Getting access to a phone with a broken screen

Илья – главный редактор сайта Является автором нескольких сотен руководств и статей по настройке Android. Около 15 лет занимается ремонтом техники и решением технических проблем iOS и Android. Имел дело практически со всеми более-менее популярными марками мобильных смартфонов и планшетов Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi и др. Для тестирования используется iPhone 12 и Samsung Galaxy S21 с последней версией прошивки.

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Damaging a smartphone screen significantly can complicate the process of its operation, and in some cases even make this device impossible to use. Which can lead to its user being unable even to backup important data and transfer it to a new phone. 

At the same time, it still might be possible to mirror the device screen on a laptop or desktop computer. No special equipment is required in order to do this apart from: a suitable USB cord and an installed software for managing your smartphone. It's a great solution even for cases when a phone screen is broken or doesn't respond.


    Preparing a smartphone

    The first step for managing a phone with a broken screen is to prepare the smartphone itself. In order to do this, you have to allow USB debugging. This can be done in the device settings, if, of course, the touchscreen and some part of the screen are still functioning. 

    A step-by-step manual:

    1. Go to Settings > About phone.
    2. Tap the build or firmware version (7 times) until a notification stating that you've entered the developer's mode appears on the screen.
    3. In Developer options enable USB Debugging.
    4. Reboot your phone.

    As a result, you'll be given access to the phone screen via a USB. This will allow you to recover the data stored on it or derive the information you need via special software. 

    Displaying the Android screen via a browser

    One of the easiest and fastest ways to manage your smartphone via a computer is to use the Google Chrome browser. No third-party apps are required in such case. Displaying an image on a PC without software can be performed as follows

    1. Open Chrome
    2. Install Vysor.
    3. Connect your smartphone to a computer via a USB and run the installed utility.
    4. Click "Find devices" and select the desired device.
    5. Confirm USB debugging,
    6. And now you have access to this phone via the PC.

    Mirroring Android screen on a computer can be done not only via a browser, but also via special apps. We're going to talk about them now.  


    AndroidScreencast is a free utility for viewing your phone content and remotely managing the device via a PC. It can be used on Android 4.1.1 > smartphones and tablets with a broken screen. 

    AndroidScreencast capabilities:

    • No need to install the client app on a faulty device
    • Using a PC keyboard: entering text without character restrictions
    • Full support for swipes, taps, and other gestures
    • Support of screen display options: landscape or portrait
    • Navigating Android files via a PC
    • Recording a video of what is happening on the mobile device screen

    The app uses the androidscreencast.jnlp technology based on Java. This means that no root access or other hacks are required. The installed Java 7+ is used for connecting a phone

    Commands are entered via the ADB console:

    adb input key
    adb input tap
    adb input swipe

    Read more about how to use AndroidScreencast on this forum.  

    Download AndroidScreencast

    Apowersoft Phone Manager

    This cross-functional software allows you to manage your phone files, even if the phone sensor is broken. However, it's impossible to get access to a device with a completely non-responding screen: you need to be able to install the client on your phone. 

    The official version costs $40 and its free demo version is available within 3 days.

    In order to take a look at the app capabilities, you have to install it on a Windows computer. The same should be done on your mobile device. Android owners can find the app in Google Play and download it via the QR code. Next, you have to perform the following steps:

    1. Connect the gadget to your computer using a USB cable.
    2. Launch the app and get access to the smartphone screen.
    3. Transfer the important data from your phone to your PC via "Export" after specifying the needed directory.

    We should highlight the fact that in the Apowersoft Phone Manager app the screen diagonal can be changed by reducing or stretching it to the maximum.

    Download ApowerManager

    [email protected]

    This app isn't the easiest one to install, but it's very user-friendly and also makes it possible to manage a phone with a broken screen or a non-working sensor via a computer. There is no need to install the client app on your phone, simply connect your Android to a PC via the ADB console. 

