i plug it up to a computer its on Charge only, and i’m unable to change it because of how badly the screen is damaged. Any ideas on how i can get my pictures recovered?

    1. Hi Jessica,
      You can use Method 2 to changed the charge only on your phone, that way your computer can recognize your phone. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  31. Hi,

    I need help with recovering my data from my phone.
    I accidentally dropped my phone on the floor couple days ago. The screen broke and only responds to touch in the bottom of the screen.
    The phone supports usb on the go, but because I would need to open the lock on the phone (which I can not do) and click the “recognize usb device” function I can not use this method. Usb depugging is also disapled on my phone…
    What can I do to recover my data?
    Sony xperia z3+ with android 6 installed

    1. Hi There,
      Since you dropped your phone, there is hardware damage. I would start of by taking in for service. If you do take it in, remember to tell them not to do a factory reset (if it’ s possible) since that will erase everything on your phone. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  32. Hi. I have a Samsung Galaxy S6 Active. I slipped and fell when it was in my back pocket. The screen did not crack, but the display is black. However, the blue indicator light blinks every few seconds and the phone makes its typical sounds (for example when plugged in to a charger). I want to copy the photos and videos I have stored on the phone. I do not have USB debugging enabled. So I bought the converter box listed in this guide (HDTV Adapter and OTG Card Reader). I connected my phone to the micro USB plug on the converter box, my TV to the converter box with a HDMI cable, and a mouse to the converter box. Nothing shows up on my TV when I go tot he appropriate HDMI input channel. I tried it on a second TV with the same result. What am I doing wrong? Is the Galaxy S6 Active not supported by the converter box?

  33. Hi,
    I recently purchased a Galaxy S7 edge and I dropped it and the entire screen shattered and went yellow. I have many photos and data stored on there that i never backed up. Despite not being able to see anything on the screen, I know the phone still works when charged. I am still able to unlock the phone using my password and the phone itself is responsive. I would like to know how I can access the data and save it without going through the process of purchasing/using an HDMI cable and a mouse etc. You should know that when I plug my phone into my mac the phone makes the charging sound but my laptop does not indicate that the phone is connected. I have to send my phone back to the insurance company tomorrow so a quick response would be appreciated. Thank You.

    1. Hi,
      Do you remember if your phone was set to charge only or it you set it to file transfer mode? If it was set to only charge that could explain why your laptop doesn’t recognise it, but you want to try playing with the cable and unplug and plugging it again or trying different ports.

  34. Used my Nexus 7 (Gen 1) Tablet Friday Lunch time, brought it home with me in my backpack, tried to use it in the Evening and nothing. It wasn’t dropped or anything and has done that same short journey many times. The screen stays black so I cannot access any files, photos or notes I saved on it.

    Tried holding both volume buttons and plugging in to charge, tried holding in the on button but still nothing.

    Tried plugging into laptop the message comes up saying it does not recognise it any more. But when I press and hold start button the laptop bleeps and recognises I am doing something to the tablet but does not recognise what the device is.

    Tried connecting to different laptops and result is the same.

    I tried connecting to laptop with HDMI cable but laptop does not even notice anything has been plugged in.

    My TV does not have HDMI port and I am waiting for some adaptors arrive that I have ordered to try and connect using different methods to the TV and laptop.

    I have tried using various programs including Dr Fone and Yodot which enables you to access files on your device from your computer/laptop but once again those programs do not even recognise any device plugged in. So Smart Switch and Helium will probably be the same result.

    Tried disconnecting the battery for 30 seconds or so and reconnecting it but still dead.

    Had a close look at other connections inside and all seems secure plus I cannot see any damage of any sort. All still looks new.

    I’m not sure what is exactly wrong but it seems something serious like a tiny crack in the mainboard which may cost me more than the tablet is worth to get it repaired. If it is just the screen then I would have thought the laptops would still recognise it. It is around 4 years old so I have had my moneys worth but would still be good to get the info from it.

    If I had dropped it or something I could accept it but carrying it from one place to another in a soft case and getting such a problem is a mystery.
    Maybe you may have an idea of what the problem may be so I can but and replace it myself to save costs or maybe I have missed something I can try.

    Thank you for your help and the info you are sharing on here. 🙂

  35. Thank you for the quick reply and for giving me more options to try.

    I haven’t seen a crack in the board, I just thought that could be an explanation as I cannot see any damage inside and a hairline crack would be barely visible but enough to cause this problem.

    I realised another TV we have has a HDMI slot and I tried plugging the tablet into it but nothing came up. Also tried in video port and USB port in the TV but still no joy, so it has me thinking that maybe getting a adaptor to plug HDMI and mouse into still wont work unless I did something wrong when trying the HDMI cable.

