Note: for anyone with a G1 with this same problem who found this entry by Googling, you don’t have to lose any data — we eventually found a workaround that doesn’t require a factory reset. Details are at the bottom of this post.
I’ve hit the end of the flowchart, it’s 3 AM, and I’m turning to you all.
I’m at my cousin’s wedding and I’ve been locked out of my G1 phone. I was idly playing with the screen unlock pattern (it’s fun to draw G1 unlock patterns) and it eventually said I’d made too many attempts and asked for my Google account email and password. I typed them in.
They don’t work. (Edit: and the username/password are correct — they work fine for logging in via the web, and they’ve worked recently in other parts of the phone.) I tried every variation on the email (it’s an @xkcd.com email, not @gmail.com) and every password I’ve ever used for anything Google-related. It still says ‘incorrect username or password’. It’s the middle of the night, I’m exhausted, and I was about to set my phone as an alarm clock to wake me up for the wedding.
I’ve googled around and found lots of other people with the same problem. They seem to suggest it’s simply an Android bug, and the only solution is a factory reset of the phone. This will lose all my app data. Music, photos, and contact lists will be saved, but I’ll have to redownload all my apps, and I’ll lose my call history, Google Tracks, saved games, Shazam tagged songs, and a pile of text messages containing useful information and/or sentimental minimalist poems.
The phone is not a dev/rooted phone, so a few hacks I found with ADB won’t work. Does anyone know anything else I can do, or is this an unfixable bug? I just want my phone back. I would really appreciate any help anyone can give. I’ll watch here for a little bit, then find something else to use as an alarm and see if there’s a solution in the morning.
Thank you in advance.
Edit: I’ve used the bug mentioned in #28 here (thanks, Julian!) to successfully get to the home screen. I couldn’t believe it actually worked, but it does — you can unlock the phone by getting a call and flipping the screen open and shut repeatedly while tapping ‘home’. Now I can get into the phone by opening the keyboard, but if I just try to touch ‘menu’ it’s still locked. This is still annoying, but I can deal with it for now (I’ll let it finish syncing and try reboots and stuff). Thank you so much, internet. ❤
Edit #2: Thanks to Dan Egnor over at Google, I’ve gotten the last piece. The phone was tied to my Google Apps account rather than my Google account, which have the same email address as their name (and I had tried the passwords for both, of course). By changing the password for the Google Apps account (not the Google account), I made the phone fail to sync, which prompted me for a new password — which was then saved properly. When the lockout screen came up next, I entered that password, and my phone is back. So, in summary, to fix this without wiping your phone, you:
- Get someone to call you.
- After answering, flip the screen open and shut repeatedly, tapping the “home” button every few flips. Eventually you’ll drop through to your home screen. This may take a few tries.
- Go into your security settings and disable the unlock pattern. You can now bypass the lockout just by opening the keyboard.
- Change the password on your account, which may be your Google Apps account if you have one.
- In a few moments, your phone will fail to sync with email and prompt you for a password. Enter the new password.
- You can now log in with the new password. Lock your screen, press menu to try unlocking it, and enter your new information. This should unlock your phone.
(Disclaimer: I don’t own a G1)
Can you try logging in to your account from a computer? It would help narrow down whether you have the right credentials for your phone. Once you’re sure, wait about 15 minutes before trying to enter them into your phone again. I don’t know for sure, but the OS may be set to just ignore any attempts at logging in after a certain number of failed attempts, to prevent brute forcing.
There’s also something about tethering your phone to your computer, and manually editing the sqlite3 database at data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db to turn off the lock pattern autoblock (again, I do not own a G1, and have no idea what this means or does). You’ve probably already found this, and it requires root which you don’t seem to have, but just in case you manage to get into the database, enter this: update system set value=0 where name=’lock_pattern_autolock’;
Best of luck to you.
– make sure the phone has a good data connection, probably by rebooting and looking for the data indicator to blink on boot.
– wait a while. You’re almost certainly getting throttled.
less obvious things:
– log into gmail from somewhere else – you probably need to solve a captcha before you can authenticate again. An iPhone browser will do. Android doesn’t support this flow right now.
Either way, wait until morning. I bet a few dollars someone on the android team will see this before then, if not I can walk over there and bug them.
Wait, I’m an idiot. You obviously have a real computer, since you posted to your own damn blog, and who doesn’t leave their mail open?