    In order to help the app operate correctly, the following is required:

    • Java (preferably its latest version);
    • Android SDK Tools;
    • Droid at Screen app.
    1. Download the distribution kit –it's better to do it from the official website (link below). This ensures the app operates correctly. 
    2. After installing Java, go to SDK Tools. 
    3. Experienced users recommend downloading the app to the system disk root which greatly simplifies the process of further access to files. 
    4. After completing the installation, unpack and install the Droid at Screen applet. 
    5. Then launch the app
    6. Find ADB and click ADB Executable Path. 
    7. Specify the path to the ADB drivers and choose OK.
    8. If USB debugging is enabled, you can connect the device to the computer and launch the app. 
    9. It will search for the gadget automatically and mirror its screen on the PC you're using. 
    10. If you need to copy and transfer to your computer some files from a phone with a broken screen, go to "Explore" and get access to all the data stored on your smartphone.

    Download [email protected]


    One of the simplest and most convenient apps performing the mirroring of a broken phone screen. The step-by-step manual for its use is the following:

    1. Download MyPhoneExplorer from the official website and install it on your computer.
    2. Launch the app and select the connection type: USB (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth are also available).
    3. Connect your Android phone via a USB cord.
    4. Go to its settings and allow displaying screenshots.
    5. Control your smartphone with a computer mouse.

    NB! MyPhoneExplorer allows not only to control your smartphone, but also to display the keyboard.

    Download MyPhoneExplorer

    Questions and answers

    Samsung Galaxy S10. The USB connector isn't working and the screen isn't responding. How can I transfer the photos stored on it to another device?

    The answer. Try making a copy of the data via the official KIES app. If this doesn't work out, give a try to the remote control apps and methods we've described in this manual. 

    If I bring my phone to a repair service to fix its screen, will it delete the photos stored in the gallery or apps, etc.? (The phone fell down and the screen is smashed, but everything else is working).

    The answer. You should discuss this matter in the repair service you're planning to visit. In any case, it's worth creating a backup via the KIES desktop program for Samsung devices.

    My Supra M141G tablet fell off the table, now its screen is cracked and not responding to taps. I didn't manage to connect a computer mouse to it via a USB OTG adapter (OTG is supported). The tablet won't respond to the mouse in any way. Also, it doesn't respond to the connected headphones, flash drive, keyboard, SIM card and SD card either. Could you please tell me why I can't connect a mouse to the tablet? What might be the reason?

    The answer. Try another remote control software such as AndroidScreencast or [email protected] Most likely, the fall damaged not only the touchscreen, but also other vital components of your tablet. 

    I bought my tablet about 2 years ago. I haven't used it for a long time and then I had an urge to use it. I didn't charge it in a long time so I decided to do it. After I connected it to a charger the screen first lit up, then there was some flickering or some glitches, and then it went off again and it repeated until I turnt it off. 

    The answer. Here's the manual you need. The most likely cause is a faulty charging device or loose contact with the phone charging socket. 

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 and I smashed its screen. The phone still operates as I hear the sound of messages or emails and my damn alarm clock wakes me up every morning :) But when I connect the phone to my computer, the computer shows that there is no data or folders stored on the phone. 

    The answer. If your files were stored on an SD card, you can read its content via a card reader connected to your PC. If the data is stored in the phone memory, use the above mentioned  programs. 

    I have launched KIES on my computer but unfortunately it was useless and the computer didn't manage to recognize my phone. I went to a repair service and I was told that a new screen had to be installed and only after it might be possible to do something but what if not? To be honest I don't really need to repair this phone since I only want to derive the photos and videos of my child. What can be done in such case? I would be eternally grateful if you could give me a piece of advice! 

    The answer. It's quite simple: you should download a program for remote control of a phone (any from our list) and transfer the files onto your PC. If it doesn't work out, you'll have to change the phone screen, and it's up to you to decide whether the data you want to restore is worth the cost of repair. 

    I broke my phone screen, one month later I brought it to a repair service and left there for a month. Well, 2 months later I received my phone and found out that unfortunately I forgot my password. Please help me.. All my files are stored there.

    The answer. It looks like you have to restore access to your Google account. This official manual will help you with it.

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    Илья – главный редактор сайта Является автором нескольких сотен руководств и статей по настройке Android. Около 15 лет занимается ремонтом техники и решением технических проблем iOS и Android. Имел дело практически со всеми более-менее популярными марками мобильных смартфонов и планшетов Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi и др. Для тестирования используется iPhone 12 и Samsung Galaxy S21 с последней версией прошивки.

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