    1. Your welcome for the quick response. A question, does your device at least try to reboot and then shuts down or absolutely nothing happens?

      1. Nothing happens, the only sign of life is the laptop makes a noise when you plug and unplug it.
        I have another tablet now, you can normally sync them by holding them back to back but nothing happens, also tried Google remote access but it does not detect the tablet.

        On this page I have tried:
        Method 1: Moving Files Through a Data Cable
        Laptop won’t recognise Tablet and only lists it as APX

        Method 2: Moving Files Through a Data Cable(No USB Debugging)
        Bought HDTV adaptor, nothing works through it and even connecting directly to TV using HDMI cable nothing shows on screen (I have since bought another tablet and that does not show up either).

        Method 3: Samsung Kies / Smart Switch
        Used about 5 or 6 programs that are supposed to connect to tablet. None will even recognise it. Not only lost info on tablet but my phone went though washing machine and is dead, it has a Sony OS similar to Android and none of these programs worked with that either. So 2 lots of lost info).

        Method 4: Backup Apps
        Screen dead so this wont work.

        I am still looking into other options on another page you gave me.

        Thank you again for your help. 🙂

  36. I can’t thank you enough. No one could get my photos off my cracked LG (no sd card, wifi off…). The screen would turn on, but swiping would not render. Then I read your idea about connecting a mouse. Bought a $6 connector and it worked like a champ! Turned on Google photos back-up and am doing the happy dance as I watch my photos load onto my account.

    You are life-savers!!!!

    1. Hi Jen
      It´s so great to find out that you were able to get your stuff off your phone. You are most welcome and don´t forget to share your positive experience with others on your social media accounts so they too can benefit. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Hi Guys,
    I have a Note 5 which is encrypted. The digitizer broke and the screen is dark now.
    The phone restarted and I know it is stuck on the ‘Enter Code to Decrypt Phone’ screen.
    How do I input the code to follow the above steps?
    I need to backup my data and can’t seem to find any solution any where.
    My Question are if I connect a Keyboard to the phone, will I be able to use it to enter passcode at the boot screen? or do you have any other solution that might be feasible?

    1. To enter the code, you can get a piece of clear plastic and use a functioning Note 5 draw the number pad on the plastic and then put that plastic on the broken Note 5 to enter the numbers. Ask a friend if you can use their Note 5 to draw the numbers.

  38. im in a very difficult situation. my screen is cracked and it wont work. it wont wont power on. and it seems to not respond to connecting the usb. i dont know what i can do, i have the galaxy note 5

  39. hi, i have a galaxy note 5, and now the screen is cracked so its black when it first happen it still respond to touch. but a few minuets later it seemed to get warm and then it shut off, now it wont charged and my laptop wont detect it when i connect it with the usb

  40. My Kid smashed her LG Stylo in the car door and screen is a total loss… got her a new phone but she is melting down over all of the photos and contacts that are still on the internal storage (issues with the stylo prevented all of this from being stored on the SD card, new phone doesn’t have these issues.) The phone DOES power on and is connected to in-house wifi but has screen lock enabled, so usb to pc connection is a bust… is there away I can get at this data without waiting on ordering the HDMI/OTG adapter. I do have an OTG cable but this isn’t going to be enough at this point. ay help would be greatly appreciated. I would even PAY to get this data back. This is her senior HS year and she has irreplaceable memories trapped in this phone

    1. It sounds like there is some significant hardware damage and you might need to have the phone fixed to try and get those pictures. Otherwise, I honestly don´t see a solution. Sorry

  41. Hi JOA –
    I have an Android Galaxy S4 with a cracked screen. I can see it light up, but the screen is not usable. I have tried to plug in my phone via simple data cable to my PC. I can see the folder to open to view files, and I can see my actual device. However, when I click on the device to expand it – nothing it there – or right click for the option to download items, I am getting the warning “No new pictures or videos were found on this device.”

    Does this mean that options 2 and beyond will not work? Or simple option 1 will not work and I should continue to proceed with the other options?

    Appreciate any assistance.

    1. There are different methods for different situations. Read through other options to see if any of them should like they would help or work better.

  42. Hello,

    Great article. Unfortunately for me, my Samsung Edge 6 plus screen is cracked and completely black. It powers on, but there is no visible content. I have a ton of vacation pictures with my children that I’m trying to get off of it. Please help

  43. Hi JOA,

    I dropped my Samsung Galaxy s6 so now my screen is cracked & completely black. However the menu button/back button still light up, as well as the notification light. My concern is not so much about my photos/videos (because thank god I recently saved them before this incident), it’s just my messages that I’m worried about retrieving since I have a lot of important info within some of them. What’s the best advice you can give me? I use the fingerprint method to unlock my phone too by the way– idk if that’s important to know or not.

