How to unlock an Android device and Windows PC when the owner dies
If you have recently lost a friend or family member, you may want to access their phone, computer or tablet to obtain personal information.
Whether you’re looking for photos, passwords, or other information, it’s frustrating when you don’t know their password to access it.
We have compiled the steps you should follow to unlock an Android device and Windows PC if the owner dies.
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How to unlock an Android or PC if the owner dies
Like Apple’s iCloud, Android and PC users often link their devices to a Google account. If you know the email address and password associated with the user’s Google Account, you may be able to reset the password using it.
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Using a Google account to access data
- If the owner of the device had a Google Account associated with it, this may be an option while signing in
- If you try to sign in to an Android five times incorrectly, you may be prompted to reset the password for your phone using a Google account
- If you have these credentials, reset your password via instructions sent to the email address associated with your Google Account
Using a Samsung account to access data
- If the owner of the device had a Samsung phone, they may have set up a Samsung account that provides access to reset the device’s password
- If you have these credentials, go to Samsung’s Find My service and follow the instructions
- You will be able to reset and unlock your phone in seconds
Use a Microsoft account to access data
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If the owner of the device 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 credentials, you can request it through a subpoena or court order. You will most likely need to state:
- A copy of a death certificate
- A copy of the deceased’s ID or passport
- A copy of a probate certificate or other documentation from a court proving sole heirship 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
Remove an SD memory card
- Some devices may have a built-in memory card
- If your 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 be able to access photos and other data stored on that memory card
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How to make sure loved ones can access your data
In the event of an emergency or death, you want to be sure that your loved ones still have access to your data. Make sure a trusted loved one has login information and/or password written down in a safe, protected place. That way, they can still access your photos and other phone apps without having to go through a court order or complicated reset process.
If your phone provider offers a legacy contact option, set it up now.
If you use social media, platforms like Facebook offer an option to name someone as your older contact.