How to Unlock Android Device and Windows PC When Owner Dies


If you recently lost a friend or family member, you may be looking to access their phone, computer, or tablet to obtain their personal data.

Whether you’re looking for photos, passwords, or other information, it’s frustrating not knowing their password just to access them.

We’ve put together the steps to unlock an Android device and a Windows PC if the owner dies.

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android phone

android phone
(CyberGuy.com)

How to unlock an Android or PC if the owner dies

Similar to Apple’s iCloud, Android and PC computer users often connect their devices to a Google account. If you know the email address and password associated with the user’s Google Account, you might be able to reset their password using those.

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Use a Google account to access data

  • If the device owner had an associated Google account, this may be an option when signing in
  • If you try to log into an Android five times incorrectly, you may be prompted to reset the phone passcode using a Google account.
  • If you have this login information, reset the passcode via the instructions sent to the email address associated with the Google account.

Use Samsung account to access data

  • If the device owner had a Samsung phone, they may have created a Samsung account that can reset the passcode of the device.
  • If you have this login information, go to locate my maintenance and follow the instructions
  • You will be able to reset and unlock the phone in seconds
In this photo illustration, an Android logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen in Athens, Greece, April 16, 2022.

In this photo illustration, an Android logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen in Athens, Greece, April 16, 2022.
(Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Use a Microsoft account to access data

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If the device owner was a Microsoft user and had an email address ending in Outlook.com, Live.com, Hotmail.com, or MSN.com, and you don’t have their Microsoft sign-in information, you can request it through a subpoena. or court order. You will most likely need to provide:

  • A copy of a death certificate
  • A copy of the identity card or passport of the deceased person
  • A copy of a certificate of inheritance or other document from a court that proves the sole heir or the names and addresses of all heirs and consent that you have the right to act on their behalf
  • A copy of the applicant’s ID or passport or a signed power of attorney
A woman restarts her Android smartphone.

A woman restarts her Android smartphone.
(FoxNews)

Removing an SD memory card

  • Some devices may have a built-in memory card
  • If the device has a memory card, remove the SD card and connect it to another device, such as a computer, using an SD card reader
  • You should have access to photos and other data stored on this memory card

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How to make sure your loved ones can access your data

In the event of an emergency or death, you want to be sure that your loved ones can still access your data. Make sure someone you trust has your login information and/or passwords written down in a safe and protected place. This way they can still access your photos and other phone apps without having to go through a court order or a complicated reset process.

If your phone carrier offers an old contact option, set it up now.

If you use social media, platforms like Facebook offer the option of naming someone as your legacy contact.