    1. Your best bet is to take it to a service center to see if they can remove the messages. If nothing is working, you’ll be hard pressed to see the menus and navigate them through an OTG mouse or mirroring the screen.

      Going forward, you can use an app like SMS Backup+. It will backup your messages to Gmail.

  44. Hello,

    I have a Motorola Moto X with a broken screen, and have been trying to recover my photos starting with method 2, step 3.

    In this part of the article it says: “This means you’ll need a HDMI cable, and a converter box so you can use both HDMI, and a USB mouse at the same time.”

    However, on the Amazon listing for the particular device suggested (Kasonic Connection Kit) it states that “HDMI, USB mouse, keyboard cannot be used at the same time.”

    I was hoping you had a suggestion for what I could search for on eBay, Amazon etc. to find a device that will allow me to do both at the same time in order to access my broken phone via HDMI etc. and ultimately transfer the photos (or any other device/cable suggestions if this is not possible) I only ask because I know very little about phones and have no idea how to search for a device compatible with my phone.

    Thank you! Any help is much appreciated

  45. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone with a broken screen and touchscreen. I was about to purchase the “HDTV Adapter and OTG Card Reader” on Amazon. However, on the Amazon listing for the particular device suggested (Kasonic Connection Kit) it states that “HDMI, USB mouse, keyboard cannot be used at the same time.”

    Does USB mouse and HDMI work at the same time for samsung galaxy s5? i have a broken screen for s5 and need to use hdmi and mouse at same time.

    Any other options to allow me to windows explorer on my phone to transfer off local files and folders stored locally. Please let me know. Thank you so much for all your help everyone!

    1. more than likely not. everyone’s situation is different. Some people’s phone partially works with touch but no visual, some work with visual but no touch, some are a combo of both… it’s hard to be 100% sure what will work for you. If you can’t see AND need a mouse, you may have a hard time with the methods here, especially if you do not have debugging turned on.

  46. I have a LGG3, the phone screen has given me the screen of death. the whole screen is blue. I tried plugging the usb cable into my computer (acer; windows 8) but my computer isn’t registering that I have something plugged into it.. I now have an iPhone 7 plus and I really just need step by step information on how to get my media (pictures, videos..) from my broken android to my iphone

    1. if the phone isn’t responding to anything and you can’t access it via computer (likely the debugging is off) there isn’t a lot you can do. have you tried a hard reset to see if it will power off then back on?

  47. Hi! Please help me, I dropped my Galaxy s7 and the screen all went black I cant open it now The lcd is really broken, I have lots of pictures i never tranferred, i downloaded the app you guys gave my laptop but when i connected it my device wouldnt show on your Device name or even when i type it manually. My problem is my phone memory all my pictures were saved on the phone memory. Please Help me! Thank You.

    1. most of the apps require you to have debugging on prior to the screen breaking. You can take it to a service center, they might be able to fix it enough for to get your information off of it.

  48. Great article!

    I have ordered the HDMI and mouse connector and am excited to try it. What a great invention.

    Thanks for all the technical tips. Very useful!

  49. Hi trevor,

    You seem like someone who knows stuff and is helpful, so i need your help badly, i have INFINIX NOTE 3 PRO x601 3gb model, i updated to android N, after the update if i open the lock, the phone will restart within 10 seconds, if i dont unlock it will keep going, i can even attend calls, so this is my situation, i need my data badly , so HALP ME PLEASE 🙂

  50. I tried method 3. And a nightmare followed. I shouldve never listened to this advice. Now I cant get into my device at all because the password isnt working or i cant type it in. And ive lost all my data. Im just really disappointed and tried hours on the phone with google to bypass it and cant. So that is not good advice really. At least it wasnt for me. Im just really disappointed.

    1. We’re sorry this advice wasn’t helpful, could you tell us a bit more about your issue so we can try to help you?

  51. I have a Moto Z Play and found a converter box. When I plug everything, the TV says “no signal”. I have it on the correct HDMI and everything. My phone is still working, but the screen is blacked out and the screen won’t work. Why is the TV saying No Signal?

  52. My phone screen is not working. Therefore I can’t enter my password. Obviously can’t enter debugging mode. The phone works. I was using my “ok Google” commands until my phone provider said I need to power it down. Now it needs the password I spoke of. Any ideas?

