How to use your broken smartphone from a PC

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Aina Martin
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Have you broken your smartphone and are desperate to look at the famous cobweb of the broken unresponsive touchscreen? You don't have to say goodbye to your device yet. Here are our tips for saving what's left of your smartphone.

How to use a broken smartphone from a PC, better to prevent

Our smartphones contain a lot of highly sensitive data that it is always advisable to protect. This is easier to do before something bad happens to your phone, trust us. There are several ways to do this: hide the files you want to protect, lock applications to restrict access, use guest mode, backup to the cloud or enter passwords to applications.

The best way to protect all the data contained in our smartphone is to backup. That is to say, save the data in a safe place so that we can recover it even if the device is lost.

There are several apps for backup on Google Play with which we can transfer data and backup on our computer. In just a few steps we can keep our data safe.

  • Don't have a favorite backup app? Read here: How to make an Android backup | TOP 10 App

How to recover files from an Android device using a PC

To recover data from your damaged smartphone you can count on the help of your computer. Before starting, you need to enable USB debugging on your Android device, to ensure that your smartphone is recognized by your PC.

Image and music recovery is quite simple. Just connect your smartphone to your PC, activate Debug from the settings menu and use the mouse to access the different folders saved on the device. By accessing the WhatsApp folder, for example, you can copy all the images received in the chat.

However, it may happen that although the PC has recognized the smartphone, it is not possible to view the files saved on it. Don't worry because, as always, there is a solution to everything on Android.

How to do if USB debugging mode is not active or the PC does not recognize your device

So you have a malfunctioning or out of order display, the USB mode is not active or the computer not recognizing the smartphone. These are all the common problems you might encounter when your mobile is broken and you need to get your data back.

For those of you who have a Samsung device in your hands, remember that on the official website of the South Korean brand you can find a section called Find My Mobile Device which is not only useful when you lose your smartphone, but also to unlock the device with the Unlock My Display feature. By accessing this function, the PC will recognize your device and you can then use the well-known Kies program to transfer your data.

If you have a device from another brand or this solution doesn't work, you can enter recovery mode and use Fastboot (which doesn't require USB debugging enabled). You will then need to install and boot the device through a custom recovery with Fastboot and use the adb shell commands to extract the files.

This is not exactly a simple solution and requires some familiarity with Android, but it will allow you to troubleshoot and proceed with recovering your data from the broken smartphone. To familiarize yourself with Fastboot, consult our dedicated guide.

How to recover data if the screen is broken but you can still see the display

If you have broken the touchscreen but the display is still working (you can see it), you can solve the problem by using a USB OTG (On The Go) and a mouse connected to your device. A USB OTG connects mobile devices to other devices. Basically, your Android device has a mini-USB port and you need to connect it to a mouse with a USB port. USB OTG connects these two together.

  • How to know if your phone has USB OTG, all the steps

Once the mouse is connected, you can unlock the device regardless of whether you have a pattern, PIN or password. We still recommend using passwords as they are highly secure.

Now that your phone is unlocked, you can connect it to your computer and transfer the necessary data to the microSD memory or connect it directly to your PC and transfer it.

How to unlock the screen when the display is broken

Fortunately, there are a few options available when you are in this location. That said, it is important to note that these are temporary measures; to make sure you can continue using your device, you will eventually need to repair the screen.

The simplest method is to use the PC. Go to the “Android Device Manager” website and log in with your Google account. If you have GPS enabled on your device, it can be detected by the web tool. In most cases the smartphone is already registered, but you can always associate the phone with your Google account if you have not already done so. Click on "Block" and select "Unblock". Even with a broken display, you will be able to access your device. Once your smartphone is connected to the PC, you will be able to transfer and backup the data on your smartphone.

How to recover data if the screen is off

If you can't see your screen, you may need a VNC program. There are many on the market, but make sure you choose a safe and free one. These programs move the Android interface to the PC so that you can control everything from your PC.

To use these programs, you need to download the program on your PC, but also on your Android device. This is another way to prevent, as you will hardly be able to install it on your Android if the screen is already dead. There are also some paid programs, which usually include more features than pure VNC functionality. So if you are looking for software with more features, you can download one of these.

How to restore files with AirDroid

AirDroid is software that connects your smartphone to your computer. You can use it from a web interface or through an application on your computer. You just need to install it on your PC and Android device.

How to restore files with AirDroid

Through your account, you should be able to connect to both devices. On your smartphone, you will see several icons that give you access to features like file transfer or app uninstall. You can take a look at the different options but the one we are looking for is the Backup.

Make sure you use the same login details and go to your phone and hit the save button. You can also scroll through the application: click on the device name in the left menu and click on the menu Backup within the three tabs at the top. Your data will then be saved on your computer.

Plus: AirDroid also lets you see your notifications on your computer.

Restore files with Vysor

Vysor also allows you to use your Android phone from a desktop computer. It works through a Chrome extension, which has a clear advantage: you can use Vysor on Windows, Mac, and Linux. A simple USB cable connects your phone and desktop.

You can use the basic functions of Vysor with the free version. With it you can, for example, connect devices to take screenshots from Android. With the paid version, the screen quality is better, full screen viewing is available, and data transfer can be done by dragging and dropping everything without a cable connection.

Setting up the application is simple. We have found it occasionally slow, and as mentioned above, image quality isn't optimal in the free version.

AirDroid is probably the best way to use your smartphone from your PC because it offers more than Vysor. Maybe TeamViewer deserves a spot on this list too, but unfortunately it doesn't work with all Android devices.


Have you recovered the data from your broken smartphone? Let us know how in the comments.

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