I need G1 tech support.

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:

  1. Get someone to call you.
  2. 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.
  3. Go into your security settings and disable the unlock pattern.  You can now bypass the lockout just by opening the keyboard.
  4. Change the password on your account, which may be your Google Apps account if you have one.
  5. In a few moments, your phone will fail to sync with email and prompt you for a password.  Enter the new password.
  6. 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.

120 replies on “I need G1 tech support.”

  1. Oh I did this at the end of the summer to my G1 and I was so pissed. I had to go through a hard format to reset it I think, which is also a working solution, but it’s not a good nor a fun one, because I didn’t know about this one.

    Glad you had a working solution.


  2. Enduring by virtue of perfect design? Perfect design?! Please, Mr. Munroe, don’t tell me you’re a moronic Creationist or IDist..


  3. (Off topic) in re Bridge to Terabithia. I had the same reaction you did to the trailer, but I saw the movie anyway, and I can say that while the movie was not as good as the book (are they ever?), the movie was much closer to the book than the trailer implied. It was basically a marketing mistake, presumably to try to make it look like a “fantasy” movie and cash in on that trend. But the movie was really pretty true to the story, and not at all focused on the “fantasy” aspects, if you could even call them that, as the trailer implied. FWIW.


  4. So my G1 just did the same bullshit and thanks to you i got through to the home screen. However, I have changed my password on the Google Account and I can’t resync my gmail with the new password, which is REALLY pissing me off. I mean WTF google… I want reparations, srsly…


  5. This happened to me (ironically enough) at Defcon. One of my friends wanted to know what would happen if I got the pattern wrong too many times.

    I found some Android hackers and I had left my phone in debug mode so we were able to look into the problem. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to work out a solution since I really needed my phone to schedule stuff. I ended up doing a factory reset. I lost one contact and all my archived SMS but I can live with that.


  6. whan I sign it say that there is a problem that my sim maybe provisioned for data services



    Hokay, just had this problem with my (Vodafone) HTC Magic. I found that ‘machine gunning the Home key (the physical one with the house icon), and then selecting the (on screen) Emergency Dialer in a normal manner works well.

    Basically, do the above, if it doesn’t work, revert back to the Username/Password screen, and continue this process until it does.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

    [Took me about 7 to 8 cycles of the above process the first time, and about 6 when I (riskily) did it again to “see how easy it was!” ]

    [N.B. The Vodafone UK edition has a slightly compromised system, so it’s possible that any delay needed to “fall through” to the home screen may be greater than it’s American counterpart.]


  8. How cum this is not working for me im gettin sooo pissed plz i need help someone


  9. Has anyone got this to work with the htc hero/t-mobile g2 touch?
    I’m going mental with this.


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  11. Thanks sooooooo much for this. I’ve been semi-locked out of my phone since before xmas by my kid cousin and it was really getting on my nerves. But the changing password thing worked. Thanks mate 😀


  12. what do you mean flip the screen open and shut repeatedly? i cant flip anything. can you please explain. thanks! 🙂


  13. The trick seems to be to touch the screen while pressing home and opening and closing the screen. (I tried for ages, and then someone else managed in one go because she happened to touch the screen. )

    I have a rooted phone, so I then started telnetd as root in a terminal, connected from my laptop, and used the following commands:

    # sqlite3 data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db
    sqlite> update system set value=0 where name=’lock_pattern_autolock’;
    sqlite> update system set value=0 where name=’lockscreen.lockedoutpermanently’;
    sqlite> .exit
    # exit



  14. Thanks a ton! Your post saved my life and my Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700… The same thing happened to me and the pattern locked my phone and I couldn’t access the google account because I didn’t have internet on my phone. But I followed the first three steps and my phone’s back on without me having to do a factory reset or having to lose my information saved on the phone. I asked someone to call me, and while I was in the call I could access my Menu and then I changed my phone settings and disabled the pattern lock. As soon as I hung up, the phone didn’t ask me to put in the pattern after that.


  15. Thank you!!!! Thank you!!! My god i am sooo happy!!!! I thought i was gonna have to reset my whole phone, but u’ve saevd me.

    I am never downloading fantasy lockscreen widget again!!


  16. Hi i had a friend send me a tmobile G1 phone, and i live in nicaragua i have the sim unlock code but i have to creat an account or sign in a google account, and i did and it wont let me, so what should i do?
    i had this phone over a month.! and i really need HELP! 😦 please someone .♥


  17. I just ran into this problem with HTC Magic, Android 1.5. Using my e-mail address and ‘null’ as the password was successful in unlocking it.


  18. For any/all Galaxy S / Samsung Vibrant, Captivate, etc users: NONE of this works for your phone! You are completely bricked, and you need to take the handset back to the store right away. I did, and when I told them about this bug, they agreed to hand me a new one!


  19. hiya

    i got galaxy s i9000 and it locked by too many pattern ..soi did try put googlemail and gmail and both username and everything is not working…then i try call by other phone to galaxy s but it keep getting voicemail all thetime and i got 11 message on galaxy and cannot open the message cos locked by pattern.
    been rest the phone and still same story problem.
    feel like i throw the phone away but been phone to vodafone and they cant help me bec it is google account..huh…then try phone to samsung then cant help bec it is google….huh again…then try phone to google in london and no one picck up the phone huh for three day.

    been update the mob but wont take it bec dont resgoince themob huh.
    vodafone wont let me another phone but i have insurnace cover for it but wont let me one.

    anyone know how other way around.

    help will be great

    my email is melcow71@aim.com


  20. I have a HTC Magic. A fix that worked for me was:
    – type your gmail username (without @gmail)
    – type “null” as password

    I found this fix on another forum. They said it works for some phones but not all.

    Good luck everyone!


  21. OMG Thank you Wojtek! You saved my day.

    My daughter was playing with my G1 today in the morning and had to many tries with the unlock patter 😉

    She came to me with a said face and said daddy there’s something with your phone -.-

    I have been trying to get on the phone with my Google mail acc but the phone refused the credentials every time. Then i read thousands of forum posts and guides on the internet but nothing worked.

    But your solution finally worked! Just typed “null” as password and that helped.

    Thanks again friend!


  22. Sie amk. I was so sorry to hear what you were going through since November….and seeing your Monday April 4 comic – I wonder if things are better or how you’re coping up with the illness in your family. Your comic strip has made so many, many of us laugh through the years and have a sense of humor about life through our tough times, wishing you strength during yours. vay ak.


  23. type ur google mail id/
    then type “null” as ur password without the quotes.
    it worked for me in my zte link.
    hope it works for u guys also.


  24. Tried the suggestions and nothing seemed to work for my Samsung Galaxy S I896… Does anyone have anything else? would be appreciated.


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