  53. I have a Samsung galaxy j7 with a broken dead screen. I tried using the adaptor and hooking it up to the tv. It didn’t work. Apparently my phone doesn’t support mhl. What are my options now to get files off the broken phone?

    1. Hi, Irene. You should still be able to use any of the other methods listed here. Methods 1 and 3 are particularly simple. Let me know if you need any more assistance!

  54. I have a Moto Razr which has a broken screen, I’m pretty sure I can power up the phone but the screen is dead, I would like to transfer my photos from the Moto either to my iphone 7 or to my pc, can you please lead me in the right direction?

  55. I have an LG G6 the screen was cracked so I had it replaced but the phone still doesn’t work whatsoever so how would you recommend getting everything off of the phone

  56. None of these are working for me. I trapped my Samsung J3 in my car door and it bent the screen and the battery slightly. Debug mode isn’t on. What do I do?

  57. hi, does this work with a google pixel phone?
    i cant get the screen on but the phone still works (still receiving notifications)
    if it doesnt do you know a way i can get images and videos off of it?

  58. None of these worked. Not only is the screen broke but the USB don’t work either. The way we charge the battery was to swap out with another battery that was charged with another broken phone. Looks like I’m replacing the screen using wifi and email the files to myself,

  59. I have an old Motorola that will turn on but the screen is completely cracked and half of it is black. I have an password on it. I want to get my pictures out of it and into my computer but can I do that if I had a password on the phone? I also tried to get on the google account I think I had on the account but it won’t let me in. I don’t think it had a SD card in the phone.

    1. Hi Mimi, yes, you can do that but you will need to hook up your phone with your computer first. You can also use a mouse and a keyboard to navigate around your phone since half of the display still works.

  60. I have a Samsung that belongs to a friend and I’m trying to get data from it. Unfortunately I don’t know what model it is but I am currently trying to identify it from photos. It turns on but the screen is covered in colored lines and they just move around when you touch it. I can see the wallpaper background behind the lines but I just can’t get in. I’ve used a usb cable to connect it to my laptop, but when I try to import data it says there’s nothing there. When I remove the back cover I can get the SD sim card out, but only if I remove the battery which I am scared to do. Do I need a different cable to see files? Am I totally screwed? it has really important photos on it and he never backed them up ]:

  61. So my digitizer and screen are both screwed.i can still use the headphones button to play music but again no screen at all.Anything i can do?its a samsung galaxy s5

  62. Hi,I have samsung s7 and it fell down,I broke my screen. Device isn t working at all. I wanted to trasfer my pictures to computer,but when i try,even my computer recognizes device it says that there are not any data in there.Pls help me 🙁

    1. Hi Mima, make sure that the driver for S7 is installed on your PC. This will let your computer communicate with your phone properly. Otherwise, it literally won’t find anything even if both devices are connected.

  63. Hi,

    My samasung galaxy A5 2017 has its screen all black and broken but i think th ephone is still alive
    i would like to save my photos, i tried to install smart switch on my computer and connect my phone with the cable but my computer doesnt recognize it and nothing happens. the necessary drivers are already installed on my computer… how can I do please ?
    Thank you

    1. I understand how frustrating it must be, Sophie. Please try the other methods and see whether they work out for you. If not, feel free to ask again. We are glad to assist.

  64. Hi, I have an s6 with a black screen, the googled the “USB OTG cable”, but I can’t find one compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S6, only S4 and S5.

  65. Great Page! Thank you for the thorough explanations, screenshots, and descriptions. My Samsung S8+ was dropped with an Otter Box case and screen protector in place. Unfortunately, the three-foot drop caused something inside the phone to break or malfunction. So now, BLACK/NO SCREEN. The phone is still working and vibrating, but you just can’t see it. My USB OTG Adapter will arrive today and I’m confident I will recover all of my data and photos based on this post. Awesome Job!

  66. Hi, I have a Samsung 9 and it was knocked out of my hsnd by my young son. Not only screen shattered but thick white vertical line through lcd display, which cuts through keypad (hence unable to unlock phone, as cannot use keys I require). Could you please advise if there is any way to recover these without unlocking and without the ability to change any settings within phone, that would enable me to transfer files to pc? When I connect to pc via USB, it recognises device (pop-up saying press to eject S9) but not visible on external devices, hence cannot see any files. This is quite urgent, as my insurance company have sent a replacement and are now threatening to take £220 from my account for unreturned item! Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi Steph! That’s unfortunate to hear! Try using Samsung Smart Switch. You can transfer files from your phone to your PC using the application.

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