Access to internal storage with damaged screen (coloured pixels image)

Just wondering if anyone has advice on how to access the data stored on the internal memory of my FP2.

My display is presenting a coloured pixels image BUT is also still responsive if I click on the right parts of the screen (i.e. to snooze my alarm from the lock screen). In addition my phone alarms still go off, and I can hear incoming calls/texts but not answer or see them.

I have been able to get all my app data off the phone, but there are some documents and images stored on the internal storage that I would like to keep before I send to the FP repairers (who will wipe the core module before doing any work).
I can plug the phone into the computer, and it detects there is a connection. But as I cannot SEE the pull-down menu on my dead screen and so am unable to select File Transfers (MTP) option, which means I cannot access the files.

I have been through the FPsupport process and they said to ask here as a last resort. I have seen there were 2 other topics similar to this one, but both were bricked phones (with no functionality) and are now closed topics.

  1. is there a way to cast your screen via the microUSB port, so I can select the MTP option.
  2. is there another way to select the MTP option so I can access my data?
  3. any other thoughts?

You could try #dic:fastboot mode or see if there is a #fairphoneangels near you who can lend you a working screen.


Maybe you are lucky to have some #fairphoneangels close to your location who can help by temporarily providing spare parts for this purpose.


Your typing seems just to be much more quicker :wink:


First the good news: There are ways to navigate your phone with a broken screen, or even without a screen.
The bad news: You will most probably have to setup these ways before your screen breaks.

For reference … I have personally checked out the following:

In case of encryption and if you have to start/ restart the phone, you’ll need a USB keyboard to enter the password. (A wireless USB mouse/keyboard combo will work, too.)

  • DisplayLink
    You’ll need a USB mouse.
    I followed the hint given here and bought this USB adapter thingy.
    It works, but you have to install an App on the phone first and probably give it some permissions (don’t remember).
    However, I found to get it working with the screen taken off (my only idea of simulating a “broken” screen) was hit and miss because of my phone being encrypted. Sometimes I managed to enter the encryption password blindly, and then the phone booted and the DisplayLink App correctly worked via HDMI to do the rest … but sometimes I failed and had to restart the process until I succeeded.

  • MyPhoneExplorer (Windows only)
    (In case of encryption you’ll need a USB OTG adapter to connect the keyboard.)
    With MyPhoneExplorer you can remotely navigate your phone on your PC when it is booted and plugged in via USB.
    But the MyPhoneExplorer Client App has to be installed on the phone.
    And when you start this screen mirroring for the first time, you have to allow this via a requester on the phone, and you would have to disable this requester for future use at this point (there’s a checkbox in the requester).

In both cases I experienced very, very severe lag when moving the mouse pointer with a disassembled screen (when with the screen assembled both solutions worked totally fine).
This means that there could be problems unlocking the lock screen if this behaviour might be the same with a broken screen instead of a disassembled one.
If so, swiping a pattern will probably not work.
And swiping up to enter a PIN will probably not work, but double-clicking on a notification will get you to entering a PIN luckily.
So use a PIN for the lock screen, not a pattern. And see to it that you can generate a notification yourself on the lock screen (new mail or message, missed call etc. …).

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Yes, indeed interesting little “thingy”…:grin:

Now just imagine someones face and mood in urgent need of a broken display solution:


…and reading on…


Nevertheless not your fault - as you are just trying to help.

Two decent solutions btw. for users looking for some kind of remote control and image sharing.

I just did and added a “most probably” to the bad news :wink: .

If I think further about the DisplayLink way … given you have a working adapter in place … App APKs can be installed remotely via ADB … Apps can be given permissions remotely via ADB, question would be which permissions exactly … but at least it doesn’t seem impossible.
ADB needs USB debugging enabled, though, there’s always something :slight_smile: .

True, why take the easy way if there is a harder…:neutral_face:

Would it need to be exact in an emergency case? Wouldn`t 777 just do to get the job done?

Btw. I wonder if there is a way and if not how come to directly read into the internal memory? I´m not thinking of when having fully booted, but in a prestate e.g. fastboot or with a tool? (neglect encryption - maybe the phone isn´t encrypted)
Imagine the manufacturer most sure don´t use any inserted sd card to flash the initial firmware. So there needs to be a routine to provide this option. Commonly a bootloader. And after this there probably still is a way for direct access to the fs and all other files. Of course without the convenience of a GUI but who needs this if having all the power of a bash or whatever command line tool is available :grin:
All these settings such as USB debug mode etc. can be switched manually once having access to the system. But in this case I would prefer to save my data and go on for the repair.

That’s true. If only files are needed from the phone like in this case you could just copy them over with ADB. That’s what I get for almost never using it :slight_smile: .

App permissions don’t work like file permissions.

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Is your phone encrypted?

If not, this is the easiest solution. You can access the entire internal memory and copy it via USB.


Thank you, I will try this and report back.

Ah, I see. Thanks for this interesting link.

As @retsifp has replied, this is about what I was thinking of… :+1:

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