Is it possible the g1 is on some sort of shitty captive-portal hotel wifi, and thus can’t actually get to the auth server, but has what looks like a real internet connection? If so, it won’t retry over the cell network, and will just fail.
I’ve got an ADP1 and I’m not sure how the G1 is locked down.
With the modified recovery image I have on mine I can open a terminal and copy files around or use adb to transfer to/from my computer when in recovery mode. You could copy the sqlite3 database to your computer, change it and copy it back.
Maybe you can update the recovery image to a modified one using fastboot mode?
This recovery image is nice: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=3915123
“Yes, fastboot is used to flash devices over USB. But this will not work
with production G1 devices, which have USB support disabled in the
Phil said: “Wait, I?m an idiot. You obviously have a real computer, since you posted to your own damn blog, and who doesn?t leave their mail open”
Never mind, if you wouldn’t have posted this, there would be ten other people asking for another way to access gmail. Me too. Damn!
did you try removing the battery and putting it back in? (battery sex, in a way)
Might be worth trying to log in with a new gmail account which you know works ( Feel free to use email@example.com / throwaway )
That way you could narrow down the problem, and if it worked you’d at least have a functioning phone for now. You could change your phone’s account settings later (by going to the app settings and erasing the cache for google apps, google mail, google mail storage).
Also agree with what Phil said – check you’re not using wifi and if you still can’t get into ANY gmail account work from there…
Out of interest, why did you never decide to root it?
HA, HA! Karma, she’s a bitch!
So, your data should be savabble before the wipe, even nonrooted. Fist, root the phone. Second flash one of the several custom bootloaders on the phone that do backups and use that; or using fastboot, a tool you’ll become familiar with in the rooting process to pull the userdata partition off the device. After that you can probably safely wipe your phone then push that image back over the user data; preserving your content.
Having never rooted my phone I can’t point you to explicit instructions but I think over at xda-developers there are docs and tools on the subject.
Bet you wished you used Twitter now. You’d have thousands of followers.
Second, back in the day, rooting used to just be a matter of getting a signed version of rc29 that had a 0day and using that to push all the right places to escalate to whatever crazy concoction the g1-hackers mailing list came up with like jesus freake’s roms.
Sorry you got hit with this. It happened to me as well, so I know exactly your situation. My phone is not rooted, and I had to do a factory reset.
The Android team will be asleep right now – but they’ve been pinged about your problem. Unfortunately, there may not be a lot that can be done remotely.
I’d schedule a wake-up call with reception as your alarm. They’ll usually do it for free. Or schedule two if you’re a heavy sleeper.
With the android, it sounds like you could try going to your hosted gmail settings and change the password to another one, which might work-around the android glitch.
dr’s letter for the day.
reboot with F8 into safe mode
“I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.”
– Bjarne Stroustrup
I ran into the same problem. My screen was on when it was in my pocket and as I walked patterns were drawn (tight pocket). I did the master reset, and every app was lost … but my download list was save. I just redownloaded everything from that list. Back to normal in minutes.
Also logging in from a computer, changing password, waiting for a better data connection … not going to work. As far as I know it’s just a bug in the software and to me it’s small enough to live with. I’m used to having to do master reset on phones.
This might be an opportunity to root your phone, and install something awesome like CyanogenMod. But regardless…
I think you can rescue much of what you’re talking about before the wipe, through adb, from the /data/data folder. The annoying thing is that those directories don’t respond to ls, and you have to guess the directory and filenames, but they are reasonably guessable. The settings file is always settings.db, and the directory is the Java package name of the app.
I suggest trying to “adb pull” the relevant app database files from the device, and then wipe. Though more than that, I suggest rooting, if possible under these conditions.
Man that really sucks! I have a G1 myself but unfortunately don’t have any advice that hasn’t been mentioned already. Good luck with it, dude.
Have you tried having somebody call you and repeatedly pressing home or somehow trying to get into the settings to disable the lock?
And I agree with Eric. If you do end up having to wipe the phone, you should go ahead and take the opportunity to root it and install a custom ROM.
I’m sorry to hear that! Unfortunately, there is no known way to recover a non-rooted phone in my experience – and while your SMS messages are definitely gone, you can sort of reconstruct your call history using T-Mobile’s online detailed billing system.
As for the apps, Google keeps a running track of them in the “My Downloads” section of Market, so you ought to be able to go through and install them sequentially from there. It does mean some amount of work, but unfortunately, there’s nothing I can think of that you can do for a non-rooted phone…
wow, sorry for that, I hope you fixed it up until now…
I don’t own a G1 but used Android for some days on my neo freerunner . On this device Android splits system and private data on two partitions. maybe G1 is similar.
I just sent this entry to , whom I know as a genius android expert.
oh, and you should really  try simple things first: check the user/pw on a pc etc.
Sounds like the phone is rooted after all. You poor thing.
I had this happen to my phone as well. If you do factory reset it, now might be a good time to root it as there’s a nice one click root exploit out at the moment that’s going to get fixed next time something’s rolled out OTA. Once you’ve rooted/restored your phone it’s a good idea to regularly back it up.
It happened to me once, and the password method worked. But I think the phone didn’t use any net connection, it probably has the usernmae/passwd hashed somewhere. Try using old passwords, or the password you used when you first initialized the phone.
And as a last case, use @gmail.com as your email, maybe it’s a bug and it stores the email address always with the gmail domain.
Alex: Ooh — I’m interested. The other root exploits I saw seemed to suggest that I’d be getting an old version of the OS, and I’m too desperate for some improvements to put that off. Do you have a link to how this exploit works?
Marco Mustapic: Yeah, I’ve tried all the old passwords, but I actually set this one up quite recently and the password hasn’t changed since I initialized the phone. I’m not sure how to use @gmail.com with firstname.lastname@example.org (my secret private email). In desperation I even tried email@example.com@gmail.com 🙂 Glad the reset worked for you, though — you’re the first person I’ve heard of who was able to unlock properly!
Sorry to hear about that. I just got a MyTouch 3G myself, but rooted it as soon as I got it home. I would recommend, when this is over, that you go ahead and root the phone (either by the old-firmware or “one click” methods) and if you’re looking for essentially the same phone as you have now, install enomther’s excellent TheOfficial ROM, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the same build as T-Mobile has, just with root enabled in the base ROM. All the rooted-phone options are, well, optional (in the “expansion pack” or the “FullFeatured” versions). The only risky maneuver would be the recommended, but not required, radio flash. Then you have access the Cyanogen+JF recovery image, which means you have Nandroid, which means you *always* have the ability to take the phone back to a known configuration, even without a PC.
Unfortunately, all my advice doesn’t help you now, and you may indeed be boned. As Meddygon and Varun stated, at least apps are tracked, though some (i.e., Locale) have involved setups which you’ll lose.
For everone recommending rooting the phone, I’d love to — if only because it would let me do wifi tethering — but I have a question: how will it handle OS updates? I’ve been pretty frustrated with the slow speed of the phone and some of how it handles switching applications (particularly the browser). I’m anxiously awaiting updates, and don’t want to do anything that holds me back from getting new Android releases.
@xkcd: If you’re interested in the 1-click root for your phone, check out http://www.ryebrye.com/blog/2009/08/16/android-rooting-in-1-click-in-progress/ for details. It does work reliably, and I highly recommend you then install the latest stable release (4.0.4) from http://www.cyanogenmod.com/ (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a minor contributor to that build, either).
The “updated instructions” part of the first link has the best instructions, but the short version would be:
1) Download the 4.0.4 cyanogenmod file (update-cm-4.0.4-signed.zip) to your sdcard
2) Download and install the 1-click root .apk
3) Run the 1-click, which will make a backup of your current recovery image, and then install a new recovery image that allows you to flash firmware signed with test-keys (not just the official t-mobile keys)
4) Reboot into the recovery (reboot the phone while holding down the home button)
5) Make a nandroid backup of your phone from the recovery menu (this will allow you to restore your phone if you decide you don’t like it rooted, etc.)
6) Wipe the phone data from the recovery menu
7) Flash any zip from the recovery menu, and select the update-cm-4.0.4-signed.zip
8) Reboot the phone
Anyway, if you’re already going to have to lose your data, you might as well get a more featureful and capable phone in the bargain.
@xkcd: In terms of getting updates, you’ll no longer receive over the air updates once you’ve rooted and installed something like CyanogenMod, but — you’ll be running newer, more advanced Android builds anyway, so it’s not like you’d want to. As an example, the 4.0.x builds of Cyanogen already include a number of backported Donut features, as well as bug fixes and performance enhancements. And the experimental branch of Cyanogen, 4.1.x, to become 4.2.x once stable, is based on the official Donut branch. So you’ll be ahead of the curve, not behind it.
I don’t know about the G1, but I know google loves to insist your password is wrong sometimes… if the phone actively accesses google to verify the password try this first:
I agree with HamOnRye here that the DisplayUnlockCaptcha is one good thing to try, and it can’t hurt. My Blackberry at one point locked out my gmail account (once it did it spontaneously, once it did it after a password change) and I couldn’t get the password to be verified correctly until after I did that. Maybe it’s the same on the G1?
Sadly, it doesn’t check the web for the password (it may just try to use a saved one from when you first registered the phone, but that one doesn’t work for me). I’ve tried the DisplayUnlockCaptcha last night and just now, though, just to see, and it didn’t work. I think I’m going to wipe the phone.
Do the solutions in posts 26, 27 or 28 here http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=3006 have any effect?
As others have said, this is a great opportunity to root your phone. The new one click method with CyanogenMod works flawlessly. Just be sure to do a Nandroid backup each time so that if and when you do run into issues you always have an easy way to back out.
As for updates, there is a new CMUpdater app in the market, which alerts you anytime a new CM version is out, either stable or experimental. It will also keep track of your favorite themes and alert you when new versions are available. It makes downloading/installing of OS and themes easier than a cheerleader on Prom Night.
There is also an app in the market called appmanager, that will backup all of your apps to the sdcard. That way you don’t have to go searching for them all again if you do lose them for some reason. However, since rooting and going with CM, I haven’t needed to use this. Every OS update keeps all my apps in their current state.
did you try removing the battery blowing into it and put it back in?
I did the same thing to my G1 a few weeks ago. I searched Google forums and the rest of the internets for a few hours looking for a fix. I didn’t find one. As I recall the problem is that the screen to log in with your email/password is broken — even your correct email/password won’t log you in. I don’t understand how such a serious bug can go on existing for so long, but there you have it.
Long story short, better to grit your teeth and do a factory reset sooner rather than later.
Also, if you root your phone and go with the CyanogenMod ROM, it includes apps2sd by default. So all you have to do is put an ext3/ext4 partition on your SD card and your apps will be installed there. You may want to make sure that you SD card is one of the really fast ones though.
Once you’re able to get back into the phone, I highly suggest downloading G-backup Full. It automatically uploads your call log, SMS, MMS, Pictures and Videos to your Gmail (or Google Apps, i suppose) account.
you can get the data out of your phone if you brute force into ssh
but ive been playing with my local copy of the affected and your hopes arent good looks like some bloody null pointer value
Now that’s using the internet, Mr. Munroe.
I’ve only skimmed due to the volume of comments, but I haven’t seen anyone suggest calling T-Mobile’s customer service yet. If you still have the ability to dial an emergency number they can give you a long string of numbers to punch into the dialer that ought to unlock your phone.
P.S. Heck yeah, it’s fun to draw the unlock patterns
P.P.S. Once your phone is rooted it’s way easier to change ROMs whenever you want. I particularly like the performance enhancement of Cyanogen which by default can run your apps from a Linux partition on your SD card which frees up a lot of the phone’s space. Also, there’s a CyanogenMod Updater app in the market that makes things easier. I’m sure you have plenty of resources for finding out how to root your phone, but the tutorial on the Android and Me blog was really easy to get through
This happened to me and I was pointed to a special remote unlock page at https://www.google.com/accounts/displayunlockcaptcha so give that a try. The final straw is, unfortunately, a factory reset.
THIS EXACT THING HAPPENED TO ME!!! T-Mobile said they hadn’t heard it, but they walked me through resetting and were really nice. Reset is the only option, but one warning, ‘my downloads’ is cleared, but if you search apps it will remember and say that you have bought or downloaded it, so that’s easy.
Good luck man
I would put another vote towards nandroid on a custom boot image. I don’t really remember the process, but I believe that you do this update before you wipe the main memory to install a new ROM? Also, consider this another vote for cyanogenmod. The CM Updater app can get you OS updates and install them without wiping your data.
Randall, I was thinking using firstname.lastname@example.org, but you probably tried that one too. BWT, I have an sim-unlocked T-Mobile G1, so maybe that’s why the password unlock works for me.
I dunno about android.. but in a Nokia phone.. removing/putting back the battery and opening the phone to find it unlocked would do it.. lol
Ok I’m totally making a webcomic aimed at technology nerds JUST to gain personal customer support XD
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